Will Obama Not Send a Wreath to the Confederate Memorial this Memorial Day?

News & Politics

American history scholars are asking President Obama to end the practice of sending a wreath to the confederate memorial this Memorial Day. (It used to be sent on or around Jefferson Davis' birthday, but Daddy Bush changed the practice to Memorial Day, presumably so that the confederate soldiers would be honored alongside other soldiers who had fought for America . Except, you know, they fought against America, but whatever.)

I was going to write about this before, because the whole confederate wreath thing had been a bit of a flap back when Bush was first in office and we all got tweaked for jumping on an erroneous Time report that said Bush had reinstated the practice after his father had discontinued it. But then I thought about it and realized there there was almost zero chance that Obama would discontinue this practice. In fact, it will be a total shock if he does it, even though it would probably be very meaningful to a lot of his African American supporters.

Aside from his promise to mediate rather than confront culture war issues, it is also the kind of thing that will probably only end with a "Nixon Goes To China" moment. I would guess that if the Southern Republicans ever wise up and realize that they need to represent more than the confederate states and their conservative myths and folkways if they want to be a national party again, they will have one of their own heal this wound. Maybe Haley Barbour could do it if his rumored presidential bid takes off.

Not that I think there's anything wrong with asking. It's nuts for the president to honor confederate war dead on Memorial Day, and the confederate memorial itself is a monument to Lost Cause Mythology, which is simply not a healthy thing for anyone. At some point, that must be reckoned with. But Obama is not going to be the guy to do it.

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