Friends Don’t Let Friends be Stupid about the Civil War

I’m assuming that White House Chief of Staff John Francis Kelly is not a fan of Ta-Nahesi Coates.

I base this assumption not on the stereotype of a Boston Irish man who was finishing up college at UMass Bahstun when his fellow white Irish Bostonians were rioting over wanting to keep their northern liberal schools segregated as sin. I mean Louise Day Hicks was Southie Irish, and John Francis Kelly was from a slightly classier Brighton Irish line, and class matters more than race, right?

The real reason I know John Francis is not a Coates fan the way so many other White northerners are, is that he has definitely not read the groundbreaking 2012 article “Why do so Few Blacks Study the Civil War?”

This is proven by John Francis’s comments Monday night, when he said that the Civil War was the result of “the lack of an ability to compromise” and where he called the deadliest White supremacist insurgency leader in American history (directly responsible for the brutal deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans), Robert E. Lee, an “honorable man.”

When Ta-Nahesi Coates responds, you should bear in mind the incredible lengths he went to touring the country and researching the Civil war for that 2012 article. He talks about this in his latest book, “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy,” which you should buy if you haven’t already.

The tread is filled with so many choice moments of 100-emoji. Here are some of my favorites:

But perhaps more important than this biting commentary, Coates does what any rigorous thinker has to remember to do: he cites the original sources, this is the key difference between alternative facts and actual facts–actual facts are backed by the historical record, not by faith in an ideology.

John Francis Kelly was the commander of the “Southern Command,” which is responsible for joint armed services operations and “readiness” (because you know the US likes to stay ready to get involved militarily) throughout Latin America and the Caribbean before retiring to civilian service. It is magical thinking to imagine that this guy does not know the long and dirty history of US involvement in the Western Hemisphere, the dictatorships we have installed to destabilize anything that threatens our capitalism, militarism, and racism.

Just like always, we have to work more than twice as hard in order to get less than half as much respect and authority, so we need to study, learn, and educate each other. We have to get this good at citing them receipts and rejecting that sneaky White supremacy ideology wherever we find it.

At least we have some brilliance in our corner to help light the way. Thanks Ta-Nahesi, I for one will get to work ASAP on that reading list

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