May. 18th, 2017

I need to be loading my car. And I’d told myself, you know, on all these early-spring trips to the farm, I should be bringing and organizing things for the yurt, and i kept saying to myself, yes, I should be doing that, sure, next time, and well, now it’s next time. if I don’t get the yurt set up on Friday I won’t have anywhere to sleep that night. (Well, unless I drive a staggering eight miles to my mother’s house, gasp. But still. It’d be great to just– get the yurt up, because we’ll be busy all week and there won’t be time.)

But I didn’t do all the things I was going to over the winter to get it finished, and then I made up for it by making an exhaustive list today at work, and I … left the list on my desk, and I’m meant to load the car tonight and leave straight from work tomorrow and you know. You know.

Anyway. I’m a champion at procrastinating, we all knew that.

I gave myself the Chicken Processing Manicure today at work since I’m sort of unsupervised and so nobody was going to care if I sat at my desk trimming, filing, and painting my nails. I have really really really really short and neat nails now, and I painted them deep shiny crimson because I had the bottle in my pencil case. (OPI, Not Really A Waitress, to be specific.) And here I’m thinking, again, that these are definitely Lesbian Fingernails, like for sure these are the nails you see on a girl in a bar and think oh yes, my dear, you know what you’re about. And every other chicken slaughter or so I make a joke to that effect, and it falls flat every time, because everyone else there is either a straight woman or a dude who doesn’t think about these things (but really, really dudes, really, surely you know about this sort of thing, for real????) and they all kind of blink at me, and I say, never mind, but I can never resist trying again. This is a manicure to make love to your old lady with, okay? Especially when painted, because then you can see the little soft half-moons of the tips of my fingers where the nail is so short the soft flesh extends beyond it. I’ve never picked up a girl in a bar, but the thought remains.

Being a bisexual woman in a relationship with a dude is really not the same thing as being a straight woman in a relationship with a dude, it really isn’t, because I just don’t think the same way. But anyhow.

Meanwhile, apropos of nothing, I looked up Stan Rogers because a commenter on Home In The Wind suggested him, and I’d heard a lot of his stuff before but hadn’t really ever sat and listened much. So I gave Sweet Young Thing Kalonia a song of his in the latest Lost Kings update (she’s old enough that she was in the Rebellion, she sure was), and I’ve been listening to Rogers’s Greatest Hits on Google Play on my commute lately.

And i keep getting The Flowers Of Bermuda stuck in my head. And in the recording, it’s really really upbeat, almost too much so. But the version I always wind up half-remembering and singing to myself when nobody’s in the room is definitely not. Has anyone ever done a wistful cover of Flowers of Bermuda? Someone surely has. 

He was the captain of the Nightingale
Twenty-one days from Clyde in coal
He could smell the flowers of Bermuda in the gale
when he died on the North Rock Shoal
fic excerpt: bucky barnes’s bisexual manifesto

This is from a like 8k threesome PWP that I wrote as a coda to Facepunch that I have never finished and published because it hinges on that last chapter of Facepunch that I just could not get to coalesce, and I’m so soured on Marvel what with all the fucking Nazis that I cannot work on it at the moment, but someday I will come back to this, just so I can finish this fucking fic and publish it. But in the meantime, this is one thousand percent Bucky being my self-insert Bewildered Bisexual who really can’t grasp the concept of how it would even work to be monosexual, because how are these things really different? How could you categorically pick one?? I don’t get where the line is and I just can’t see it.

I’m sure I’ve posted this excerpt before, I think I’ve been working on it for two years now, so. 

“Do elaborate, Sergeant,” Carter said. 

“I don’t know that I got words for it,” Bucky said. “I just— when it’s mostly up, like that, and you take it in your hand and you can feel it gettin’ the rest of the way hard, and it’s so hot and heavy, and the skin slides so soft over it, and you can take it in and it fills up your mouth and just the smell and the taste of it, the way it presses up against the roof of your mouth and slides over your tongue and you gotta drop your jaw to take it in—“

Steve made a little noise and bit his lip, hands flexing at his sides. “And that,” Bucky said, gesturing at him. “All that’s to say nothin’ of the noises he makes, and how you can just— just take him apart, make him lose his mind, makin’ little noises like that and he puts his hands in your hair and you know he’s not thinkin’ about anything except your mouth an’ you just, you just wanna swallow him down, take him as far as you can and you gotta breathe through your nose—“

“Jesus Christ,” Steve said, putting his hands firmly on his hips— to keep from touching himself, Bucky realized with a smug little thrill— and squirming a little as he stood. “I, yeah.”

“That’s not to say it’s not just as good with a woman,” Bucky went on earnestly, looking to Carter now. “It’s just different. It’s just as good, it’s so good, and with a woman you can just keep goin’ forever until she’s tired of you, you can stay there all night if she wants you to, and it only gets better the longer you’re at it. I tell you there is nothin’ in this world that tastes better on the tip of your tongue than to be just barely inside a woman in the middle of about five or six orgasms, where she’s got the softest part of her thighs wrapped around your neck and — I hope that’s not too forward, Agent Carter, I don’t mean to come off presumptuous, but I’m only tellin’ the truth.”

“Oh,” Carter said, “not at all, Barnes, not at all.” She looked a little distracted. Christ, maybe she’d let him at her. Bucky wanted pretty bad to suck Steve’s dick, but he’d never even been close with Carter before, and he’d bet she was a hair-puller. Thighs that strong around his neck would really be something. He wasn’t sure if she’d be sweet in bed, or if she’d boss him around. He was sort of hoping for the latter, but to get her to the point where she was all lax and lovey would really, really be an achievement.

“I mean,” Barnes said, fidgeting a little as he stood, “I know Steve’s a super soldier now, his tongue probably never gets tired, but— I taught him everything he knows. I mighta held back a trick or two, a man’s gotta have somethin’ in this world. But I wouldn’t presume, ma’am. I just— it’s just— well, even if you never been with a woman, you gotta know how it is, you know, when a woman gets to that point, you know— it’s not like it’s not great when a man gets off, but it’s such a mess. And it’s so— I don’t think I got words for it, but when you got your fingers or your— well, anything long enough— in a woman when she comes, and it’s like she just grabs onto you and squeezes, these little spasms, like— little ripples goin’ through her— that’s just the best thing in the world, to feel that, especially when her breathing goes all funny and comes apart— and sometimes it’s better if she’s tryin’ to be quiet and just can’t help it and you get her so far gone you can just set her off again—“

He was really turned-on, he realized abruptly, and he swallowed hard, collecting himself. Steve was just about beside himself with lust, which was all to the good. Carter was harder to read, but she had a bit of a glazed look.
via replied to your post “I got yet another Hot Business Tip here on phone etiquette– if you get…”

Ohhhh, those calls are the worst. The “life story in lieu of actually explaining what you want and/or listening to me when I tell you why what you want is not possible” thing happens to me all the time when I’m working reference at the library too.

Calls, or in-person, it’s hard to say. We used to have a higher percentage of regulars who were into that. For a while one of the women who worked here was… I don’t know how to put it, but she was like, Constitutionally Unable not to have two-hour conversations with people, and she drew in the worst people who wanted to come in and talk to her for hours and basically get therapy from her and it was always ostensibly about photography in some way but really, mostly, it wasn’t? And it was fucking awful. She had stalkers. I mean for real, stalkers. It was bad. People would look for her car, would call just to see if she picked up (so we had to answer the phone for her, that kind of thing, sometimes we had to hide her in the back room and lie and say her car was here because her boyfriend had picked her up to take her out for lunch, that kind of shit). 

And she could never ever ever ever ever even say something like “my shift was over like an hour ago and i have to go” or “if I do not go do some work I will get fired” or “I promised i’d print an order by now so I have to go do it for when that customer gets back” or “I have to cover my coworker’s break now can we talk some other time” or, for the love of god, “it is inappropriate for you, a relative stranger, to tell me such things in a workplace environment” or “for the love of god, you should consult a professional therapist or possibly a priest about that, not a retail clerk”– she couldn’t even … like…  look disinterested, or anything, she couldn’t do it, she had to appear genuinely engaged all the time no matter what, it was fucking horrible, she was like, actively encouraging these people, even though the instant they were gone she was like fuck what a waste of my life and said horrible things about them. It gave me a Complex, I tell you what. (I absolutely know she did the same thing to me, feigned interest and encouraged me in conversation only to later tell others what a boring piece of shit I was– I have receipts.)

She went nuts (when i say I have receipts…) and quit a few years back though, and so slowly most of those people have drifted away. Some of them continued to stalk her, though, which was goddamn terrifying. 


One of the services we offer, there’s another local shop that does just that– as it happens, 8mm film to DVD. And when I say local, I mean, like, a half a mile down the road. For years, we just outsourced ours to him, and marked it up, and it was fine and dandy and this was great, because as a more generalist shop we had a big market, and so he didn’t have to market much. But he got increasingly unstable and unreliable and would yell at us and just generally be really scary (oh, he stalked the woman I discussed above too, but only briefly, I’d forgotten about that). So we finally just bought our own machine and learned to do it, because we literally couldn’t rely on this guy and sort of feared for our lives, he was so extremely eccentric.

He’s still there. (He might be a money laundering operation of some kind because AFAIK nobody actually goes there. Occasionally a customer stumbles in and is like “who is that dude” and we’re like, sorry, don’t take it personally, we’ll just do the job, don’t worry.) His marketing materials– he has a flyer he hands out, and right on it, in bold font, is emblazoned, “NO STORIES”. It says, and this isn’t a direct quote but I swear this is what it says, “just drop your shit off and don’t tell me about it! Just leave it, and I’ll get it done for you fast and cheap! But don’t fucking tell me about it! Tell me a story and I’ll throw you out, I mean it!”

It’s not in those words but it is, I’m not lying, that exact sentiment. And NO STORIES is a direct quote. (And the customers who stumble into us usually do have stories, and usually were actually thrown out for telling them, so it’s not hyperbole, he means it. He told one sweet old lady whose photos I’ve been printing for years to, verbatim, “go fuck herself”, which shocked her quite badly and I had to console her. She just wanted to know what kind of process he used! I was like, ma’am, I would fight him for you, but the law frowns on it. I mean it, she’s a harmless sweet old lady whose photos I’ve printed for years and she has never breathed an unkind thought in her life. She was delighted to discover this was a service we now offered.)

So, sometimes, as customers are talking, the others of us will mutter “No stories!” under our breath. 

This is why machines can’t take our jobs. Machines won’t listen to Mrs. Hattenschweiler’s fucking stories. Until they teach the machines to pretend (convincingly) to care, there will still be room for a few retail stores.
i am riding this procrastination down to the wire: i leave for work in 20 minutes and leave for the farm straight from work, and i haven’t showered, gotten dressed, or packed most of my things to load my car. amazing.
via replied to your post “fic excerpt: bucky barnes’s bisexual manifesto This is from a like 8k…”

I think you just about gave me a heart attack while I was trying to clean the kitchen.

haha at first i wasn’t sure which post this was a reply to and I was like, what terrifying thing have I inadvertently posted? 

oh, not that kind of heart attack. 



Do you ever contemplate the fact that - at least according to the ending scenes of Return of the Sith - plans for the Death Star were developed (and the initial phases of its construction begun!) during the Clone Wars? I mean clearly it was a closely-guarded secret otherwise Alliance leadership with its heavy concentration of ex-Republican politicians and military officers would have known about it from the beginning, but…still. That’s not a small project. That’s not something Palpatine can set in motion on his own. A number of people in the theoretically not-yet-fascist state definitely signed on for carrying I am become death, destroyer of worlds to its most literal extreme. Or did Sheev delegate this project to the Separatist interests he was controlling? IIRC the Geonosians were involved but Galen Erso’s connection as well as the sheer SCALE of that project suggests it was the brainchild of the Republic’s military-industrial complex. Either way, the fridge horror is strong with this one.

Also - how long has this been on Rebel Intelligence’s radar? By the time of Rogue One this thing has been under construction for twenty years, and a good number of the people in the Alliance’s command structure defected from the system that was building it. Who’s heard whispers? Who’s pored over intelligence reports and dimly seen the shape of something terrible in the empty spaces? How long has this looming unnamed uncertain threat been hanging over the people whose job it is to deal with looming threats before they spiral out of control?

#WHAT I’M SAYING IS#how long has cassian andor been chasing a quarry he can’t see#he doesn’t know what it is but he’s been doing this long enough to sense that the threads in his hands all lead in the same direction#it’s just an instinct it’s not actionable intelligence but he’s been a spy for a long time and his instincts are good#and the closer he gets the more ominous it all starts to feel#why does he spit galen erso’s name so frantically at his informant#how often does draven stare at stacks of reports till his eyes cross because he knows there’s something there but he doesn’t know WHAT#I desperately need answers to these questions

canon answers some part of it! or at least, there’s this incredibly blink and you might miss it moment in attack of the clones where the film does answer where and when the death star was first conceived and the beautiful and horrific irony of it is that it was conceived of by the separatist war machine. not the discontented outer rim worlds, no, but the separatist council itself - the one that’s made up of all these interest groups and war profiteers out for a kick and corporate alliances looking for tax cuts that the republic won’t give them. it’s this moment which occurs right around the time where the separatists are evacuating geonosis following the republic’s attack/defence. the film cuts to the leader of the geonosians talking about their special weapon and how the republic cannot find the plans for their weapon:

which dooku promptly offers to take to palpatine. 

so i think canon in part answers your question about whether or not it was a republic birthed idea or a separatist one - and because palps is pulling so many strings at this point, its impossible to tell whether or not he had a hand in instigating its creation in the first place. the catalyst novel is pretty clear that the geonosians designed (and built part of) it, but it still doesn’t say anything about whether palps planted the seeds of the idea directly or indirectly in their minds. in the end the separatists versus republic arms race only benefited him (and the arms manufacturers): he’s the one who ends up in charge of the massive arsenal anyway.

but this raises another interesting question the fact that this weapon is a separatist weapon first poses a problem: how far down the chain is this knowledge made known? do they distribute knowledge of this weapon downwards to the separatist outer rim worlds in an effort to build morale? or at least hint at it, so they know the republic cannot stand triumphant forever? do they hint at this weapon’s existence to the heads of local militias or beat their chests over it in public? how many of the people fighting on the ground in the separatist worlds might have been clinging onto these hints as promises of comeuppance for the republic?

all of which boils down to: how many of these rumours would cassian have heard as a child?

imo in the wake of the clone wars and the early years of the formation of the rebellion, the alliance would very much aware of the fact that there’s a bunch of separatist weaponry and arsenal floating around the galaxy where it could potentially be dangerous in the wrong hands - especially their larger scale weapon projects. and i think that early rebel intel would definitely have tried to hunt down as much knowledge on the separatist weapons’ projects and existing weapons caches. part of this would have involved weaving contacts & networks with former separatist rebels (a potential source of conflict between saw and the rebellion?) to get to the people who might have known what was what. (does the rebellion recruit former separatists with a hope that one of them might prove to be the key? does draven recruit cassian hoping that this boy might prove to be the key, or that one person who leads down the chain to discover just what was going on with the separatists before the emperor took charge? i like to think yes to both. that and the whole cynical, they’re more loyal bc they already hated the republic and naturally hate the empire even more and have no moral compunctions the way others do bc they’ve already given up so much, a little more almost doesn’t matter.)

then you have also the shifting resources in the galaxy. rebel intel would definitely have kept their ear to the ground where the movement of metals and raw resources used in shipbuilding or weapons was and how much of it was being shifted by the empire and how much of it was being shifted by private players, gangsters and arms dealer types. the thrawn novel has thrawn figuring out the existence of the death star almost entirely by keeping an eye on the market for metals like doonium, which were used in manufacturing separatist droids, and noting how prices are shooting up which means demand is high - and yet the metal is disappearing and isn’t being used to build ships. so i think in that regard, rebel intel would start worrying why the empire is stockpiling metals used in shipbuilding at such a large scale while still strip mining all these various planets for metals. it’d definitely raise red flags for them if they couldn’t tally up the empire’s weapons output with the amount of metal being moved off the market.

there’s also the aspect of slaves - if i’m not mistaken the thrawn novel implies that the wookies were eventually used as slave labour on the death star after i guess, they finished massacring the geonosians. escaped/freed slaves might have some information about it. or rumours of it. whispers of it. so many whispers - berch teller, for example, attacking those ships on the way with metal to build the death star - how many such transports did the rebellion catch and then sweat about because none of these numbers were adding up.

and then there’s the whole saw connection! how much did the ersos tell saw? how much did saw tell rebel intel in turn? catalyst has both the ersos figuring out that the empire is building a WMD and leaving - did they tell saw about this, if at all? did saw put this to rebel intel and did they file it away as unlikely but something to keep an eye on? suppose saw didn’t even tell them about this, did he tell them about the smuggler krennic used in catalyst, the one who dropped weapons onto legacy worlds like wadi raffa so the empire could claim they were stamping out a rebellion and step in and strip those worlds of their resources - with again, the metal seemingly disappearing into the ether. so many worlds are being ruined and the math just doesn’t add up -

given all of this its likely that even back then they might have had hints about a huge weapons project the separatists were into - and worse, that the empire might have seized these projects for their own and been working on them in secret anyway. in that context, i don’t think its an accident that cassian is fulcrum in the albarrio sector, where the intergalactic banking clan has part of its HQ and where plenty of their hangers-on, their clients and those trying to influence them spend their time. its likely that they decided to go back, follow the credits back as far as possible and see if there was someone with just about enough resentment against the empire - against being sidelined from power - who was ready to talk. i don’t think they might have understood what exactly they were up against. the imagination often has its limitations and people can’t exactly imagine something that’s so… large. we’re very bad with scale and imagining scale. build a weapon to destroy a world? impossible and illogical. the empire has to be stockpiling this to make a huge arsenal to unleash. 

but then, the math is still insane and there’s always this nagging knowledge, probably, that the separatists had once boasted they’d had a weapon which could destroy the republic at one go. what if its true. what if.

so what i’m saying is: draven and cassian and rebel intel have almost definitely been hunting this weapon for years if not for two decades, hoping against hope that they were doing the math wrong or that this was just a weapons stockpile and an idle separatist boast, only to constantly receive confirmation that the empire is building something big. something that needs kyber crystals, which means it uses or channels the force - or force like powers. something that’s eating up huge piles of metal, more than any kind of super star destroyer would ever require - more than even a shipbuilding or ordinary weapons facility would ever need. something that needs hundreds and thousands of slaves to build it. they’ve definitely been on its trail for a while, searching for more than just speculative maths - some tangible proof, plans, actual physical evidence - to prove its existence so they can act. 

(and then boy, does the empire supply proof.)

#what i’m saying is that rebel intel is like please god no let this not be true#but the math is like ha ha fuckers #and you bet cassian was out there in the albarrio sector hunting down former separatist and war profiteer after the other#searching for answers hoping someone would crack and give him the answer he was desperate for #or at least supply the knowledge that would get them on the right track #(besides also ofc getting inroads with disgruntled powerbrokers #and trying to sway them to the rebels cause get them to supply them arms that sort of thing)#like you know how in intel a defector might supply you with some info #but then you need corroboration from multiple sources to make sure they’re not a plant or a double agent #there was defs a lot of that with the rebellion a lot of hoping these were plants trying to scare them into submission #because they just have a lot of hypotheticals & spec but no actual tangible proof until bodhi rook defects with a message from galen #(claming he has a message from galen) #and even then its not really enough until fucking jedha #because how do you even wrap your mind around a weapon that big #so immensely destructive #how do you begin to understand the sheer scale and sublimity of it so you can believe its existence?#you just can’t #the mind just can’t #its this breakdown of imagination #an acceptance without acceptance (tobermoriansass)
So, early news on the Taking Back The Government Starting On A Local Level front– my older sister(the Army sister who we just visited in Georgia)’s best friend from kindergarten thru high school–

whose mother died of cancer when she was a teenager, leaving her to raise 4 younger siblings with no money [her father was a farm laborer, so he was busy and broke], who went on to attend Cornell and row for their women’s 8 on crew, become an environmental engineer of some type, and married into a wealthy [owned a beverage conglomerate, younger brother on the US Olympic ski team a few years back] family out here in Western NY, who just relocated with her three children as her husband started a new career in farming [a big farm, up near where she grew up on a tiny, broke-ass farm, so it was a really wonderful homecoming for her], and found herself busy enough with the kids that she hadn’t looked into a new job yet while they remodeled their house and settled back into her childhood community– 

well, she got fired up what with all this nonsense lately, so she ran for the local school board, she and another youngish woman (my sister will be 40 this year, so that’s what I mean by “youngish”), and overwhelmingly defeated the incumbents, who had been in power for decades and had been of the sort to “run the school like a business” and “cut costs” and dumb shit that gives you illiterate children you idiots. I couldn’t believe they were still in power; I haven’t been registered in that county since I moved away in 2002, but I sure recognized their names. When my mother was a teacher she picketed against them; I registered to vote as soon as I could, just to vote against them at her behest, but we couldn’t unseat them. They were local businessmen and thought they knew everything.

Well, they’ve finally been defeated: by a pair of educated, intelligent, driven young mothers from the neighborhood who aren’t going to put up with that bullshit anymore. 

I’d link to a news story or something but there are only dry tables of schoolboard election results that won’t mean anything to anyone. But have, here, my anecdata: those campaigns encouraging women to run for office are starting to bear their first fruit. I’ve always admired this woman; she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s witty and she’s kind, she bore up phenomenally under tragedy and adversity and worked hard to find the fairy-tale future she’d always hoped for. She and my sister and about half a dozen other girls were all on the track team together and formed this straight-A no-nonsense cabal that ruled the school; her 4x400m hurdles record with my sister and two others stayed up on the gym wall for over a decade. 

May her star continue to rise, and may others like her rise up as well. 

(One of her younger sisters went to Cornell too, along with my youngest sister, the farm sister, so our families have remained somewhat close.)
replied to your post “I need to be loading my car. And I’d told myself, you know, on all…”

“oh yes, my dear, you know what you’re about.” *crylaughing* at the guys who clearly DON’T know what they’re about. Or what they’re missing. Ahem.


I mean– I guess a lot of straight dudes just keep their nails short so they don’t think about it much, but– some don’t and I always kind of wonder– like– what are you– I don’t want to– you know what I’m not going to think about it– but… 

oh my god

Anyway. I type better with short nails so I do keep them sort of short, but I used to keep them real short and I remember when I first had to go long-distance with my girlfriend, realizing my nails were getting long and getting real depressed because it didn’t matter. (I’d been a nail-biter as a kid, so I’d really never had long fingernails; it was only in college that I grew out of that, and I’d already embarked upon my Bisexual Self-Discovery Arc by then.)

But like. I just never really realized that innuendoes about fingernails are so specifically sapphic. C’mon, my dudes. 

Those cuticles could use some work and the color is already wearing off, but there is my Chicken Slaughter manicure.
via do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.:




History is the polemics of the victor, William F. Buckley once said. Not so in the United States, at least not regarding the Civil War. As soon as the Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done and why. The resulting mythology took hold of the nation a generation later and persists — which is why a presidential candidate can suggest, as Michele Bachmann did in 2011, that slavery was somehow pro-family and why the public, per the Pew Research Center, believes that the war was fought mainly over states’ rights.

The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books.

Take Kentucky, where the legislature voted not to secede. Early in the war, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston ventured through the western part of the state and found “no enthusiasm, as we imagined and hoped, but hostility.” Eventually, 90,000 Kentuckians would fight for the United States, while 35,000 fought for the Confederate States. Nevertheless, according to historian Thomas Clark, the state now has 72 Confederate monuments and only two Union ones.

Neo-Confederates also won parts of Maryland. In 1913, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) put a soldier on a pedestal at the Rockville courthouse. Maryland, which did not secede, sent 24,000 men to the Confederate armed forces, but it also sent 63,000 to the U.S. Army and Navy. Still, the UDC’s monument tells visitors to take the other side: “To our heroes of Montgomery Co. Maryland: That we through life may not forget to love the thin gray line.”

In fact, the thin gray line came through Montgomery and adjoining Frederick counties at least three times, en route to Antietam, Gettysburg and Washington. Robert E. Lee’s army expected to find recruits and help with food, clothing and information. It didn’t. Instead, Maryland residents greeted Union soldiers as liberators when they came through on the way to Antietam. Recognizing the residents of Frederick as hostile, Confederate cavalry leader Jubal Early ransomed $200,000 from them lest he burn their town, a sum equal to about $3 million today. But Frederick now boasts a Confederate memorial, and the manager of the town’s cemetery — filled with Union and Confederate dead — told me, “Very little is done on the Union side” around Memorial Day. “It’s mostly Confederate.”

Neo-Confederates didn’t just win the battle of public monuments. They managed to rename the war, calling it the War Between the States, a locution born after the conflict that was among the primary ways to refer to the war in the middle of the 20th century, after which it began to fade. Even “Jeopardy!” has used this language.

Perhaps most perniciously, neo-Confederates now claim that the South seceded over states’ rights. Yet when each state left the Union, its leaders made clear that they were seceding because they were for slavery and against states’ rights. In its “Declaration of the Causes Which Impel the State of Texas to Secede From the Federal Union,” for example, the secession convention of Texas listed the states that had offended the delegates: “Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.” Governments there had exercised states’ rights by passing laws that interfered with the federal government’s attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Some no longer let slave owners “transit” across their territory with slaves. “States’ rights” were what Texas was seceding against. Texas also made clear what it was seceding for — white supremacy:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

Despite such statements, neo-Confederates erected monuments that flatly lied about the Confederate cause. For example, South Carolina’s monument at Gettysburg, dedicated in 1963, claims to explain why the state seceded: “Abiding faith in the sacredness of states rights provided their creed here.” This tells us nothing about 1863, when abiding opposition to states’ rights provided the Palmetto State’s creed. In 1963, however, its leaders did support states’ rights; politicians tried desperately that decade to keep the federal government from enforcing school desegregation and civil rights.

So thoroughly did this mythology take hold that our textbooks still stand history on its head and say secession was for, rather than against, states’ rights. Publishers mystify secession because they don’t want to offend Southern school districts and thereby lose sales. Consider this passage from “The American Journey,” probably the largest textbook ever foisted on middle school students and perhaps the best-selling U.S. history textbook:

The South Secedes

Lincoln and the Republicans had promised not to disturb slavery where it already existed. Nevertheless, many people in the South mistrusted the party, fearing that the Republican government would not protect Southern rights and liberties. On December 20, 1860, the South’s long-standing threat to leave the Union became a reality when South Carolina held a special convention and voted to secede.

The section reads as if slavery was not the reason for secession. Instead, the rationale is completely vague: White Southerners feared for their “rights and liberties.” On the next page, the authors are more precise: White Southerners claimed that since “the national government” had been derelict ” — by refusing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and by denying the Southern states equal rights in the territories — the states were justified in leaving the Union.”

“Journey” offers no evidence to support this claim. It cannot. No Southern state made any such charge against the federal government in any secession document I have ever seen. Abraham Lincoln’s predecessors, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, were part of the pro-Southern wing of the Democratic Party. For 10 years, the federal government had vigorously enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. Buchanan supported pro-slavery forces in Kansas even after his own minion, territorial governor and former Mississippi slave owner Robert Walker, ruled that they had won an election only by fraud. The seven states that seceded before Lincoln took office had no quarrel with “the national government.”

Teaching or implying that the Confederate states seceded for states’ rights is not accurate history. It is white, Confederate-apologist history. “Journey,” like other U.S. textbooks, needs to be de-Confederatized. So does the history test we give to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens. Item No. 74 asks them to “name one problem that led to the Civil War.” It then gives three acceptable answers: slavery, economic reasons and states’ rights. (No other question on this 100-item test has more than one right answer.) If by “economic reasons” it means issues with tariffs and taxes, which most people infer, then two of its three “correct answers” are wrong.

The legacy of this thinking pervades Washington, too. The dean of the Washington National Cathedral has noted that some of its stained-glass windows memorialize Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. There’s a statue of Albert Pike, Confederate general and reputed leader of the Arkansas Ku Klux Klan, in Judiciary Square.

The Army runs Fort A.P. Hill, named for a Confederate general whose men killed African American soldiers after they surrendered; Fort Bragg, named for a general who was not only Confederate but also incompetent; and Fort Benning, named for a general who, after he helped get his home state of Georgia to secede, made the following argument to the Virginia legislature:

What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction . . . that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. . . . If things are allowed to go on as they are, it is certain that slavery is to be abolished. . . . By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. . . . The consequence will be that our men will be all exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile Earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy.

With our monuments lying about secession, our textbooks obfuscating what the Confederacy was about and our Army honoring Southern generals, no wonder so many Americans supported the Confederacy until recently. We can see the impact of Confederate symbols and thinking on Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine in a Charleston, S.C., church, but other examples abound. In his mugshot, Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, wore a neo-Confederate T-shirt showing Abraham Lincoln and the words “Sic semper tyrannis.” When white students in Appleton, Wis. — a recovering “sundown town” that for decades had been all white on purpose — had issues with Mexican American students in 1999, they responded by wearing and waving Confederate flags, which they already had at home, at the ready.

Across the country, removing slavery from its central role in prompting the Civil War marginalizes African Americans and makes us all stupid. De-Confederatizing the United States won’t end white supremacy, but it will be a momentous step in that direction.

Also, I urge you to take a look at these awful monuments at

Yup, America Still Has a Ton of Racist Monuments (December 13, 2015)

So, General Benning was the founder of the “White Genocide” movement? Yet another good reason to hate him.

Let me remind everyone that any monument honoring Confederate soldiers is honoring traitors



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