The Mean-Spirited Left

The mean-spiritedness of the American Left is a stark feature of our public life. In recent weeks, it has been a daily staple of newspaper headlines. But the Left’s mean-spiritedness manifests itself every day, in ways large and small. At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher offers a sad example from (where else?) Madison, Wisconsin:

In Madison, Wisconsin, the city council has voted overwhelmingly to remove a cemetery marker noting the names of about 140 Confederates, most of whom died in a prisoner of war camp in the town.

Liberals began by protesting statues in the South that honor Confederate soldiers. But of course it didn’t end there. This isn’t a monument celebrating the Confederate cause, it is a grave marker in a Northern cemetery. Where 140 Confederate soldiers are, I take it, buried.

These are Americans who died as prisoners of war. “They die off like rotten sheep,” said a Union soldier who worked at the camp, where conditions were bad. The “monument” is a tombstone large enough to feature the names of each of the dead. This is not a statue of a Confederate war hero. It is simply a grave marker noting the names of POWs who died far from home.

What is the point? Do today’s residents of Madison need to assure the rest of us that Wisconsin was on the side of the Union in the Civil War? I would have thought the Iron Brigade made that clear. It seems to be an expression of pure viciousness.

There is no longer equality before God of the fallen, not in Madison, Wisconsin. The city council spits on these dead men, who passed away not in combat, but in Union custody.

In Grace Church cemetery in my Louisiana hometown, you can visit the grave of Lt. Commander John Hart, US Navy, who captained a Union gunboat that was shelling the town and that very church in 1863. Cmdr Hart committed suicide on the boat during the battle. He was a Freemason, as many of the Confederates were. Hart’s men asked for a truce, and for the right to bury their commander in the Grace Church cemetery with full Masonic honors. The Confederate Masons agreed. So the war stopped while all the combatants gathered around the grave to commit Cmdr Hart to the earth.

Children in my hometown are often taken to Hart’s grave and told the story. His grave is treated with great respect locally, and always has been. That’s what decent people do for the dead. There is a brotherhood that defies mortal conflicts.

Not anymore, there isn’t. Today we have the Left.

The leaders of Madison, Wisconsin, are manifestly not decent people. God preserve us Southerners from behaving so shamefully. I suppose it won’t be long before they disinter the Confederate bodies and put them on a barge down the Mississippi.

It’s hard to imagine what kind of despicable people destroy a tombstone — a tombstone! — for political reasons. This is a sign of the times — and of a time to come.

Indeed. One can hardly write a post on the mean-spiritedness of today’s liberals without mentioning the fallout from the Democrats’ failed effort to bully Brett Kavanaugh out of a seat on the Supreme Court. Here the choice is almost limitless, but let’s go with this one: a writer for the Stephen Colbert show seeks solace in having ruined Judge Kavanaugh’s life:

Today’s liberals have no decency. None whatsoever. Perhaps the most depressing fact is that, to my knowledge, not a single prominent Democrat has repudiated his party’s descent into madness.

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