"I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand."What kind of "compromise" did Kelly have in mind? Why does his statement that there were "men and women of good faith on both sides" of the fight over slavery remind me of Trump's statement that there were "good people" on both sides of the anti-fascist struggle in Charlottesville?
Just as Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge that NFL players are taking the knee to protest racist police killings, his Chief of Staff calls for "compromise" instead of Civil War while refusing to acknowledge that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Like the pro-slavery Southerners then and white supremacists now, he thinks the Civil War was fought over state's rights.
That is why he thinks Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. Most white Southerners didn't own slaves, and some actually opposed slavery. Robert E Lee was a slave owner who never publically opposed slavery. He was a white supremacist who saw the financial advantages of slavery for the rich white planters.
At the same time Kelly disparages the thousands of generally unacknowledged southern whites that haven't had monuments erected to them because they showed true honor by opposing slavery and remaining loyal to the Union. According to Kelly, back in those days, loyalty to one's slavery state was more important than one's country, so General Lee wasn't a traitor when he used the civilian population of Fredericksburg as human shields while his rebel army guns mowed down his fellow United States Military Academy graduates and the Unionists, both Northerners and Southerns, under their command, in the name of his right to own other people and live comfortably off of their labor.
Even while Lee, and the other "honorable" white slavers Kelly prefers, were living "high on the hog" on the backs of black labor, Lee had the racist audacity to claim slavery was for the benefit of blacks, not whites! He wrote to his wife in 1856 that slavery was “a greater evil to the white man than to the black race” in the United States, and that the “painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction.”
Another report widely republished by Unionist newspapers in 1859, long before Robert E. Lee became famous in his own right, described his treatment of runaway slaves. It described the whipping of three slaves that had run away from Arlington:
"Mr. Lee was forthwith acquainted with their whereabouts," the story said, "when they were transported back, taken to a barn, stripped, and the men received thirty and nine lashes each, from the hands of the slave-whipper. When he refused to whip the girl, Mr. Lee himself administered the thirty and nine lashes to her."
James Karst recounts in a Times-Picayune piece:
A story published during the war describes a failed escape similar to the one described in 1859. It quotes a former slave named Wesley Norris.Kelly thinks Robert E Lee was an honorable man because, like Lee, he is a white supremacist. We saw that in his treatment of an African American Gold Star family of David Johnson and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), the African American congresswomen who spoke up for them.
"We were immediately taken before Gen. Lee, who demanded the reason why we ran away," Norris said. "We frankly told him that we considered ourselves free; he then told us he would teach us a lesson which we never would forget."
When the overseer declined to whip Norris, his sister and his cousin, a constable named Williams was asked to administer the attack.
Lee "stood by and frequently enjoined Williams to 'lay it on well,'" Norris said, "an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done. After this, my cousin and myself were went to Hanover Courthouse jail, my sister being sent to Richmond to an agent to be hired."
Dotard Trump has turned the White House into the house of white supremacists.
How about WWII Kelly? Could that been avoided by compromising with the Nazis?