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    black lives matter

    Getting The Best Exchange Rate For Confederate Money

    by | 7 | Jul 23, 2015

    "StoneMountain" by KyleAndMelissa22 - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StoneMountain.jpg#/media/File:StoneMountain.jpg

    Richard Rose, President of Atlanta’s NAACP, advocates that we sandblast the bas-relief of Confederates Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee from the face of Stone Mountain.

    Months before the havoc wreaked on September 11, 2001, many of us cringed as the Taliban government of Afghanistan destroyed multiple Buddhas. How can destroying icons of another group increase respect and appreciation for your own icons?

    In March 2001, the government sent envoy Rahmatullah Hashimi to Washington to contextualize the destruction: “The Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works while a million Afghans faced starvation.”

    Richard Rose contextualizes his initiative: “That carving is a great piece of art, but it was commissioned out of hate and white supremacy… The state should not be supporting or condoning white supremacy with my tax dollars.”

    Otto Adolf Eichmann was one of the major organizers of the holocaust. Israel convicted him, and, on June 1, 1962, hanged him. Israel’s government would have been more civilized if instead of killing him, they had let him live in prison for life.

    The question is not whether evil occurred. Slavery was horrendously wrong, and we as a nation still have not halted its continuing legacy. Sandblasting Stone Mountain will not right the wrongs symbolized by the Confederates carved there.

    Should we sandblast the U.S. Capitol? It was built by slaves and paid for in large measure by wealthy slave-owners through their taxes.

    Should we sandblast all the churches in the North and South which profited from slavery? Should we deface seminaries, banks, universities, and other institutions still endowed by profits from slavery?

    There are ways to do justice that are more civil than destroying art and property. Tactics used by vandals and vigilantes demean us.

    On January 16, 1865, after his march to the sea, U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 15 to give to each freed slave 40 acres. Many slaves joined the Union army expecting the 40 acres, but President Andrew Johnson, the Southerner who succeeded after Lincoln’s assassination, revoked No. 15 in the fall of the same year.

    In January 1989 U.S. Congressman John Conyers (Michigan) proposed a reparations bill, H.R. 40, numbered to keep before us the broken promise of 40 acres. H.R. 40 has failed repeatedly, but support continues to grow for it.

    Reparations are not a gift, but a debt — a debt long overdue.

    Confederate-100-dollar-billMy great-grandfather was a private in the Coosa County (Alabama) regiment of the Confederacy. He spent most of the war in a Northern prison. When he returned to Alabama, he became known for two things, his alcoholism and his mantra, “So long as there is a N- left in the world, I will never put on my own coat again.”

    We do not choose our family; but we can choose how to respond to their mistakes and how to use any spoils they bequeathed to us.

    I have only $100 of Confederate Money, and I have no interest in the Old South rising again. Instead, I share Dr. King’s dream, “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

    Will sandblasting Stone Mountain let freedom ring?

    ###
    • Image: "Stone Mountain" by KyleAndMelissa22 - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Louie Crew Clay

    Louie Crew Clay,  80, is an Anniston, Alabama native and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband for 43 years. He holds an M.A. from Auburn University, a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and honorary doctorates from three seminaries of the Episcopal Church. He is the founder of Integrity, an international organization of lgbt Episcopalians/Anglicans. Editors have published 2,700+ of Louie Crew Clay's poems and essays — including Letters from Samaria: The Prose & Poetry of Louie Crew Clay, NYC: Church Publishing, Inc., November 2015 and  Our Station Forgot to Give the Evening News,  Poetry Superhighway. An eBook in the press' annual 'The Great Poetry E-Book Free-For-All,' online from December 1, 2016. You can follow his work at Rutgers.edu. See also Wikipedia.org. The University of Michigan collects Clay’s papers.

     

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    • BGdave

      Rather than sandblasting them, why not alter the reliefs to portray Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln.

      • dbdel

        Or, perhaps, some southern belles . . . Margaret Mitchell?? Eudora Weldy? Harper Lee? Rosemary Daniell? Rita Mae Brown?

    • hannah

      Some people put more store in symbols than in real things. From where I sit, as an import, the union has exacted and continues to exact its revenge for the brief rebellion by imposing its dollars on the whole nation. Before the Civil War, states and territories issued their own currency and that was one of the Confederacy’s first tasks.
      One has to wonder what effect the eventual arms merchants’ refusal to honor the Confederate any longer had on the outcome of the conflict. I am left wondering what possessed the countries of Europe to surrender their own currencies and not even to an elected governing body. Did they not see the contortions our fifty states have to go through because Washington controls the purse strings? Did they think the Euro bankers were going to be fairer?
      I think it is telling that Switzerland, which has kept its own currency is now considering distributing it monthly directly to the citizenry to then spend into the economy as they see fit. Of course, to a certain extent that’s what pensions and payments for health care are doing in the U.S. — pumping dollars into the economy without first giving the banksters on Wall Street at cut. Which is why Medicare and Obamacare and Social Security Stipends are an abomination.

      • dbdel

        I’m puzzled, hannah. (1) What is the harm in having one national currency? (2) You seem to appreciate the fact that pensions and health-care payments pump dollars into the economy “without giving the banksters . . . a cut.” Then you call some such programs an abomination. Why?

        • hannah

          First, I’m sorry I didn’t read your query until just now. Secondly, there wouldn’t be harm in having a single currency, if the issuers weren’t tempted to use it as a tool to manage/mismanage policy and to subordinate whatever population is non-compliant.
          Finally, I am doubly sorry for having shifted perspectives. I should have made clear that the minions on Wall Street consider the direct distribution of currency to producers and consumers an abomination.
          Sometimes the distinction between human rights and civil rights is not clear. Access to our common currency, like access to the ballot and to public information, is a civil right, which the oligarchs on the hill prefer to deny. It is our civil rights which subordinate our public servants (whom we hire and pay for their work) and which they find irksome.
          Privatization on the federal level is, to a large extent, nothing more than an effort to shirk responsibility by delegating tasks and obligations to someone else.

          • dbdel

            I’m not sure what that first paragraph refers to: ” . . . there wouldn’t be harm in having a single currency, if the issuers weren’t tempted to use it as a tool to manage/mismanage policy and to subordinate whatever population is non-compliant.” What do you mean about money being a tool to manage/mismanage policy? And the final phrase is totally unclear: noncompliant . . . subordinate . . . Please explain

            • hannah

              Money is a symbol of obligations and value, much as the letters of the alphabet are symbols of sound (speech) and, in combination, meaning. Imagine that the access to the alphabet (or literacy) were restricted to certain populations, depending on whether they were included or excluded from the community. Or imagine that the number of letters anyone could use in a day were limited (as Twitter does). In either case, people’s ability to communicate would be severely hampered. Ditto when people are denied access to currency. Their ability to transact business is severely hampered. And this, i would argue, is not an accident. The rationing of the currency is done on purpose to keep some people in a disadvantaged position. Then, because they have no money, they are judged morally inferior. Of course, we judge illiterate people to be inferior, as well. For a classless society, the U.S. is really big on rank.

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