TIME Magazine’s "Letters" Section — Mining A Rich Vein

The editor’s desk was peppered with reaction to TIME’s story on the lamentably selective memory of those who blithely proclaim that “Northern aggression,” not slavery, was the significant factor leading to the Civil War. It seems that others appreciated David Von Drehle’s article as much as I did, and from their letters, I’d like to offer the following comments — with a hearty “Amen!” after each one:

“. . . The historic flaw of slavery does not diminish but accentuates the greatness of our relatively young country. In 235 years, we have gone from slaveholding President George Washington to African-American President Barack Obama, who incidentally carried the former Confederate states of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.”

“. . . I was disappointed . . . by (Von Drehle’s) failure to draw a more explicit connection to the contemporary Tea party, birther and antigovernment movements. The dotted line from the Lost Cause apologists for the Confederacy to the “take my country back” fanatics of today is direct and insidious.”

And, finally,

“One omission: W.E.B. DuBois wrote an important corrective to the Lost Cause view, titled Black Reconstruction in America, in 1935 . . . but as a black scholar, he was ignored.”

DuBois’ book would be a valuable source in addressing the arguments of today’s neo- and paleo-Confederates. But most of us don’t have a copy, whereas as the very best and most complete book arguing against the Confederate, “Anglo-Celt” homeland delusion is widely available; I’m sure every person reading this has a copy.

That would be the Bible, whose Gospel message of truth, reconciliation, mutual submission, and equality stanches the flow of racist, neo-Confederate bile better than anything I could ever recommend. Oddly enough, though, the South has more Bibles per home than any region in the nation, with what appears to be correspondingly less interest in actually taking its message to heart.

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