People Are Officially Done With John Kelly After His 'Absurd' Civil War Comments.
This is fascinating. "The White House chief of staff blamed the war on a 'lack of compromise'?" A lack of compromise? The Civil War!
Eric Haywood responded to this in Twitter. He said:
"Black People: hey hi we are not your property
Southerners: yes the f**k you are
John Kelly: damn shame they couldn't meet in the middle"
"Dear John Kelly: The United States of America exists because President Lincoln did not compromise."
Bernice King, the daughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King:
"It's irresponsible & dangerous, especially when white supremacists feel emboldened, to make fighting to maintain slavery sound courageous."
Let's just be clear about what happened, about what's going on. This is from the South Carolina articles of secession which are widely quoted. They are the most explicitly racist and the most clear. It comes right out and says this is all about slavery:
"Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union...
And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.... Those [non-slaveholding] States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions;"
In other words slavery.
"and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution;"
That would mean the right of white people to say that black people are their property.
"They have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States."
To free slaves.
"They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection...
A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free."
Right. So make it all slaves or we're out of here. That was what Robert E Lee said. That was what these guys were defending. This is what these guys stood for.
And John Kelly comes out and says, 'oh no, it was just civil war was because we couldn't compromise,' right. Abe Lincoln didn't want to compromise.
Now you can argue, and I think probably effectively, that Lincoln should have simply said to the south, 'okay, see you guys later'.
There's a fair amount of documentary evidence that Lincoln did not expect that the Civil War was going to last for years, that he thought it was going to be a matter of a few weeks and we'll take down these rebels and that'll be the end of that.
It just didn't work out that way.
But without relitigating the Civil War, I think that we can look back and say there were more slaves living in Mississippi and Alabama than there were white people at the time of the Civil War.
This was the principle wealth of the United States north and south, and the products the slaves produced like the city of Washington DC and perhaps frankly most other southern cities were built with slave labor. It's ahistoric. Ta-Nehisi Coates put it together in a brilliant tweetstorm. He says...
"Notion that Civil War resulted from a lack of compromise is belied by all the compromises made on enslavement from America's founding."
And he points to the three-fifths compromise, right there in the Constitution, when you're figuring out how many representatives in the House of Representatives a state should have, it's a function of population.
And people in the South said, 'hey we should have more representatives in Congress because we've got all these people.' And people in the North said, 'yeah, but you don't let those people vote, they are slaves.' And the people in the South said, 'yeah, but they're people.' And the people in the North said, 'then free them.' And the people in South said, 'no, but please count them.' And that's where they were at when they said, 'okay, we'll count three-fifths of them to determine how many members of the House of Representatives you get and we'll write it into the constitution.'
That was a compromise, John Kelly.
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote...
"I mean, like, it's called The three fifths compromise for a reason. But it doesn't stand alone. Missouri Compromise. Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Lincoln's own platform was a compromise. Lincoln was not an abolitionist. He proposed to limit slavery's expansion, not end it."
That was before the war. Ta-Nehisi Coates goes through this whole long list.
It shouldn't be necessary for us to acknowledge that the Civil War was fought to defend the institution of slavery, period, full stop. And it's an indefensible institution.
Which raises the question, did John Kelly do this in order to change the subject away from the possible impeachment of Donald Trump or the prosecution of people in the Trump administration for high crimes and misdemeanors, or did John Kelly say this because he's an idiot?
Somehow I doubt that a four star general is an idiot.
Now, maybe I'm wrong on this. Maybe I'm naïve. I haven't spent years in the military. But why did John Kelly say this?
Is this the latest Trump administration effort to deflect our conversation? Is that really what it's all about?
Is John Kelly willing to destroy his own personal reputation and the way that he is treated by history just to help Donald Trump?
It may be. I honestly don't know the answer to that question. It's increasingly looking like that.
And then the question becomes: Paul Manafort and his business partner and some of his associates, are they willing to go to prison for Donald Trump?
And so far it looks like yes, but I think that this whole thing here, taking down Manafort and everything else, this is Mueller's way of saying, 'okay, buddy, this is what we've got on you, and to anybody else who's part of this, this is what we can do to you.'