In his editorial, Webb stated:
"Virginia is fortunate to have such an abundant supply of pristine lands steeped in history. Extending the Civil War Battlefields Preservation program will enable children to experience the same untouched landscapes of their ancestors and visit the places where so many sacrifices were made, by soldiers and civilians, alike."
See the rest of Webb's comments here.
I'm grateful that Senator Webb recognizes this emotional connection Virginians have to their ancestors and the land. (Too bad others don't.) Webb is one of the few in national office who understands the issues surrounding WBTS heritage commemoration:
"Even the venerable Robert E. Lee has taken some vicious hits, as dishonest or misinformed advocates among political interest groups and in academia attempt to twist yesterday’s America into a fantasy that might better serve the political issues of today. The greatest disservice on this count has been the attempt by these revisionist politicians and academics to defame the entire Confederate Army in a move that can only be termed the Nazification of the Confederacy. Often cloaked in the argument over the public display of the Confederate battle flag, the *syllogism goes something like this: Slavery is evil. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought for a system that wished to preserve it. Therefore they were evil as well, and any attempt to honor their service is a veiled effort to glorify the cause of slavery.” ~ From Born Fighting by Virginia Democrat Senator James Webb (Page 208, emphasis mine).
*"Syllogisms are particularly interesting in persuasion as they include assumptions that many people accept which allow false statements or (often unspoken) conclusions to appear to be true. There is a difference between truth and validity in syllogisms. A syllogism can be true, but not valid (i.e. make logical sense). It can also be valid but not true." (From Changingminds.org)
Consider the following excerpts (all emphasis mine) about his ancestors, (and mine) the Scots-Irish, taken from Born Fighting:
“The contributions of this culture are too great to be forgotten as America rushes forward into yet another redefinition of itself. And in a society obsessed with multicultural jealousies, those who cannot articulate their ethnic origins are doomed to a form of social and political isolation. My culture needs to rediscover itself, and in so doing to regain its power to shape the direction of America.” (Page 8)
“. . . a feeling that the culture so dramatically symbolized by the Southern redneck was the greatest inhibitor of the plans of the activist Left and the cultural Marxists for a new kind of society altogether.” (Page 295.)
“And thus the Scots-Irish had nothing in common with either the English aristocracy or the New England WASP settlements.” (Page 15 – which may explain, at least in part, why Webb dislikes President Bush. Bush, despite his phony Texas swagger, is a New Englander to the core.)
“There is another reason that the Scots-Irish story has been lost to common identification. In the age of political correctness and ultraethnic sensitivities, it has become delicate, to say the least, to celebrate many of this culture’s hard-won accomplishments when teaching American history in today’s public schools.” (Page 17.)
And here is Webb’s interesting take on the Scots-Irish and the slavery issue: “Their legacy is stained because they became the dominant culture in the South, whose economic system was based on slavery. No matter that the . . . typical Scots-Irish yeoman had no slaves and actually suffered economic detriment from the practice.” (Page 17-18.)
More on the Scots-Irish: “And they are the very heartbeat of fundamentalist Christianity . . .” (Page 18.)
“America’s elites have had very little contact with this culture.” (Page 18.)
“. . . they ignore them at their peril.” (Page 19.)
“The Scottish people did not care much for the larger crowd and they especially did not care much for elites.” (Page 42.)
“Insult a Yankee and he’ll sue you. Insult a mountain boy [Scots-Irish] and he’ll kill you.” (Page 68. That’s my personal favorite.)
“Their answer, then as now, was to tell the Eastern Establishment to go to hell.” (Page 129. Actually, this one is my personal favorite.)
“The Scots-Irish were the cultural antithesis of those who had founded New England.” (Page 134.)
Webb also points out that one Anglican minister, Charles Woodmason, characterized the Scots-Irish as, “Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the Scum of the Earth, and Refuse of Mankind.” And then Webb adds: “Such invective is not unheard of in modern days. If a sensitive ear would substitute ‘redneck’ for ‘Irish Presbyterians’, he might have a pretty accurate picture of how many modern-day New Englanders and European elites [and some CW bloggers and historians] still characterize rural Southerners.”
Now, some of Webb’s comments regarding the Confederacy:
“But what most historians miss—and what those who react so strongly to seeing Confederate battle flags on car bumpers and in the yards of descendants of Confederate veterans do not understand—is that slavery was emphatically not the reason that most individual Southerners fought so long and hard, and at such overwhelming cost.” (Page 211.)
“. . . to tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as simple acts of racism, and reduce the battle flag under which he fought to nothing more than the symbol of a racist heritage, is one of the great blasphemies of our modern age.” (Page 225.)
“. . . we are also the caretakers of the memory, and the reputation, of those who performed their duty—as they understood it—under circumstances too difficult for us ever to fully comprehend. No one but a fool—or a bigot in their own right—would call on the descendants of those Confederate veterans to forget the sacrifices of those who went before them or argue that they should not be remembered with honor.” (Page 231.)
There's much, much more in Webb's excellent book. Buy it.