Dear General Kelly – Compromise and Confederates

(First Posted 31 October 2017)

General Kelly – again with all respect – I really hope this is the last time I have to write an open letter to you. (Hint: pick up the damn phone before it goes to voicemail).

Anyway – now would be another good time for you to shut the hell up.

“Compromise” doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. You are absolutely right, sir, that a “lack of compromise led to the Civil War” (or words to that effect). Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution. Missouri Compromise. Compromise of 1850. None of those actually worked because one side – the Slave States – could not give up the political and economic power that slavery gave them. Abraham Lincoln laid it out in stark terms in his 1860 address to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (again, words to this effect): “the only compromise the slavers will accept is abject surrender”.

The inability of the Slavers to compromise was the proximate cause of the war. Hell, they all said so at the time.

Bo Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan but Robert E. Lee betrayed his oath to uphold our Constitution and took up arms against our nation. Nothing about either one of those decisions is “honorable”, and sir – fuck you very _very_ much for saying that Lee’s actions were understandable and honorable in historical context while deploring Bergdahl’s. You stain the uniform we both wore with the mayonnaise of politics, is what you do with that.

Lastly, a sin is a sin – no matter what the cultural norm of the time might be. The only people in 1860 who believed slavery was OK were whites – I defy you to find a brown person who was OK with it (Uncle Tom’s Cabin is not evidence). Moreover, plenty of other white men thought the Peculiar Institution to morally insufferable – and they went to war against traitors like Lee because of that belief.

When I was on active duty, the US Marine Corps stressed “wrong is always wrong”. We’re of nearly the same vintage – when did that change for you?

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