To the winners go the spoils. Except for some reason when it comes to America’s Civil War. The North won The South lost. Yet a portion of this country still mythologizes about ol’ Dixie. The best parts of the South are still in tact. Southern hospitality, southern cooking, southern accents, etc. The worst part of the South’s history, slavery is gone. A war was fought and the Abololitionists won. Still the racism and oppression continues to some degree. For 400 years America has struggled with it’s history of treating black people first as property and then as somehow not as good as white people. The tension of this flares up and it spills onto the streets. People die. Property is destroyed as our country tries to lurch forward and live up to its’ potential. Some changes to mend fences seem easier than others.
Changing the names of military bases named after Confederate generals seems like a no-brainer. Why would you name United States bases after people who betrayed the United States? We don’t have a Benedict Arnold base. Why? Because he was a traitor. The very people who are training or serving on that base to defend this country would be looked at as less than human by the base namesakes. Why would we ask our military personnel to endure such an insult? Remember the people who defended the Confederacy killed people who fought for the United States. Why should we celebrate them?
It would seem Democrats and Republicans agree it is time to rename the bases. The military itself is open to the idea. The one hold out is President Trump. Why? Trump claims he does not want to tamper with our history. Changing a name does nothing to erase history. The battles were still fought with the same participants. You can read all about them in books and learn about them in museums. We are just saying let’s not glorify the enemy. And make no mistake, during the Civil War the Confederacy was the enemy of the United States.
Renaming the bases and assets could accomplish two things. We could honor military personnel that fought to defend and protect America. We have had a lot of wars and we have a lot of men and women who deserve to be honored. People that any person serving or training on the base could take pride in. Why not Fort Colin Powell instead of Ft Hood? Also, at a time when the country seems to be coming apart at the seams and white Americans seem to be realizing that our history is filled with discrimination and brutality towards people of color we could do something to take a bit of the sting away. We say we know our history. We are not erasing our history. We shall no longer glorify people that do not reveal us to be the best we can be.
It seems to be the least America could do and I think it will be done eventually. History can’t be erased. The Civil War can’t be erased. Slavery can’t be erased. The people who today fight to keep traitors on the names of our military bases will also be marked in history as like the Confederacy being on the wrong side of history. That too can’t be erased.