Friday, February 25, 2011

Open Letter to Gov. Haley Barbour, RE: Nathan Bedford Forrest

Gov. Barbour,
I was at first encouraged by your deflection of the controversy surrounding the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their wish to commemorate one of the great cavalry officers from the War Between the States and indeed from American history, Nathan Bedford Forrest with a special Mississippi license plate.  Now it appears you are waffling in your convictions, one can only assume for political expediency and are indicating you would veto any bill suggesting a plate honoring Forrest -  How can one so rapidly change course on one's stance regarding an historic figure who has been a part of Mississippi lore for 150 years?   Did you per chance miss History class in your formative youth?

This is an incredibly important year as the Sesquicentennial remembrance, commemoration and celebration of the founding of the Confederate States or America and the start of the War Between the States and to turn your back on this home town legend shows nothing but spineless pandering and political posturing.   Forrest's tactics and military successes continue to be studied by military academians today.  Forrest was an industrialist after the War and helped rebuild his homeland as a railroad businessman. And while he owned slaves prior to the war, he did so as part of a legal institution just as Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses Grant and many others had. I suppose you would have us dispose of all nickels and fifty dollar bills as insensitive currency? 

Perhaps you may find this video enlightening and educational in your understanding of his handling of the slavery issue -  You will find that the very slaves he brought into battle stayed with him throughout the War and many even returned home with him afterwards even after he had freed everyone of them for their dedicated service and duty.  Forrest has been misrepresented as a racist Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard as the summation of his career and life's work but while Forrest had some involvement in the establishment of the KKK as an organized response and resistance to the carpetbaggers and crimes against Southerners in the post-war South, he opposed violent extremism in certain groups of the KKK and called for the disbandment of the organization when it had achieved it's political purpose in the reconstruction of the South.  

You have a microphone and a soapbox from which you can demonstrate leadership and educate the ignorant masses who have been led to believe what the NAACP has spoon fed them as they similarly have an objection to anything and everything regarding Southern Confederate heritage.  As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans I resent your cowardice and your lack of leadership in the face of these hollow objections and question your ability to objectively serve your constituency many of whom similarly had forefathers who fought and died for their homeland in the War Between the States, a tragic war fought for the very States Rights which are so prevalent today in issues regarding the overreaching Federal government.  If your support for the SCV and the commemoration of the honor of our Confederate ancestors during this historical Sesquicentennial period is so tentative, guarded and seemingly non-existent, I am certain my support for any future candidacy of yours will be equally so. 

Stuart Forrest

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