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Another Stupid Letter to the Editor

Lee was famous because he didn't lose quickly and prolonged the war many years. He gave the confederate cause hope.
 
I think the analogy with Rommel is apt. If Baden-Wurttemburg had Rommel's Birthday as a state holiday, it would be a similar case, with the subject being a figure nearly universally regarded as a brilliant general, but who supported an ethically unconscionable cause, while not being an ideologue of that cause.

150 years later, the point of celebrating Lee's birthday as a holiday can only be taken as being concurrent with support for the Lost Cause, and with it, slavery. Ironically, Lee himself would likely oppose his birthday being celebrated as a holiday; he was notably opposed to monuments to Confederate leaders after the war, arguing that they would prevent healing the wounds caused by the war. He would seem to have been correct about that.

From a military legacy standpoint, arguing that he was defeated every time he faced a "competent" opponent is arguing the True Scotsman fallacy - any true Union general would have defeated him. Were Burnside, Hooker, and Grant all incompetent? They all lost to Lee, and almost no one today would argue that Grant was incompetent; voters in the 1870s didn't think he was, either. It's also not really fair to retrospectively call a general incompetent if they were considered competent before facing Lee, particularly if that is then used to discredit Lee. Hooker may fall into that category, but if he was considered competent for his whole career until facing Lee, and incompetent thereafter, that says more about their relative ability than anything else, and speakers more positively about Lee than Hooker (from a military standpoint).

In the end, if you wanted to argue that Lee was one of the top 10 generals in American history, I'd have no objection, and might agree. But it's time to move on past making his birthday a state holiday, and he likely would have told you the same thing in 1867.
 
Fun fact, Robert E. Lee Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January, the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I'm willing to bet that it isn't a coincidence.

A few years ago there were some news outlets (link link) that reported on when and why confederate monuments were erected in the US. Most were put up decades after the civil war and were done so by groups attempting to rewrite history. These groups claimed that slavery wasn't that bad and it wasn't the root cause of the civil war. So these memorials were put up to remember the Confederates who fought and died in the war and also to push this distorted version of history. The thing is that to African-Americans these monuments represent a much more accurate version of history, namely that these men fought for slavery which was deeply rooted in racism. A racism that continues on in some form to this very day.

The monuments are essentially Confederate sympathizers telling black people to "know your place". Martin Luther King Jr. being the symbol for racial equality and Robert E. Lee being a symbol for the opposite of that seems to fall into this same pattern.
 
I do think Lee is genuinely overrated, as is Rommel for that matter - they were both very good at certain things, not so much at others (Rommel was very bad at not overextending himself, as I recall).

Not to say they weren't good, they were, but their reputation tend to overplay their strengths and downplay their weaknesses, IMO.
 
Maybe the Nazi topic isn't fully understood in America etc. by some peoples. Nazi symbols are forbidden in Germany, if they are "celebrated" it's chargeable.
Please don't confuse me with Americans. Holocaust denial is illegal in Canada, and any sort of celebration or positive statements about the Nazis is considered a hate crime.

I wonder if Canadians would be okay with losing French generals/leaders having their own statues & holidays if (and this is highly hypothetical) the French colonists practiced slavery, the rest of Canada didn't, and we fought a war over it.
From what I read, there are statues of Montcalm, and it honestly doesn't bother me. From my perspective, it happened over 250 years ago, on the other side of the country. And while we know how the country developed because the British won that battle, it would take a time trip into an alternate dimension to know how everything would have turned out if things had gone the other way.

Other statues... Lots of statue vandalism went on last year, from Sir John A. Macdonald (our first Prime Minister, who on the one hand had a dream of creating a continent-spanning country, but on the other hand saw no problem with using cheap Chinese labor to build the railway and was one of the creators of the native residential school system) to Queen Victoria (the Queen when Canada became a country) to Queen Elizabeth II (apparently she was supposed to single-handedly shut down the residential schools?).
 
it would take a time trip into an alternate dimension to know how everything would have turned out if things had gone the other way.
My grandfather's family would have remained in Acadia (Nova Scotia) and never moved to Louisiana; He would not have learned to grow sugar cane and then move to Hawaii in 1910. He would not have planted the first commercial macadamia nut plantation and my grandmother would not have been the first to develop the first chocolate covered macadamia nuts and sell them in stores. :D
 
My grandfather's family would have remained in Acadia (Nova Scotia) and never moved to Louisiana; He would not have learned to grow sugar cane and then move to Hawaii in 1910. He would not have planted the first commercial macadamia nut plantation and my grandmother would not have been the first to develop the first chocolate covered macadamia nuts and sell them in stores. :D
And nobody would have included macadamia nuts in the baked stuff I got for Christmas (that I can't eat).

So this is ultimately your grandmother's fault. :trouble:

:p

Actually, I wonder how the religion/language issues would have shaken out if the French had won.
 
We can blame all our nut allergies on Bird's ancestors. Thanks, BJ! :D Nice story though :)
 
We can blame all our nut allergies on Bird's ancestors. Thanks, BJ! :D Nice story though :)
The long version is even better.
 
Are Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis the only ones who have statues?
Not even slightly, there are loads. The wiki page is long enough, and I bet it is incomplete. I am surprised there some in California.
 
I think the South had two reasonable strategies to victory:

1) invade the north and sue for peace. McClellan basically made this impossible, but as the North was the “house” in this casino, a bold strike would have been an intelligent risk.

2) win battles at home and similar to how America beat England, aka trying to stymie the North until the North called it quits.

in the end, to varying degrees both were tried and it didn’t work. McClellan received a lot of criticism for his work as a general, let alone southern sympathizing politician, but he made it basically impossible for the South to have a fighting chance at a decisive victory when they were at their strongest (the beginning of the war).
 
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