georgia_state_capitolLegislatures in at least six states have given serious consideration this year to proposals that would compel their states to apologize for the roles they played in the historic abomination of slavery.

Five Southern states — Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida — had passed similar measures before this year. Maryland, a border state that was widely supportive of the Confederacy during the Civil War, is also among the states that have adopted apologies. Last year, New Jersey became the first Northern state to take that stand.

States where apologies are actively among consideration include Tennessee in the South, along with Connecticut, Rhode Island, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, where the General Assembly operates in a parallel universe, legislators this year have been more concerned about passing legislation setting aside April as Confederate Heritage and History Month. T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruellest month,” and Georgia’s Legislature seems to want to make that description even more apt.

The bill, which is supposed to encourage observations and celebrations of Confederate history, earlier passed the state Senate and sailed through the House, appropriately enough, on April Fools Day.

This is akin to Germany declaring a Nazi Heritage Month, but outrage has been muted at best. The timid newspapers around the state have barely mentioned the bill if they have mentioned it at all. But at least one writer has said what so many others should have said.

In an article in The Red and Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, Alex Busko wrote that the Confederate States of America “was a Confederacy composed almost exclusively of white men hell-bent on crippling our Union and preserving their way of life and the reprehensible institution of slavery. Today, we call groups like that terrorist organizations.”

Busko went on to comment on the fact that Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) has said the observance would boost tourism to Georgia. “This guy must have stolen a fistful of Rush Limbaugh’s OxyContin and washed it down with a bottle of Rebel Yell,” Busko wrote.

His article concludes with this line: “The history of the Confederacy is not the history of the South, and when we celebrate the history of the Confederacy, we celebrate things we should be condemning and praying remain the fossils of our past.”

The Red and Black’s headline for this story was “ ‘Confederate History Month’ ludicrous.”

Enough said.

Editor’s note: Click here to read Alex Busko’s article in full.

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Keith Graham

Keith Graham

Keith Graham was among the recipients of the prestigious Stella Artois prize at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival. Named for a blind piano player, he is also well known for always giving money to street accordion players. A quotation that he considers meaningful comes from the Irish writer Roddy Doyle: "The family trees of the poor don't grow to any height." In addition to contributing to Like the Dew, Keith frequently posts quotations and links and occasionally longer articles at http://tartantambourine.com/