This is a message to the alt-right, or whatever you choose to call yourselves these days, and those who would defend them.
Let me be clear. Crystal clear.
There is no place in America for swastikas, Nazi salutes, or chants of "Blood and Soil". If you are marching next to a Nazi and you realize that you are and you do not run in the other direction, you are either a Nazi or an idiot. There are no value judgements to make. There are no nice Nazis. They are traitors to America, pure and simple.
If you are marching next to someone brandishing a Confederate battle flag, go right ahead. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to advocate secession. But if you want to break up our great Union because you are unable to deal with modern reality, you are a traitor to America, pure and simple.
I'm not saying: Love it or leave it. I'm saying: If you want to leave, you can't take pieces of my country away with you.
And don't hand me that crap about the Civil War being about States' Rights. That's pure horse hockey. Here are the second and third sentences of Georgia's secession statement: "The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with
the Government of the United States of America, present to their
confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation.
For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of
complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with
reference to the subject of African slavery." Even more telling is the second sentence of Mississippi's statement: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world." Both Texas and Virginia refer to the grievances of 'slave-holding states' throughout their declarations.
The Confederate battle flag that was waved so proudly in Charlottesville was the symbol of a movement to keep slavery legal, fostered by white men willing to destroy our Union over their cause. To wonder why that flag or the monuments to the generals who fought under that flag is offensive is to profess either ignorance or prejudice. Period. And don't tell me that those monuments are reminders of the horrors of war. They are, to the people who marched in Charlottesville, salutes to their heroes, men who were willing to kill tens of thousands of Americans to preserve slavery.
Those generals were not heroes. Their statues are not simply a part of our history. Those generals were traitors to America, pure and simple. When did we decide that erecting statues to honor traitors was a good thing?