By Al Benson Jr.
If you always thought the Cable News Network (CNN) was typical of the “news” media that hewed the leftist line you were on target. Too many naively think that the “news” media exists to give us real news. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of the “news” media exists to promote the government line in whatever subject they deal with—politics, economics, history, religion—you name it. Truth is the last thing that concerns them.
This was amply demonstrated on October 25th by a CNN article by Dean Obeidallah, the title of which, on http://www.cnn.com was “Confederate flag was the flag of traitors.” In this article Mr. Obeidallah proved that his grasp of history was like the Platte River—a mile wide and an inch deep. The article lists him as a “former attorney” and a “political comedian.” I would suggest that whatever his day job is he keep it, unless it is besmirching Southerners, at which he seems to be adept. Wikipedia has listed Obeidalla as “…part of a small but growing number of Arab-American comedians” that uses comedy “to both entertain and dispel negative stereotypes of Arab-Americans and Muslims.” He was born and grew up in New Jersey.
His missive starts out with: “You can debate whether the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. But one thing you can’t dispute: The Confederate flag was flown by traitors to the United States of America who slaughtered more than 110,000 U.S. soldiers. I know some will take issue with my calling the Confederacy a band of traitors, but let’s be blunt—that’s what they were. They broke from the United States and created their own nation…” The United States did the same thing in 1776 from Great Britain. Was that treason? If so we all better apologize and crawl back to London begging forgiveness, right?
Obeidallah makes the same classic mistake all liberals seem to make. He can’t tell the difference between secession and treason. To him it’s all the same. I could give him a brief history lesson here, though I doubt if he would listen, but I will try anyway. If he doesn’t get it maybe some other ultra-liberal or socialist will read this and lights will go on—maybe.
The Southern states did not, I repeat, did not, commit treason. They seceded. There is no place in the Constitution that forbids secession. In fact when some of the states ratified the Constitution they did so with the provision that, should this new government not work out for them they reserved the right to secede and go their own ways. Their ratifications were accepted with that language in them. How then is it “treason” to secede? It’s only “treason” if you have a socialist mentality that demands that all political power be centralized.
As for secession being treasonous, even some in Lincoln’s own cabinet argued that this was foolishness. In his book An Honorable Defeat William C. Davis, no real friend of the South, observed, on page 385 that: “The Constitution failed specifically to define what they (the Confederate leaders) had done as treason. They had not attempted to overthrow the United States government, nor had any of them been leaders in the separatist movement that resulted from secession. Rather, Davis and Stephens had been elected without seeking office, and the rest were simply appointees.” Davis noted, on page 386 that: “Influential Union editors called for leniency, especially when authorities failed to link him (Jefferson Davis) to the Lincoln assassination, even after employing perjured witnesses.” Would “our” government employ lying witnesses? You bet they would—and still do. I’m sorry, but Obeidallah’s charge of treason for Confederates falls flat on its face.
He gets one thing right. He notes that the Confederate Battle Flag was the battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia, but he thinks that’s even worse because “…this was the flag carried on battlefields by Confederate troops during the Civil War as they killed U.S. soldiers.” For one thing, the Union soldiers were mostly on Southern soil. They had invaded the Southern states and so the Confederates resisted. One Confederate soldier was reported to have said, (when he was asked why the Confederates resisted,) “because you’re here.” And if you want to know further reasons why the Confederates resisted I suggest you read War Crimes Against Southern Civilians. It is one book, among many, that documents Northern atrocities in the South. I wonder if Obeidallah would justify those atrocities because, after all, those nasty Southerners were traitors and so whatever is done to them is okay. If that was his mindset I would not be surprised. It’s the typical Yankee/Marxist mindset which prevailed among much of the Northern leadership, as documented by Donnie Kennedy and I in our book Lincoln’s Marxists.
Obeidallah is trying, by his “historical” argument to persuade people not to carry or display the Confederate flag and he finally gets around to making the obligatory appeal to Southern “racism” as his clincher. I am not persuaded. He mentions Alexander Stephens much talked about “slavery is the cornerstone” speech. He doesn’t tell you that Stephens made that remark from a hotel balcony in an impromptu speech he was asked to give with no preparation time allowed for what he was to say. He also doesn’t tell you that the white attitude toward blacks was the same in the North as in the South, and in some cases, a little worse. Maybe he doesn’t know that. If he is going to comment on all this he should.
He has no problem with Confederate flags being displayed in history museums. How magnanimous of him but he doesn’t think anyone should carry or display one anywhere else because, after all, the people that carried that flag were shooting at U.S. soldiers. What does he think those U.S. soldiers were doing in the South—handing out lollypops?
The record of Northern atrocities in the South is there for anyone who is willing to do the research. I would suggest to Mr. Obeidallah that before he writes anymore about Southern “treason” he do a little more homework. For starters I would suggest these books: The South Was Right; The North Against The South–The American Iliad-1848-1877; Was Jefferson Davis Right?; Sherman’s March; The South Under Siege 1830-2000, and The Coming of the Glory. If he will read these in addition to the books already mentioned in this article then he might have enough knowledge to make some accurate commentary about the South and the War.
Barring that, his slanted commentary about the South’s “treason” is little more than a noxious rant.