The great thing about the Biden regime and its attendant wonks is how laser-focused they are on the problems that Americans are really facing. The economy is in free fall, inflation is skyrocketing, gas prices are going to start rising again as soon as the midterms are over, China, North Korea, and Iran are emboldened, crime in the nation’s major cities is out of control and often not even being fought, and an “independent commission” is set to recommend to Congress that $62 million of your money and mine be spent on erasing the names of Confederates from military bases and Arlington National Cemetery.
Why not? One lesson of this record-breaking administration is that the money never runs out, especially when it comes to aiding causes that are dear to the Left’s heart. And since no one is going to be put in the position of appearing to defend the Confederacy, the money will almost certainly be spent.
The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday that the Naming Commission’s final report to Congress recommends that “the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery should be dismantled and removed from the cemetery” and that military bases named for Confederate generals should be renamed. The Confederate Memorial, says the Examiner, “was unveiled in 1914 and features a bronze woman representing the South.” This “base also features shields with the coats of arms of the 13 Confederate states, as well as depictions of enslaved men and women.” According to the Naming Commission, this memorial is “problematic from top to bottom,” and thus it has to go.
This recommendation is a follow-up to the Naming Commission’s May report, which called for “new names for nine Army bases that commemorate Confederate officers, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee, and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Polk in Louisiana, and Fort Rucker in Alabama.”
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, the vice chairman of the Naming Commission, says that he can take care of this little problem for us for the bargain-basement price of $62.4 million, which he says will “changes to the Arlington Confederate Memorial, two Navy ships, nine Army bases, and more.” Such a deal! But as always, there are a few hidebound, backward-looking racist white supremacists around to throw a spanner in the works: “Military officials have long defended the names of assets that commemorate the Confederate South, arguing they do not signal support but rather preserve history. However, U.S. officials faced a renewed call to remove references to the Confederacy in the summer of 2020 as racial justice protests erupted nationwide.”
The summer of 2020 was indeed the time when it suddenly became of the utmost importance to remove Confederate memorials everywhere. The Confederate Memorial has been in Arlington Cemetery since 1914, yet only 106 years later was it discovered, along with the names of Confederate generals on military bases, to be an immediate cause of the white supremacism that we’re constantly told is a major terror threat. And that points to the real agenda of what is going on here.
The “military officials” who argued that the Confederate names “do not signal support but rather preserve history” actually missed the central point. In all the excitement over the Confederate Memorial at Arlington Cemetery today, no one is asking why it was constructed in the first place. No one is asking why Fort Bragg, which opened in 1918, was named for a Confederate general, or why the other forts were named after Confederates as well. Critical Race Theory advocates would claim that it was because of America’s systemic racism and admiration for these slave owners and proponents of the Peculiar Institution.
That is, however, arrant nonsense. There are monuments to Confederates in the United States today, almost all constructed in the twentieth century, because of a will to national unity, the same national unity Abraham Lincoln appealed for in his Second Inaugural Address, when he said: “With malice toward none with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.” Those who built and approved of those memorials were not interested in restoring or approving of slavery. They were trying to bind up the nation’s wounds, by generously acknowledging that even among the losing side, without denying the abhorrent aspects of its agenda, there were people who were courageous and even noble.
Nowadays we know better: we know that if someone approved of something we know to be evil, he must have been evil through and through. No distinctions can be made, no gradations, no nuance. People are either wholly good (the woke) or wholly evil (the “MAGA Republicans”). And so in the ongoing efforts to make Americans ashamed of our own history and heritage, we must be made to feel ashamed also for efforts to bind up the nation’s wounds and achieve a national unity with those who are now deemed to have been wholly evil.
The agenda here is just the opposite of national unity. It is designed to make Americans implacable and unrelenting in pursuit of the far-Left’s idea of ideological purity. That will mean the destruction of “MAGA Republicans” as surely as it means the destruction of Confederate statues and on the basis of the same Manichaean assumptions. The Naming Commission is aiming at doing far more than just tearing down a few statues and renaming a few bases. It is endeavoring to destroy the very possibility of national unity for Americans today.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 25 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.