Saturday, March 29, 2014

Florida Legislature Not Over Civil War; Refuses Monument for American Union Soldiers

Crossposted on DKos

Nevermind the fact that the state park for the potential memorial already has THREE memorials for Confederate soldiers.

Nevermind the fact that this battle lost more than twice as many Union soldiers as Confederates.

Nevermind the fact that Confederates in this battle committed war crimes.

And nevermind the fact that these asshats in Tally always rail about government interference in local affairs.

When a group of residents tried to get a small memorial to honor fallen AMERICAN soldiers at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Sons of the Confederacy member Rep. Dennis Baxley responded with a bill that just passed in committee on a 7-6 vote. The bill would strip park administrators the authority to place historical markers and give it to the right-wing Florida legislature!

As Michael Van Sickler pointed out in the Tampa Bay Times, the bill seems to "contradict" conservative principles by wedging in an extra layer of government to determine local affairs.

"I think it's a sad day," Lloyd Monroe, president of the Olustee Monument Commission for the Florida chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans, told the Ocala Star-Banner when the bill was filed. "It's unfortunate that [Baxley] wants the legislature to micromanage an executive department ... The park belongs to all the people of Florida. It doesn't belong to a particular sub-set of people."

All of this to keep from honoring fallen Union soldiers.

The Battle of Olustee had the highest casualty ratio in the Civil War and was the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida. The Union commander was able to liberate several slaves before the onset of the battle, which although was considered a Confederate victory did showcase the gallantry of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the 35th United States Colored Troops, both composed of African-American soldiers. These men successfully repulsed the Confederate army's attack on the rear units which allowed the Union soldiers to escape and regroup in Jacksonville. The Confederate commander was reprimanded for his failure.

After the battle was over, against the norms of war, several wounded and captured black soldiers where clubbed to death or shot by the Confederate troops.

Yet we have three monuments honoring the people who committed these atrocities, and not one honoring those American soldiers who were killed.

Baxley's defense is that he is entitled to "a little sliver of diversity" to honor his descendants... but apparently not the ones who fought to preserve the Union as well as some damned decency for fellow human beings.

When I heard about this bill, I appropriately guessed it was Baxley who was behind it. He is Florida's notoriously racist state senator. He is the one responsible for our state's Stand Your Ground Law. He is also the staunchest supporter of our state's voter suppression laws. He has fought hard for the Confederate flag plates, and even harder against removing the term "darkies" from our state song:

"We're in a multicultural area and everyone's culture is celebrated but mine".

Yeah, rich, old white people are so f*&*ing oppressed.

I get that the Florida GOP, for all their rants about patriotism, wants the park to only support those who committed the biggest act of treason in the United States.

But don't put in my face ever again this mantra of local control when it means residents of the town can't put up their own monument to honor American soldiers because it may somehow interfere with several monuments of the traitor soldiers who killed--and in some cases, murdered--the American soldiers.

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