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On Sunday, I wrote about the current penchant for counterfeiting Winston Churchill, including effort to pass off Donald Rumsfeld as a Churchill-look-alike. Earlier I documented the GOP tendency to utter fraudulent quotations from Abraham Lincoln at the drop of a hat. The debasement of two great icons of the English-speaking world is one of the Orwellian traits of the Bush-era Republican Party, and evidence of the essential fraudulence of its historical message.
But let us today salute Representative Ted Poe, a Republican from Beaumont, Texas, who trod to the well of the House today to deliver remarks including a quotation of a man who truly does stand in the image of the DeLay-Rove-Bush Republican Party: Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Making his fortune in the slave trade, Forrest became a zealous advocate of state’s rights in the face of the abolition movement. He emerged as a particularly ruthless commander in the Civil War, and his was associated with regular threats to put captives “to the sword” if they did not surrender. Indeed, his ruthlessness was particularly focused upon black soldiers fighting for the north–at the Battle of Fort Pillow, for instance, only 90 of the 252 blacks manning the garrison survived. Following the war, Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, leading the organization on its rapid political and social rise as its vigilantism swept the American South. He later denied a leadership role, saying he was merely “associated” with the KKK.
Truly, Nathan Bedford Forrest is a man who represents the very essence of today’s Republican Party. They can have him.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”