2017 in Quotes: Race, Slavery and the Civil War

by Dan Quinn

As we continue our review of 2017, let’s look at how the right continued its efforts to revise history and use race to divide the country. By the way, 2018 will see a new battle at the State Board of Education over what Texas public school students should learn about slavery and the Civil War Stay tuned.

“Well, I do think there’s blame — yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at — you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. … But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. … You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

– President Trump, suggesting that some of the white supremacists who rallied in Chartlottesville were “very fine people.”

“I’m not terribly excited about voting in general. I think that mass democracy is a bit of a joke to be honest.”

– Richard Spencer, who helped organize the rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, responding to a reporter’s question about whether he would like to return to a time in which women weren’t allowed to vote

“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

– President Trump, seemingly unaware that Andrew Jackson died before the Civil War and absurdly suggesting that the war happened simply because reasonable people couldn’t work out their differences over slavery

“The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

– White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, also apparently confused about the history of the Civil War

“I‘m very concerned about the militant, anarchist movement sweeping our country, destroying and attempting to sanitize our nation’s history. The monuments honoring our southern soldiers are but a first step in a trend that very well could eventually bring down the American flag at some point if this trend is allowed to continue.”

– Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, bizarrely suggesting that opposition to the glorification of Confederate “heroes” and promoting the true history of the Civil War is somehow anti-American

“Just don’t look at it.”

– Eva Long, president of the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, on how she would respond to calls for the removal of a plaque at the Texas Capitol that inaccurately claims that the Civil War “was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”

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