To paraphrase then-candidate Donald Trump, I like people who weren’t treasonous losers.
Trump was talking about Sen. John McCain four years ago when he claimed McCain wasn’t a war hero and said, “I like people who weren’t captured.” And because Trump only has the best words — just ask him — it seems appropriate to co-opt the phrase for the renewed debate over monuments honoring Confederate soldiers. And schools named for Confederate leaders. And military bases named for Confederate generals.
We could wallow in the absurdity that is President Trump’s vague familiarity with the English language and proper capitalization. You know, like: “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.” And, “My Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”
Or we could respect our military by not honoring those who pulled off a triple play of failure — defending slavery by seceding from the United States, endeavoring to kill Americans, and losing the Civil War. It takes a special kind of buffoon to pull that off.
You know, like Braxton Bragg, a general in the Confederate Army and namesake of Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Bragg, according to historians, was a somewhat awful general and a completely awful person. A 2016 book about him is titled, “Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy.”
Or like Brig. Gen. Henry Benning, who led Confederate troops at Antietam and Gettysburg and is the namesake of Fort Benning in Georgia. In 1861, Benning warned that the abolition of slavery would lead to “black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand for that?”