OPINION — Robert E. Lee is low hanging fruit for the leftist mob and San Angelo has become somewhat of a sideshow in the national movement to shame many Americans for our shared history and family legacies. It all started here when the San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees gave serious consideration to an online petition created on a leftist website, change.org, that gathered tens of thousands of signatures, many from folks who don’t live here, or even know where San Angelo is located. The petition called for renaming Robert E. Lee Middle School because Lee was the General of the Confederate States Army.
It’s not popular to take a stand for dead Confederates in this toxic political environment. I certainly become unemployable for doing so, and I risk my own business interests for standing up to the tyranny of the mob.
The Civil War was a terrible wound for our nation’s history, long ago healed. This scar is an easy location for instigators of division —those who desire to tear apart the United States — to cut wide open with the precision of a sharp knife a new wound of deep division in order to destroy us. Part of this is happening in San Angelo.
This movement to change the name of Robert E. Lee Middle School isn’t really about dead Confederates. It is instead about subjugating an entire class of people, if you will, to the whims of a radical progressive ideology and agenda, a divisive and hateful agenda to tell half or more of our community that each and every one of us are dirty, unclean and nasty. For if you support Confederate school names, certainly you are a racist.
I didn’t understand this ideology hoisted upon our country until I stood guard in front of the statue of another former Confederate general, Lawrence Sullivan Ross, located in the center Academic Plaza at my alma mater, Texas A&M University at College Station.
During those protests to tear down the Ross statue, the current quarterback of the Aggie football team, Kellen Mond, declared to all that, if you are colorblind, if I don’t see Mr. Mond’s blackness, you are a racist.
So much for everything generations have learned about getting along and working together as Americans regardless of skin color. And so much for Martin Luther King’s hope, spoken on the Mall in our nation’s capitol in 1963.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” King said then. How things have changed.
Mond went on.
He then said that because I am white, I am the recipient of some sort of white privilege and the only way for me to atone for my sin of being born white was to agree completely with his political points-of-view and subjugate myself to his ideology of “anti-racism.” Then, even should I decide to subjugate myself to him and his organization’s ideology, I will remain a racist anyway but at least I am working on not being a racist.
This toxic ideology comes from a collection of recent books brought forth from our universities that allege “White Fragility” and “White Privilege.” — or basically declares everyone born white in America a racist — based on a moving scale of what leftist ideologues declare what is and is not racist.
For a white, middle-aged male, there is no defense of the epithet “racist” and there is no defense in today’s popular culture. Being called a ‘racist’ is a way to discredit and humiliate.
“Anti-Racism” is a quack ideology where adherents define and then redefine what “hate” is and what “racism” is to brand with a Scarlet Letter those who disagree with their political point of view. No debate of their crazy ideas in the public square is allowed, rather the tenants of the ideology are designed to cancel opponents or opposing viewpoints before any serious debate occurs. In short, this ideology is a stepping stone to instilling totalitarianism in our country.
What is more, this ideology of white fragility and anti-racism is anti-Christian, anti-God, and doesn’t know Jesus.
First, the ideology assumes there is collective guilt. The ideologue believes whites are guilty for actions taken by their ancestors 160 years ago. Whites are guilty for the actions all other whites have committed since, and whites are certainly guilty of the sins of other whites in our community today, especially the sins of those not wanting to rename schools.
Jesus didn’t teach collective guilt. When I die and stand before the Pearly Gates of Heaven trying to gain admission, I’m not going to have to account for your sins or anyone else’s sins, whatever generation. I and I alone am responsible for my own sins, not yours or some dead Confederate general’s.
Second, the ideology of anti-racism and white fragility offers no avenue for repentance or forgiveness. It is a continuing process, the ideologues say, sort of like what Marxism is. You can never be “perfect” enough to not be a racist. Apologies do not matter; you are scum forever, subjugated to the whims of the leaders of the anti-racism ideology and canceled as a viable voice in the public square. Leftist ideologues hope people like me die soon enough anyway so they can carry out their demonic agenda on the country I love without my interference. In short, these ideologues want me canceled and dead.
Third, because there is no repentance or forgiveness, there will never be any kind of redemption. And with no redemption, there is absolutely no incentive for anyone accused of being a racist to do a darn thing to placate the ideologues. Except, of course, like Chamberlain did for Hitler in 1939, maybe if the traditionalists in San Angelo appease the ideologues by renaming our middle school, the ideologues will not burn our city down, assault us, or destroy our country.
But as Chamberlain soon learned, there is no appeasing the Devil, and this anti-racism ideology is so anti-Christian that the only place this could have originated is from the Devil.
When the storm clouds of the Civil War were forming in early 1861, Robert E. Lee was a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army, commanding the Second U.S. Cavalry at Fort Mason near here. While at Fort Mason, Lee’s commander, General Winfield Scott, recalled him to Washington, D.C. to offer him the command of 75,000 Union troops to quell the southern states’ rebellion. Lee eventually refused, stating that he must remain loyal to his native Virginia.
While stationed in these parts, Lee rode out of Fort Chadbourne. He camped at Camp Johnson, also known as Camp Concho, on the banks of the Concho River near present-day Water Valley. Robert E. Lee is a part of this area’s history.
On the banks of the Concho River near here in Christoval not 16 years prior to the naming of Robert E. Lee Middle School, the last reunion of Civil War veterans was held. According to the plaque erected there to commemorate the last reunion, both Union and Confederate veterans attended to celebrate the comradely of arms for that long ago dreadful event in U.S. history.
At San Angelo’s Fairmount Cemetery, over 140 Confederate veterans of the Civil War are buried and their graves marked with their wartime Confederate States Army associations. The last of those veterans died in the 1940s and early 1950s, making the timeframe when Lee Middle School was named similar to the timeframe of our decade’s relationship with World War II veterans who have mostly passed away, in 2020.
San Angelo’s Robert E. Lee Middle School is an appropriate and proud name for a San Angelo school because it defines and describes our shared history. Renaming it will be a travesty because not only will in embolden those who want to divide us, but the Orwellian erasing of our shared past will accelerate. The ideologue in charge of San Angelo’s NAACP, who at a recent forum about the school’s renaming, shouted down a room full of whites, admonishing them to ’lift up their sheets’ and listen to her, has already claimed her next target: John H. Reagan Elementary School. Reagan was the first chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and a co-founder of the Texas Historical Association. His sin, however, was he was earlier in his life the postmaster general of the CSA.
San Angelo’s north-south dividing throughway, Beauregard Ave., is named for CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard; James Fannin was a slavetrader and Mirabeau Lamar was Fannin’s good friend and we have schools named after both. Before there was a town San Angelo, Confederate Major Ben Ficklin set up a mail stop south of here right after the Civil War and today there is a road named after him. This county is named after Confederate General Tom Green.
All of these landmarks are targets of the ideologues.
After these vestiges of our history is gone, what’s next? Will they demand the City dig up the Confederate graves and soak their bones in acid? Those graves, after all, are on City property.
With each renaming, we are instructed that our past is dirty, our racism is systemic, and because we are white we have an immoral claim of entitlement or privilege not afforded to Americans of color.
Nothing can be further from the truth! While our shared history incorporates times of strife and disenfranchisement, all civilizations carry the same burdens. Yet in the United States, while those who hate and divide set forth to burn our cities, let me remind you that this country was founded upon the revolutionary declaration that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, that principle was extended in Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address where we reaffirmed we are a nation “conceived in liberty,” the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery and asserted equal rights for all Americans, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 extended these rights to black citizens in the segregated South.
Name me a more perfect nation than the one we have now?
The Civil War was a shared sacrifice by all Americans, even blacks and Hispanics who were drawn into the fire. The heat of conflicts like those do not entirely define us; what also defines us are what becomes of those horrific historical events.
Yet ideologues wish to divide us over who fought who and for what in 1861, and demand that we remove public markers to our legacies and that we assign blame and cancel those who desire to remember and honor this history. I ask you, what good will come out of this? Nothing!
It will only lead to an avalanche of demands to cancel our history with a zeal not heard of except for in the pages of “1984.”
I urge my fellow San Angeloans: Don’t give them a single inch! The San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees have the final finger in the dam. If they give in, it’s over.
Decision day at the San Angelo ISD is Oct. 19, a date that is just two weeks before what will be the most contested and divisive presidential election in our county's history. Don't add to the fire!
A footnote about our shared past: Remember the Aggie quarterback’s demand that I accept my inherited racist past? A professor at Texas A&M Kingsville unearthed Aggie QB1 Kellen Mond’s family tree. The professor claimed that Mond’s great-great-great uncle was the highest ranking Hispanic officer in the Confederate States Army. A second historian writing a book about Lawrence Sullivan Ross confirmed it. Mond hasn’t commented on it that I’ve heard or seen.