Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The "debasing doctrine of equality"

Last April, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia declared April to be "Confederate History Month" in Virginia, neglecting in his proclamation the small detail of slavery . Last December, South Carolina went Virginia one step more blatantly racist. The Sons of Confederate Veterans celebrated the declaration of secession with a ball held in Charleston. I blogged about the shameful sesquicentennial here, and openly wondered whether Texans would have better sense than to celebrate their state's own blatant declaration of racism, which happened exactly 150 years ago today, on February 1, 1861. A day later, Texas published a "declaration of causes". Here's a typical paragraph:

"In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color - a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States."

To their credit, today's Texans judiciously chose to ignore this shameful sesquicentennial, at least officially, at least according to this story in Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Still, Texans could have done even better by commemorating this despicable stain on American history with a day of atonement or at least by a vigil remembering the lives and deaths of those who suffered in slavery or died to end it. We should not celebrate infamous history, but neither should we suppress and forget it.

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