New Orleans Mayor Lays Bare White Supremacist Meaning of Confederate Symbols

White-supremacist uniform patch, Gettysburg SD Police Department profile image, Facebook, 2017.05.23.
White-supremacist uniform patch, Gettysburg SD Police Department profile image, Facebook, 2017.05.23.

The Gettysburg Police Department continues to display the white-supremacist Confederate flag on their uniform patch and Facebook page. We’ve hashed out the racist intent disguised as respect for “history” in the Gettysburg PD’s adoption of a traitor symbol.

New Orleans removed the last of four traitor-Confederate monuments from its streets last Friday. Before the removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee from Lee Circle, Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke at the city’s Gallier Hall and explained why the display of Confederate symbols is an attempt to whitewash history, not celebrate it:

The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity [Mayor Mitch Landrieu, speech, as transcribed by Derek Cosson, Pulse Gulf Coast, 2017.05.19].

Displaying Confederate symbols, whether statues on the street or Confederate flags on uniforms, sends a message of white supremacy:

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city [Landrieu, 2017.05.19].

Mayor Landrieu says we should remember the Confederacy but not revere it:

The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered [Landrieu, 2017.05.19].

Gettysburg PD, listen to Mayor Landrieu. Be honest about history, respect all the Americans you serve, and remove the white-supremacist traitor flag from your uniforms.


27 Responses to New Orleans Mayor Lays Bare White Supremacist Meaning of Confederate Symbols

  1. Roger Elgersma

    The main Biblical reason the south had for slavery is that the Bible says to respect authority. They wanted the black to respect them. But they immediately did not respect authority themselves when the government told them not to have slaves. So the confederate flag is for people who want others to respect their wrongs but not to respect authority themselves. Do those cops in Gettysburg really want to promote no respect for authority.

  2. Don Coyote

    @RE: “But they immediately did not respect authority themselves when the government told them not to have slaves.”

    The Federal government never told the States that eventually seceded that they couldn’t have slaves. In fact the Constitution neither authorized nor prohibited slavery. The argument was over the expansion of slavery into the new Western Territories above the 36˚30′ latitude.

  3. Gettysburg, SD is named after Gettysburg, PA – where the union wiped out 1/3 of Robert E. Lee’s army and dealt a mortal blow to the ability of the traitors to win the war they started to preserve slavery. The war would go on, but the result was a foregone conclusion.

    So why glorify the traitors by displaying the emblem they designed to symbolize their willingness to abandon the nation and fight to preserve the intsitution of slavery? They lost, and their traitor flag should be relegated to history. I say that as someone whose great, great grandfather was a Colonel in the Arkansas Militia fighting for the south. Several branches of my family owned plantations and slaves. In this day and age we should all know better than to glorify that inglorious past.

  4. Don Coyote

    @Rorschah: “where the union wiped out 1/3 of Robert E. Lee’s army”

    And where Lee wiped out over 1/4 of the Union Army. The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War where almost 1 out of 3 men from the combined sides was a casualty. If not for General Longstreet’s delay in executing a flanking attack on Meade’s left flank, Lee would have routed The Army of the Potomac on the second day. But that is relegated to the pages of “What Might’ve Been”.

    The Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac are inexorably linked by the events at Gettysburg. The Gettysburg police department commemorates that battle by displaying the crossed flags of the participants. The removal of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia would not only disrespect history but dishonor and minimize the magnitude of what transpired those three days.

  5. mike from iowa

    I seriously doubt 99% of the morons holding rebel flags could name which country fought the American Civil War.

  6. It’s a good thing Lee lost that battle, huh Coyote?

  7. Darin Larson

    Coyote says “The removal of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia would not only disrespect history but dishonor and minimize the magnitude of what transpired those three days.”

    Funny, Germany doesn’t consider the display of Nazi flags to be necessary to honor history. It is a part of their history that they would like to put behind them.

    In similar fashion, the display of the Confederate flag by an arm of government anywhere in the US is an affront to the dignity of those who gave their lives to preserve the Union and salt in the wounds that remain from slavery’s horrible existence in this country. The Confederate flag represents a dark chapter in American history that we should seek to move beyond. A Confederate flag belongs in a museum of history, not on the uniform of a police officer in South Dakota in 2017.

  8. Darin Larson

    It also amazes me that right-wing types who fancy themselves to be patriots in the truest sense of the word approve of the display of a flag that represents an attempt to tear this country apart through a traitorous war. Likewise, my amazement continues with the Trump apologists who have gone from opposing Russian aggression at every turn under Reagan to favoring Putin over their fellow Americans and giving tacit approval to Russian aggression. They have gone from the party of Joseph McCarthy to the party of Putin lovers. When Vlad calls and asks for a meeting for his chief spy in the US, Trump snaps to attention and clears his schedule.

    These are interesting times in which we live, indeed.

  9. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    It is my understanding that Gettysburg, South Dakota was founded by some veterans from the Civil War, who fought on the Union side. Isn’t that true?

    If that is true, then why does modern day Gettysburg, South Dakota wish to promote any symbol of the treasonous Confederacy? It shows a disrespect to their City’s Union forefathers, who knew both Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Gettysburg, South Dakota in their day and what they had fought for on that battlefield……

  10. They don’t want to admit it, but the GOP has the racism problem today.

  11. Today’s historians don’t paint Abe Lincoln in the most favorable light either. Lincoln was known to make racist comments, ordered the slaughtering of Dakota Indians in MN, and started one of the world’s bloodiest Civil Wars not over slavery but to preserve the Union. The US was one of the last industrialized nations in the world to ban slavery.

  12. JKC,

    Good question to ask the people of Gettysburg. While you are at it, you might ask them why their founders chose both flags as the city symbol.

  13. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Troy,

    The patch was designed in 2009. I believe the last documented veteran of the Civil War died in 1956.

    I posed my comment as a question, but after further investigation, I have discovered that the City was founded by veterans of the Civil War from both sides.

    However, why would any community, especially of the North, want to commemorate a treasonous act?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/16/confederate-flag-police-patch_n_7809176.html

  14. True that Mr. Claussen, kind of takes the wind out of the sail when the date of the patch design was during President Obama’s term in the White House. The greatest disgrace of the Slaughter of Gettysburg was when Lee ordered Picket to make a suicide charge, Picket’s men fell like wheat under a scythe. BTW Coyote, your blame game of General Longstreet is unwarranted. http://www.historynet.com/longstreet-scapegoat-or-culprit.htm

  15. JKC,

    Upon founding, the town’s marketing strategy was a town for both sides to come together as you discovered in your research. I grew up in Gettysburg and still have family there. While the patch itself was put on the police uniform recently, the duel flag theme (or blue and gray hats*) have been used during the various community celebrations.

    * I remember the blue and gray hats coming out during celebrations of my youth.

  16. Blue and gray hats are much different than a traitor battle flag Troy. Your youth should have been such that you would have at least read some history as to why there were blue and gray hats in the first place. Even a low grade feller like myself could read and comprehend the reason was slavery. Fast forward to 2009, we have a black president. Black mind you, coming from the great tragedy of our history of slavery to lead the country. It was too much for the white boys in Gettysburg to take, so they decided to put their racial hatred for everyone to see. After all those years, to make an American flag equal with a traitor flag that signifies racial hatred as part of law enforcement, speaks volumes about the city. The city should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to continue.

  17. I remember a lot of racism in my youth. People used the N word a lot. Called Mexicans and Asians nasty names. The idea that we should relegate racism and its symbols to memory is a good one.

  18. Troy, Was there a Sambos restaurant in Gettysburg when you were growing up?

  19. I recall a Sambos out there on East North street a number of years back. Good breakfasts.

  20. Ror,

    I never once sensed any racism in Gettysburg (I am sure it existed someplaces but I didnt’ see it) and I know it was unacceptable to my parents. We had several kids from the reservation (boarded during the week) who were in my class. When the air base was open, there were a number of young men there (my mother taught math part-time at the base and sometimes I got to go to school with her) who I remember as much for their Southern accent as color, having multi-colored pens, and talking about horses. As I sit here, I don’t remember being in class with her but mostly sitting outside her room. Probably office hours because guys (don’t remember any gals) sat next to me in a chair or on a bench. All were nice to me but as I reflect they were probably just buttering up to their teacher.

  21. P.S. The diners were I think Gettysburg Cafe, Sunset Diner, Medicine Rock and two drive-ins in the summer. The better places were Bob’s on the Missouri, Bunkhouse in Agar, and a place I forget east of town toward Seneca.

  22. Ror gets me thinking about the N word. I have taught that word and will teach it again in my classroom in To Kill a Mockingbird, a profoundly good book. I will incorporate it in a discussion of language and history so students may understand the time Harper Lee wrote about. But I will not put the word on a poster in my classroom or engrave the word in bronze on a public statue.

  23. I didn’t sense any racism in Madison, SD, when I was growing up, either. But we white folks don’t have the most reliable racism detectors.

  24. Don Coyote

    @Jerry:”BTW Coyote, your blame game of General Longstreet is unwarranted.”

    I disagree as does General Edward Porter Alexander, Longstreet’s artillery commander at Gettysburg as well as a field commander of the artillery during Pickett’s Charge. In General Alexander’s memoir, he lists Longstreet’s tardiness in launching the attack on Meade’s left flank as one of nine reasons that the Confederacy lost at Gettysburg.

    “There seems no doubt that had Longstreet’s attack on the second been made materially sooner, we would have gained a decided victory.

    It has since appeared that if our corps had made its attack even 3 hours sooner than it did, our chances of success would have been immensely increased.”

    http://historicalspotlight.com/gettysburg/

    No doubt there was plenty of blame to go around for the Confederate loss at Gettysburg including the absence of J E B Stuart’s cavalry in the first two days of battle, uncharacteristic poor decision making by Lee, poor choices of points of attack, the decision not to fight a defensive battle, et al. But once the decision was made to go on the offensive, Longstreet’s abysmal execution doomed what should have been a rout of the Union left flank.

  25. Alexander’s lack of ammo and fire power put Picket’s charge into the meat grinder it became. Alexander tried like a cat that drank castor oil to cover up the massacre of Picket’s infantry, but there are too many historical facts that show Longstreet was not the fault. The ultimate blame goes where he claimed it should go, right on the commanding general’s shoulders, General Robert E. Lee. Lee himself took the blame for it by saying that it was his fault for going on the offensive instead of the defensive. The South and you may hate it that Gettysburg was lost, but for true patriots to the Union of the States, fellers like myself think that battle was worth the huge loss of life. For the record, General Longstreet gave it all to his cause and it cost him an arm in the process. History regards this general as one of the best and I myself, feel the same way. At the surrender “As Lee considered surrender, Longstreet advised him of his belief that Grant would treat them fairly, but as Lee rode toward Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Longstreet said, “General, if he does not give us good terms, come back and let us fight it out.””

    The terms were accepted and here we are, in May of 2017. Longstreet and the rest of them are dead and gone. Slavery may be gone (debatable), but the mistreatment of people of color continues as if the general were still with us.

  26. Loser flags. Loser monuments. Adult losers deserve participation awards, eh?

    What’s next – monuments to Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, Osama Bin Ladin, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the 9/11 hijackers, the Boston Marathon bombers?

  27. Per John’s comment and the battle debate: we can discuss Rommel’s battlefield prowess all day and still not come up with a moral justification for honoring him with a statue, complete with Iron Cross and swastikas.