Obama Honors Racists: It Doesn’t End Well

Turning The Page, Civil War Edition

                   “The day after, the President’s wreath lies in a heap to the side of the Confederate monument.”      

The organizer of an historians’ petition asking President Obama to stop coddling racist traitors and their defenders offers an after-action report: it’s sort of a step forward, two steps back.

James W. Loewen’s petition challenged Obama to kill off a beloved tradition dating back to Woodrow Wilson’s crypto-confederate administration: the annual dispatch of a wreath to Arlington Cemetery’s Confederate War Memorial.




Obama fudged, continuing to honor a straightforward defense of the Southern Cause which denies it had anything to do with slavery, but now yoking it with Washington’s African American Civil War Memorial. The President seems to have lifted the idea from a Washington Post op/ed by University of Pittsburgh art historian Kirk Savage.

The classic role of the Washington Post op/ed pages is identified by Loewen: thoughtfully dismissing and refuting arguments that have never appeared in the paper.

The Post never did a story about our petition but did print Savage’s op-ed opposing it.

Loewen explains why two wreathes are not better than none:

Why.. should the President privilege this monument over every single monument to United States troops in the Civil War?…Unlike his predecessors from Wilson to W, Obama eventually followed Savage’s idea and sent two wreaths, one to the Confederate monument, one to the African American monument.  Doing so was certainly a significant advance over former practice.  However, dual wreaths implicitly equate service for the Union and service against it.  They also implicitly equate war fought to maintain and extend slavery with war eventually fought (admittedly, not at first) to end slavery.  Surely both sides are not of equal moral value.


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