Letter: Mazzuca and America’s real birthday
Whenever I read one of Butch Mazzuca’s columns, I can’t help but think that his writing is like a Reader’s Digest view of history — short pieces that are based upon a true story but need much further scrutiny to unveil their inaccuracies and misplaced positions. In his latest Digest “tome,” Mazzuca calls Robert E. Lee a man of principle because he chose to surrender rather than to prolong the war and ignite guerrilla warfare. He excuses Lee’s slave ownership because after all, General Lee was a “man of the mid-19th century.”
Well Mr. Mazzuca, so too were Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln and the Union Army people of the same time period. By Mazzuca’s logic, the Nazis were honorable in surrendering in World War II. Further, even though they exterminated millions of people, they were but Germans of the mid-20th century. Call me old fashioned, but the immorality of slave ownership/torture or the extermination of millions of people is not situational, or relative to the timeframe in which they are perpetuated. Rather, certain principles are universal … across centuries, peoples and continents.
A further study of Robert E. Lee would show that he opposed secession, but he chose to pledge his allegiance to his home state of Virgina. He in effect chose the sanctity of state vs. nation through his actions, thereby aligning his principals with something less than the protection of the United States of America. Further, as a slave owner, Lee tortured and beat those under his “domain.” After the Civil War, Lee was still resolute in his belief that African Americans were inferior and that they should not have the right to vote.
I could go on, but I encourage readers to research Robert E. Lee and determine just which principles he believed in, and whether we should forgive his trespasses because he was both a “man of the mid-19th century and man of principle.” History cannot be looked at through the lens of a condensed and simplified column of prose.