Revisionist History … Then And Now

There are so many critical issues happening in the country, in the world today, that it should be possible to write two posts a day without ever repeating myself.  But there are a few issues that take precedence over all else:  racism, voting rights, climate change, the corruption of certain legislators, and the assault on the very foundation of our country.  So, please forgive me if I seem to repeat these topics, for they simply cannot be allowed to fade into oblivion as some would like to see happen.

The events of January 6th are being lied about, Republicans are doing everything in their power to make the country forget that but for some very dedicated police officers, we might today be living in an autocratic state, the results of our vote last November having been cast to the wind.  Columnist Dana Milbank has written of the attempts to whitewash the event, comparing this to the Civil War which southerners tried to claim was not about slavery, but about states’ rights, and that the Confederates were the true ‘patriots’, in much the same way that some are calling the terrorists who attacked the Capitol ‘patriots’.  We must never forget what happened on that day, who instigated it, and what the goal of the attack was.  Mr. Milbank explains it far better than I can …


We can’t let the terrorists rewrite the history of Jan. 6

Opinion by

Dana Milbank

Columnist

History, the adage goes, is written by the victors.

Would that it were true.

In the Civil War, the U.S. Army, at a staggering human cost, eventually crushed the traitors who took up arms against their own country. But Lost Cause mythology rewrote the rebellion as a conflict over states’ rights, portrayed Confederates as gallant heroes fighting impossible odds, romanticized plantation life and sanitized slavery. The fictions, taught to generations of southerners, fueled Jim Crow and white supremacy.

In the retelling of Jan. 6, we see an echo of Lost Cause mythology. On that terrible day, terrorists took up arms against the United States, sacking the seat of the U.S. government in a deadly rampage. White supremacists marauded through the Capitol. It was a coup attempt, aimed at overturning the will of the people with brute force, encouraged by a defeated president and his allies. The Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police, badly outnumbered, ultimately prevailed in putting down the insurrection.

But now the losers are trying to rewrite the history of that day. The terrorists were “patriots.” Theirs was a “normal tourist visit.” They weren’t armed. They were “hugging and kissing” the police. A woman, shot as she breached the last barrier keeping elected representatives from the mob, was a martyr shot in cold blood. The Capitol Police were ill-trained. It was Nancy Pelosi’s fault.

The losers, again, are trying to write the history. They must not be allowed to succeed — for if they do, they will certainly try again to attack democracy.

President Biden joined the battle against the revisionists on Thursday as he presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the police who saved democracy on Jan. 6. “We cannot allow history to be rewritten,” he said.

In a speech honoring the heroism of the police, Biden, at one point brushing a tear from his eye, called the attackers what they were. “A mob of extremists and terrorists launched a violent and deadly assault on the People’s House and the sacred ritual to certify a free and fair election,” he said. “It was insurrection … It was unconstitutional. And maybe most important, it was fundamentally un-American.”

To that list of labels, Ty Seidule adds one more: “It was a lynch mob.”

Seidule is qualified to say so. A retired U.S. Army general, he taught history for two decades at West Point. Now at Hamilton College, he’s the author of “Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause,” a disembowelment of Lost Cause lies he learned in his own upbringing as a White southerner.

He told me of the disgust he felt when he saw a photo of an insurrectionist in the Capitol on Jan. 6 carrying the Confederate battle flag — “the Flag of Treason,” he calls it — past a portrait of Charles Sumner, the abolitionist senator nearly caned to death by Preston Brooks, a proslavery congressman from South Carolina. Seidule wanted to suit up in his old uniform and fight the Capitol terrorists. “The people who did that need to be in orange jumpsuits and shackles,” he said.

In his book, Seidule writes of the importance of words in defeating the Lost Cause lies. It wasn’t “Union” against “Confederate,” he argues. It was the “U.S. Army fighting … against a rebel force that would not accept the results of a democratic election and chose armed rebellion.” Confederate generals didn’t fight with “honor”; they abrogated “an oath sworn to God to defend the United States” and “killed more U.S. Army soldiers than any other enemy, ever.” It wasn’t “the War Between the States,” as Lost Cause mythology would have it; the Civil War was, properly, “The War of the Rebellion.” They weren’t “plantations” as glorified by Margaret Mitchell, but “enslaved labor farms.” Writes Seidule: “Accurate language can help us destroy the lies of the Lost Cause.”

So, too, can accurate language destroy the lies now being floated to justify Jan. 6.

These were not tourists. These were not patriots. They were terrorists, as D.C. police officer Daniel Hodges, savagely beaten on Jan. 6, labeled them in congressional testimony. They were armed — with rebar, poles, knives, bear spray, tasers and an untold number of firearms — and they were unspeakably violent in their attack on the duly elected government of the United States.

The revisionist history serves a purpose: Sanitizing sedition so the foes of democracy will be able to attack it again, but successfully. This is why those who still revere our democracy must answer the lies with the true stories of Jan. 6 — again and again. “We’re not going to let them win the narrative,” Seidule said. “History is too important.”

13 thoughts on “Revisionist History … Then And Now

  1. Allowing the re-writing of the history of the “unCivil War” to make it into a civil war has opened the door to many unTruths in American history being made to look like truths. Slaves weren’t people until they were legislated to be people. Indigenous people were savages so it was okay to steal land that nobody owned. And Donald Trump won the 2020 election by “minus 7,000,001” votes. Alternate histories are a mainstay of American history. Why should Jan. 6 not be a walk in the park for those peaceful citizens who went to the Capitol Bldg that day? Nobody was murdered there. Those deaths were all accidental!
    (In case you are a Republican, the above is an example of sarcasm. In sarcasm, the writer writes unTruths to make the truth more obvious than it already is. None of what this writer wrote from “Slaves weren’t people…” to “Those deaths were all accidental.” were truths. This explanation is to help you understand that your whole lives are based on lies, though I know you will not believe me.)

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  2. Jill, outside of a small contagion of courageous Republicans, too many have remained complacent while too many have outright lied. Names like Trump, Jordan, Gosar, Gaetz, Brooks, Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham are betraying the United States, some of whom took oaths not to do so. Before the staged and planned election fraud claims, I already considered the now former president as the most corrupt and deceitful president ever. We can now add traitorous to his description. I expected awful behavior from Trump from the outset, but the actions of the enablers are disgusting. This article is dead-on accurate. And, there is no “what about” comparison to temper the disgust this independent voter has for their actions. Keith

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    • Yes, even those who know … they KNOW that this was an attempted coup, an attempted hostile takeover by a mob inspired and encouraged by the madman who was occupying the Oval Office at that time … even though they know the truth, they are supporting a lie and for my money they need to be in prison, not in Congress. I agree with your assessment of the former guy, but I would take it one step further … he is the most detestable person in the western world today, bar none. If he runs again in 2024, and if he is elected, whether honestly or dishonestly, I will wash my hands of this country for once and for all. We are at a crossroads … will we elect people with integrity next year and in 2024, or will we let ignorance, greed, and corruption call the shots?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Didn’t you know, Keith, thosé people who took those oaths all had their fingers crossed behind their backs. Spoken words mean nothing when your fingers are crossed behind your back. Being old, you have probably forgotten what you learned as a child, always cross your fingers when the authorities in your life want you to admit anything. Crossed fingers is your best defence…

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  3. These constant lies must not just be answered with the truth but with proof. Trump exhorting the mob on, and where they say it was a normal tourist visit must be countered with film of the invasion and of the accompanying violence, as well as what they shouted about Nancy Pelosi and their own Vice President for whom a gallows was waiting. Film from their own cameras and remarks they made on places like Facebook can counter all the lies they’re telling. It requires an answer too as to why a senator found it necessary to text information out as to Where Nancy Pelosi was if this was just a tour group.
    Cwtch

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    • I fully agree. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, or in this case in the pictures and videos. There are thousands of hours of footage from hundreds of cameras, so … how the heck anybody can deny that this was an insurrection, and attempt at a hostile takeover, I will never understand. And that highly educated members of Congress are willing to go along with what they know damned well is a lie, is unconscionable and they must be voted out … OUT!!! Sigh.
      Cwtch

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    • Prove it all you want, David, but almost 50% of Americans don’t care about Democrat truths, they prefer to listen to Republican lies. That is the unpoliticized truth about America today, facts are meaningless!

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