When the Civil War was over, the United States was faced with a tough choice: We could either reintegrate the Confederacy into the the United States, or punish and subjugate the people who dragged the country through its bloodiest war. There were plenty of people who wanted to make the South 'pay' for what they did. They wanted to treat post-bellum south the way that Germany would ultimately be treated after World War I and force them to pay for the damage done to the country.
Luckily, cooler heads prevailed. Instead of subjugating the South, the United States engaged in a decade-long reconstruction effort to rebuild the former-Confederacy and welcome southerners back into the American family. It was Abraham Lincoln's wish to see former Confederates pardoned and welcomed back as Americans. When Lincoln was killed, Andrew Johnson made sure that a pardon was extended to confederate soldiers.
Johnson explained that he did this to "renew and fully restore confidence and fraternal feeling among the whole, and their respect for and attachment to the national government, designed by its patriotic founders for the general good." If the United States had any hope of rebuilding after the Civil War, it had to become one country again. Leaders in the Confederacy were required to petition directly for amnesty, but with the exception of the war criminals who ended up being prosecuted, almost all Confederate officials were welcomed back into the country after swearing new oaths to the Constitution.
These men, though flawed, were still Americans. Captain Braxton Bragg was a hero of the Mexican-American War and resigned his commission with full honors. John Bell Hood was a lieutenant in the US Military who was wounded in combat in the western territories multiple times. He lost an arm and a leg during the Civil War, but refused to abandon his men. He had himself to be strapped to his horse during the final days of the Civil War - again, missing one arm and one leg -- so he wouldn't fall off during the retreat.
Today, Fort Bragg and Fort Hood are just two of the American military bases named for these men. Not to celebrate their role in the Confederacy, but to honor their service to the United States, both before and after the Civil War. All across this country, military bases, government buildings, towns, and cities are named after Confederate leaders, not to honor their treason, but rather in the spirit of reconciliation. In the halls of Congress, there are paintings and statues of great Americans who, yes, served in the Confederacy. They are honored not for their treason, but for their contributions to America.
But now, Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to tear them all down!
This week, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill to forcibly rename all military bases bearing the names of Confederate soldiers. It doesn't matter what their namesakes did before or after the war. It doesn't matter that they were pardoned, swore an oath to the constitution, and helped rebuild the country. She wants them to be punished posthumously...
President Trump blasted the amendment, announcing that he would refuse to even consider tearing down monuments or renaming historic military bases. But amazingly, Senate Republicans defied the President. Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) (shown above) held a voice vote on Warren's amendment and it passed. A "voice vote" is a way for Republicans to pass a bill or amendment without actually having to put their vote on the record.
Only ONE Republican voted against the measure: Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Everyone else voted to rename historic bases like Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, and Fort Benning. Only one GOPer stood up against the angry mob trying to rewrite history...
Pelosi is now doubling down, introducing a measure to remove any statue or painting on Capitol Hill of anyone who served in the Confederacy. It doesn't matter what they accomplished before or after the Civil War. She wants them stricken from the history books.
It just isn't right. I have yet to meet anyone who was oppressed by an inanimate object. I have yet to see someone held back by the fact that military bases are named after imperfect men. If we give into these Leftist demands, we stand to lose far more than we could possibly gain. And they will not stop here. Next they will turn their sights on American icons like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison...
We are who we are as a country because of our past, not in spite of it. Each and every scar in our collective experience tells the story of how we got here and where we are heading.
You don't defeat racism by renaming military bases or tearing down statues. You do not defeat racism by stripping the landscape of evidence the Civil War ever even happened. No, the answer is to leave them exactly where they are. Let these monuments and bases serve as a testament to the darkest hour in American history and a reminder of our shared commitment never to return to it.
But the GOP has already surrendered. As I said, the amendment to rename our historic military bases was passed through a Republican committee and the GOPer in charge didn't even have the courage to hold a recorded vote. Nancy Pelosi's plan to strip the Capitol building of any mention of the Confederacy also already has Republican co-sponsors.
This is getting rushed through right now!
Again, I am not defending the Confederacy. I have yet to meet anyone who actually does.
But I will stand and defend our history. I will stand and defend the spirit of reconciliation that allowed the United States to emerge from the Civil War stronger than before. And I will stand up and fight against radical Democrats trying to use these protests as an excuse to gain ground in their never-ending culture war.
I am asking for you to stand up and do the same!