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Political correctness at Little Round Top ^ | 1/06/03 | Pat Buchanan

Posted on 01/05/2003 10:03:12 PM PST by kattracks

Almost all who visit Gettysburg, best preserved of all the Civil War battlefields, find it a deeply moving experience. This is truly hallowed ground. Here, tens of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers fought the decisive battle of America's bloodiest war.

From the first clash of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia, to Lee's attempt turn the Union flank at Little Round Top on the second day, to Pickett's Charge against the Union center on Seminary Ridge on the third, to Lee's bleeding retreat back over the Potomac as a frustrated Abraham Lincoln wondered why his newest commander, George Meade, had not finished Lee's army with its back to the swollen river -- it is an incredible story, told wonderfully well by the guides at Gettysburg Battlefield.

Now the story of the heroes in Blue and Grey is to be replaced with propaganda. The 1.8 million annual visitors to Gettysburg are to be indoctrinated in the politically correct history of the war.

"Gettysburg to Tell Story of Slavery During War," was the headline The Washington Times put on its story about how the National Park Service "has embarked on an effort to change its interpretive materials at major Civil War battlefields to get rid of a Southern bias and emphasize the horrors of slavery." A $95 million visitors center and museum is going up to recast the battle in a new light.

"For the past 100 years," says Gettysburg Park Superintendent John Latschar, "we've been presenting this battlefield as the high watermark of the Confederacy and focusing on the personal valor of the soldiers who fought here. ... We want to get away from the traditional descriptions of who shot whom, where and into discussions of why they were shooting one another."

Why the change? Unhappy that so many visitors to Gettysburg are white males, and so few are African-Americans, Latschar called in three historians to study how the Park Service was presenting the battle. The three wise men decided that the interpretive programs at Gettysburg had a "pervasive Southern sympathy." (How one can hear of 15,000 men and boys walking across a mile of open field into cannon and musket fire, in the name of God, country and Gen. Lee, without being put in awe and admiration, escapes me.)

Latschar then visited the Holocaust Museum and was inspired: "Our current museum (at Gettysburg) is absolutely abysmal. It tells no story. It's a curator's museum with no rhyme or reason."

But one visits the Holocaust Museum to learn about the fate of the Jews under Hitler. One does not go there to learn about Dunkirk or D-Day. And Americans who cherish the battlefields of the Civil War -- Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas -- do not go there to be instructed on the evils of the Confederacy. Moreover, to convert every battlefield into an endless seminar on the evils of slavery and the South is a fine way to turn these sites of national unity into cauldrons of national division.

President Bush should stop the politicization of Gettysburg. To let it happen would be an abuse of office. It would be to permit ground made sacred by the blood of soldiers to be exploited by ideologues to reopen old wounds. The old battlefields will become new battlegrounds of the culture war. Does America really need that?

There are places to argue the great issues of 1861. Did the South have a right to secede? Was the cause of the war slavery, or secession, or Lincoln's refusal to let the South go in peace? Or was it tariffs, or a desire of the South to separate from a North with which it has less and less in common? Did Lincoln fight the Civil War to free the slaves? Or only to restore the Union?

The forums in which to debate these questions are books, editorials, classrooms, columns, seminars, TV shows. But for the Park Service to impose its orthodoxy on these questions and pervert battlefields to indoctrinate visitors in the party line is to dishonor these hallowed grounds.

That slavery is wrong no one today disbelieves. But when the South fired on Fort Sumter, there were eight slave states in the Union, only seven in the Confederacy. It was Lincoln's call to arms to invade the South that pushed North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas out of the Union.

In waging cultural war to abolish the West, Gramsci and his Marxist comrades dictated that all social institutions should be captured to advance the revolution -- from children's classrooms to college seminars. Now, Civil War battlefields are to become indoctrination centers of Political Correctness, unless we stop it.

©2002 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Pat Buchanan | Read his biography

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: americanhistory; confederacy; dixie; dixielist; gettysburg; indoctrination; marxism; parkservice; pc; propaganda; secession; slavery; union
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1 posted on 01/05/2003 10:03:12 PM PST by kattracks
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To: kattracks
No Republican will touch this issue, for fear of being skewered as "racist" by the Liberals.

The same indoctrination of the socialist/liberals that they are conducting in our schools is being spread to our National Monuments and Parks.

This is not "political correctness", this is the spread of Liberal Socialism.

2 posted on 01/05/2003 10:11:21 PM PST by traditional1
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To: kattracks
I recall the earlier article a week or two back. In it, this yutz Latschar said something to the effect that he wanted to make the lessons of Gettysburg about the universal desire for freedom and meaningful to all the world's people.

This was an American battle in an American war. The dead are Americans and the causes they fought for were all about what America should be about. If someone from another nation comes to visit, fine. If dumb SOB's like this guy want to sweep that tragic American majesty into a dust bin to accomodate people that have no clue...

3 posted on 01/05/2003 10:19:24 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: kattracks
I always knew Pat was full of crap..."Lincoln's call to arms"....gee...might have had just a LITTLE to do with the south's confiscation of all federal property in the seceeding states and firing cannons on another.

What a crock...when you read your history, something Grand Wizard Pat seems to have forgotten to do, time and time again the compromises have to do with how to deal with the issue of slavery in new states. Boy, this idiot makes Vacant Lott look like a genius.
4 posted on 01/05/2003 10:21:30 PM PST by Keith
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To: kattracks
Actually, including slavery in National Park interpretations is required by law. It was inserted into a bill during the 90s by Jesse Jackson's son. Now all parks have to have some blurb about slavery.
5 posted on 01/05/2003 10:25:16 PM PST by flying Elvis
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To: kattracks
I think it was Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., who got Congress to go along with this. I am not convinced that having the battlefield visitor centers focus attention primarily on slavery and how evil the Confederates were will boost the number of black visitors at all.

There is a cheaper way to get the required ratio of black visitors: keep a daily tally of how many black visitors come to each park, and the next day allow a maximum of 9 times that number of whites to visit the park in question. (Japanese and other foreign tourists would not count in the reckoning.)

6 posted on 01/05/2003 10:25:42 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: kattracks
Hey, if they decide to do this just make sure they give full disclosure of the party affiliation of those involved. And explain to visitors how Democrats were ``pro-choice'' on slavery and Republicans were abolitionists.
7 posted on 01/05/2003 10:34:05 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: stainlessbanner
8 posted on 01/05/2003 10:41:48 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: kattracks
Gettysburg was one place I always wanted to go and never yet got there. I guess I'll never go; if there is one thing I can't abide, it is being lectured by liberals about their messed up interpretations of history.

Revisionist history is one of the great evils the liberals have done to this country, yet for every action there is a reaction - I am a homeschooler, and I can tell you that one of the main reasons for homeschooling is the biased history in the public school textbooks.

The day I read my son's geography textbook was the day I first started making serious plans to remove him from the public schools system. Eight years and several children later, I consider it one of the best decisions I ever made. And my boys are staunch conservatives.

9 posted on 01/05/2003 10:48:49 PM PST by I still care
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To: All
Ignore the fact that Pat is writing this piece for Townhall.

The Washington Times article Pat refers to was about historical revisionism. The earlier piece made it sound quite clear that the essential American aspects of the interpretation centers was going to be given the heave-ho in favor of a vanilla PC confection for consumption by all people. The lessons to be emphasized were about universal issues that are relevant to all the world's citizens.

Pat's ignorance and historical sins aside, if true, this is an erasure of our American identity.
10 posted on 01/05/2003 10:52:26 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: kattracks
If I remember my childhood visit there correctly, Gettysburg has long had an exhibit case or illustration on slavery, but most visitors didn't pay much attention to it. That's not why they came to Gettysburg.

Surely those who are interested in military history are a constituency that shouldn't be ignored or slighted or insulted. There is a thin line between what would be considered appropriate and what would be considered appropriate. I wouldn't want to go to Kitty Hawk or Menlo Park and find that race, sex, class and ethnicity were made the main point of the exhibits, rather than the inventive capacities of human beings.

And it certainly is a great folly to expect all visitors to all parks to reflect the same proportions of the population. Surely some of the African-American themed monuments and memorials don't attract as many European-American visitors. It's natural that Gettysburg, a battle almost entirely fought by White men, would be of greater interest to White men than to other parts of the population.

Proponents of an increased emphasis on slavery probably target Gettysburg because it has more visitors. Changing the exhibits and tours at, say, a restored plantation would be more appropriate and more instructive. Indeed, it would be necessary to bring slavery very much into the forefront there, but fewer people go to such sites, so the impact would be less.

But I can't entirely view this as some Gramscian attempt to politicize the parks. If we want to talk about political propaganda or a "Gramscian march through the institutions," one could argue that post-Reconstruction developments in America reflected such an effort to forget, conceal or rewrite what had been regarded as unpleasant or divisive. "Big Brother" existed and was in charge in at times in the past as well as in the present or future.

Even today, confederatist myths are aggressively pushed by some people in an effort to rewrite history. Buchanan himself is likely to lose subscribers for his new magazine if he makes it a forum for Rockwellite cranks and League of the South fanatics. It's not surprising that, having seen history rewritten in the late 19th century to downplay real conflicts over slavery, some in the government are taking efforts to make sure that issue stays in the forefront.

Forgetting and denying in those days did help to bring about harmony, reconciliation, and national unity, though at the price of liberty and equality for a significant part of the population. It remains to be seen whether keeping the battle alive will produce more positive or more negative effects.

11 posted on 01/05/2003 11:36:19 PM PST by x
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To: kattracks; Travis McGee; aristeides; Blueflag
Those who study the battle seldom go to the cute little displays anyway. The can stick the PC stuff all over the visitor center. I'll probably just visit the center for the coke/candy machines.

A real battle enthusiast gets a map and walks the ground. That is the way the US Military conducts it's training sessions at these sites. They want their leaders to have a feel for the distances involved, for the ground traversed, for the cognitions necessary to have placement of soldiers and terrain and operations all in mind at the same time, so as to make decisions that influence victory or defeat.

Make the pretty centers whatever....hang them with tinsel and lights and adopt a mascot, for all I care. (The Gettys Bear to go with the Smokey Bear???)

Those who study the battles will WALK the battlefield and imagine that awesome scene and those decisions made in the moment of crisis!!
12 posted on 01/06/2003 5:26:58 AM PST by xzins
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To: I still care
" I guess I'll never go; if there is one thing I can't abide, it is being lectured by liberals about their messed up interpretations of history. "

Just avoid any of the guided tours. Get some history books pertaining to the specific battles and battlefields that you want to go to. Then hit the trail yourself. So far, every year, usually around mid-September after school has started again, I go to one battlefield and spend two weeks there, just prowling around. I've been to Gettysburg three times, the last time spending my two weeks going over the Devil's Den and Round Tops end of the field.

Ignore the pricks ... there are enough commercially-produced battlefield guides and history books to lead you on a merry chase for whatever time you want to spend there.

13 posted on 01/06/2003 5:34:05 AM PST by BlueLancer
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To: kattracks
Sounds like a great opportunity for private enterprise. Nobody forces you to visit the National Park Service buildings and exhibits when you go to the Gettysburg battlefield.

Is this guy Latschar a Clinton or Bush administration appointee?

14 posted on 01/06/2003 5:36:46 AM PST by aristeides
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To: kattracks; aristeides
already posted here........

Political Correctness at Little Round Top

15 posted on 01/06/2003 5:39:50 AM PST by TLBSHOW
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To: xzins
A real battle enthusiast gets a map and walks the ground.

That's the only way to see a battlefield. Two of my great great grandfathers fought at Chickamauga, and we got very organized to take our two children on an extensive tour of the battlefield. I wrote the park historian (he is a great fellow, turns out he attended the same school in Maryland that one of my gg grandfathers graduated from -- small world!) and he provided a lot of information on the historical markers on the battlefield and an excellent topo map. We started in our ancestors' position before the battle began and basically followed their progress through the scene. Fortunately one was artillery and the other a scout, and both were in the thick of things.

And you're right, the only thing we needed the visitor center for was a Coke and a smile. We did stop to see the film, though, since we were there. It was pleasant, accurate, and not politically correct, the framework was the shades of two soldiers, blue and gray, looking back over the battlefield and trading reminiscences. Kinda neat and related to what really happened - it was the first battlefield park and quite a number of former combatants assisted in the effort. After reading a couple of the historical markers on the ground it became obvious to me that they were NOT written in the usual style - one involving the action of a gg grandfather just "read" like he had written it (he had a very distinctive writing style) so I wrote the historian and asked him if the participants had helped write the markers. He responded that yes, indeed, participants in key actions had been invited to "write their own markers" subject to approval by the committee.

Imagine what a bunch of PC revisionists would do with a bronze marker written by one of the hated Rebels . . . :-(

Chickamauga allows horses, and has not allowed the fields of that time to overgrow. So the very best way of all to see the area is a "battlefield ride" - on a horse who is steady enough to allow you to unroll a map on his/her back. I have been trying to talk my trainer into leading a field trip up there, combine a little history with some riding (if I can just figure out a way to work some JUMPS into the mix, I think I can sell her on the deal.)

16 posted on 01/06/2003 5:51:14 AM PST by AnAmericanMother
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To: AnAmericanMother
The horseback idea is a great one.

I wonder why a stable isn't available nearby. It fits the epoch.

(How about golf carts??!!)
17 posted on 01/06/2003 6:02:17 AM PST by xzins
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To: Keith
You debate like a leftie so naturally, this article will not make sense to you.
18 posted on 01/06/2003 6:14:25 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: xzins
There used to be a small stable fairly nearby but it went out of business. Have no idea if the market wouldn't support it or if it was just badly run. There are other stables within 5-10 miles, but nothing on the internet indicates that they do trail rides in the park.

The park does provide a good-sized gravel lot to park your own horse trailer, with hitching rails and running water. There aren't any turnout paddocks though (the Biltmore House for example has turnout paddocks which means you can do overnights there.) With the modern slant-loading trailers with feed storage, tack rooms &c. you really can bring everything with you that you need for a day's ride.

Golf carts wouldn't do it - too steep, especially around the last action of the battle (Snodgrass Hill area). I can just see having to struggle to lift cart and occupants out of the ditch every 20 yards or so . . . ;-0

19 posted on 01/06/2003 6:43:41 AM PST by AnAmericanMother
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To: kattracks
"Colonel Freemantle. It does not begin or end with my uncle, or myself. We are all sons of Virginia here.

That major out there, commanding the cannon. That's James Deeran. First in his class at West Point, before Virginia seceeded.

And that boy over there with the color guard. That's Private Robert Tyler Jones. His grandfather... President of the United States.

The colonel behind me. That's Colonel William Henry. Now, his great grandfather was the Virginian Patrick Henry. It was Patrick Henry who said to your King George the Third, 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death.'

There are boys here from Norfolk, Portsmouth, small hamlets along the James River. From Charlottesville and Fredricksburg, and the Shenandoah Valley. Mostly they're all veteran soldiers now. The cowards and shirkers are long gone.

Every man here knows his duty. They would make this charge even without an officer to lead them. They know the gravity of the situation, and the mettle of their foe. They know that this day's work will be desperate, and deadly. They know, that for many of them, this will be their last charge.

But not one of them needs to be told what is expected of him. They are all willing to make the supreme sacrifice. To achieve victory here. The crowning victory, and the end of this war. We are all here. You may tell them, when you return to your country, that all Virginia was here, on this day."

General Armistead, before Pickett's Charge, from the movie "Gettysburg"


To color all Confederates as racist slavers is nothing but the worst sort of slander, from slimy worms that wouldn't have the guts to do what those men did.

Better men than the race hustlers fought on both sides of that war.

20 posted on 01/06/2003 7:32:18 AM PST by an amused spectator
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