December 22, 2002
Parks Get Redesigned

According to this Reuters article, lots of Civil War parks are in for a redesign due to "pervasive Southern bias". I say good for them.

One of the things you get in the south, a lot, is how the Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about "states rights". Now, I'm no Shelby Foote, but from my own studies of the war (consisting of watching hours of documentary and reading probably a half dozen or more books), this is right in word but wrong in spirit. From my studies, the south seceded because of states rights, yes, but the particular right they were seceding over was in fact the right to own slaves.

However, I will say that there exists a nearly equal bias in many places in the opposite direction. In Fayetteville AR, where I went to college, there was a large, well-maintained federal civil war monument and cemetery. In contrast, the confederate cemetery was at the end of a gravel road, privately maintained, consisting mostly of identical 6"x6" plain markers. Just marble bricks really.

There are no winners in a civil war. Gods and giants fight to their utter annihilation, leaving only the poor and meek behind to inherit the world. But it was something that had to be done. It was in essence the detonation of a time bomb left inside the constitution by the founding fathers, who, for all their effort and brilliance otherwise, simply could not find a way out of this problem.

Because it wasn't our glorious constitution that saved America in the years between 1860 and 1865. That was what got us into the mess. It was the shambling, faltering, amazing, brilliant leadership of one man, leading a small cadre who at their core never really agreed with him about anything.

America survives not because of the brilliance of its leadership, nor the rock-solid prescient power of its constitution. America survives, and thrives, because the system that governs it allows the right person to be in the right place at the right time, and then allows for that person (or persons) to be shuffled off safely when inevitably they become irrelevant, even dangerous.

And that's what I love about America. Funky, biased monuments and all.

Posted by scott at December 22, 2002 12:42 PM

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The joys of being politically correct.

Posted by: Pat on December 22, 2002 05:20 PM

When was the last time you were at Gettysburg?
Those monuments are for both sides and the size has to do with the numbers fighting and lost.
Don't do the driving tour, get out and read those monuments. Facts, they are just the facts, markers and names mostly.
May be Gettysburg is leading again.

I love this country too, I'd fight for it (actually am in my own way).

Posted by: Cindy on December 22, 2002 11:47 PM
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