Tennessee governor declares day honoring Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation declaring July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Forrest was a Confederate general, slave trader and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

According to the Tennessee code, the governor must declare January 19 as “Robert E. Lee Day”; February 12 as “Abraham Lincoln Day”; March 15 as “Andrew Jackson Day”; June 3 as “Memorial or Confederate Decoration Day”; July 13 as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; and November 11, as “Veterans’ Day.”

“I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law,” Lee said Thursday.

According to The Tennessean, Lee declined to say if he thought the state law should be changed — something Tennessee Democrats have been hoping would happen. Previous efforts by Democrats have failed.

“This a reminder of the painful and hurtful crimes that were committed against black people,” Rep. Vincent Dixie of Nashville told WTVF.

Dixie said he was previously unaware July 13 was Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee and criticized Lee’s decision to sign the proclamation.

“Now you’re signing a proclamation honoring the same people that fought to keep people that look like me, African Americans in slavery,” Dixie said.

There is a bust of Forrest in the state capitol and there is a highly-visible statue of him on Interstate 65. There have been calls to remove the bust. The statue, which is on private property, is frequently defaced.

Talking to a Man Named Mr. Cotton About Slavery and Confederate Monuments

“Looking back 150, 200 years ago, it was a way of life,” he says. “It may not have been right, but it was the way of life at the time.”

.. Our trip took us through Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.

We found that the legacy of the Confederacy has become so embedded in daily life that it will take more than the removal of a statue here, or a plaque there, to address it. That it has become too easy to look past the atrocities that occurred on the serene plantations where you take prom pictures, or walks with your family amid stone sculptures and bright flowers.

.. In some cases, the structures are simply too massive to remove — take the 351-foot obelisk honoring Jefferson Davis in his birthplace of Fairview, Ky. In others, as in Alabama, a law has been established to prohibit the removal of Confederate monuments.

But in many instances, Confederate memorials are not physical. They are better understood as emotional, spiritual and familial connections.

..  Like many pro-Confederates in the South, Mr. Cotton plays down the role of slavery in the Civil War. He believes it had more to do with the North trying to control, and eventually invade, the South than anything else.

.. For Mr. Cotton and other Davis supporters, much of that legend was built on what Davis did before he became the president of the Confederacy. They see him as a heroic West Point graduate who served in the Mexican-American War, and as a United States senator representing Mississippi.

What they don’t highlight are his beliefs about slavery. Davis thought that the institution should be expanded and that black people were an inferior race. These white supremacist beliefs continued to shape American society long after the Civil War was over and efforts to integrate freed slaves gave way to an era of racially motivated killings.

.. “It’s a reminder of hatred and all the wrongdoings that’s been done against African-Americans,” Ms. Jones says of Confederate symbols. “I do believe they have a right to their history, but not at the sake of ours. If you’re going to write part of the story, write the whole story. Tell what you did.”

.. But ignoring the misdeeds of Confederate leaders — seeing Jefferson Davis the statesman without seeing Jefferson Davis the slave owner — is not a luxury available to black people.

 

 

Republicans embrace the ‘cult’ of Trump, ignoring warning signs

voters in South Carolina cast out Rep. Mark Sanford, a firmly conservative member of Congress who had survived earlier scandal, in favor of a state legislator who had condemned Sanford for publicly criticizing the president. In Virginia, Republicans nominated for senator a Trump-like candidate with a history of embracing, as the president has, Confederate symbols and white nationalists.

.. Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.

The week was marked by continued deference to Trump on the part of congressional leaders who have swallowed the president’s upending of long-standing party views on several major issues. Legislative efforts by some in the party to wrest trade authority back from Trump and rewrite the nation’s immigration laws in ways he has opposed both fell in defeat.

Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.

As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man

.. Republican voters, who have swiftly adopted the president’s issue positions and looked the other way at a progression of missteps and conflicts that would have doomed prior presidents.

.. Despite misgivings about Trump’s behavior, Republican voters have rewarded him with support unmatched by a Republican president since George W. Bush’s tenure in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And they have rained down punishment on those who disagree with Trump.

.. Anthony Scaramucci. “He doesn’t speak with an elitist vocabulary and the savoir faire that Washingtonians are used to,”

.. I don’t think we, or any president, demanded personal loyalty to the degree Trump has,” said David Axelrod, an Obama adviser during his first campaign and term. “We made appeals around shared goals, ideals and agendas.

.. Trump has one of Obama’s most vexing problems, the inability to transfer power down the ballot.

.. In Michigan, two Republican candidates have spent weeks squabbling over how one of them abandoned Trump after the pre-election release of a recording of Trump bragging about sexual assault.

.. Tim Pawlenty is seeking a comeback by running against benefits for undocumented immigrants and recanting the criticism he made of Trump after the tape’s release.

.. In Nevada, brothel owner Dennis Hof, the star of a TV show about prostitution and the author of “The Art of the Pimp,” blew past a Republican incumbent to win the nomination for a seat in the state legislature. In an interview, Hof said that Trump “blazed the trail” for him.

“He gave me the confidence that I could do this — I could be a reality TV star, an author and a brothel owner and then be elected to serve,” said Hof.