[Commentary by Tacitus]
Located on the north side of Main Street near its intersection with Division Street, a sign that briefly describes the military record of General John Henry Winder (1800-1865) – West Point, for starters, followed by service in both the U.S. army and the Confederate States army – states near the bottom “Maryland Civil War Centennial Commission,” the organization that caused the marker to be created some 50+ years ago. That organization was formed by the Maryland Legislature back then to memorialize and thereby preserve local aspects of a conflict that many then and now regard as a dispute over the right of states to secede from the Union, which at the time was an unsettled matter not addressed in the U.S. Constitution. Liberals view it as a war to free the slaves, which is an erroneous notion.
That Commission, whose Honorary Chairman was then Governor J. Millard Tawes (of Somerset County), was composed of a number of persons of various backgrounds and views, including former Governor Lane and then U.S. Sen. Charles Mathias. Its Chairman, George Radcliffe, a former U.S. Senator, was from Dorchester County.
As pointed out in Gov. Tawes’ statement in the Commission’s publication, Maryland Remembers, its members sought “to pay tribute to the persons who during the Civil War tried to do their duty as they saw fit.” He also observed that the members “have wisely not attempted to decide who was right and who was wrong … nor to settle other controversial issues.” In short, they wanted to preserve in its entirety a significant chapter of our national history, not just a certain select portion thereof.
That wisdom has now disappeared with the emergence of political opportunists and firebrands who seek to destroy by eradication the part of history they find offensive. Almost daily ancient structures are being demolished by radical Islamic cadres, and that same aggressive and sanctimonious political and cultural correctness has become extent in the United States, where memorials to Confederate figures are being removed from public view and genuine free speech is no longer tolerated and often suppressed, sometimes with violence, on many if not most college campuses and elsewhere.
Wicomico County has seen the emergence of self-styled progressive liberal elites that harken to the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, fomented by so-called local leaders like Jake Day, James Ireton and militants such as Black Lives Matter and its collaborators. Their latest (?) target of opportunity is the historical marker on the courthouse lawn that was created by fair-minded citizens of an earlier time.
The mainstream media reports the nefarious conduct and goals of the current mob and its misfits as if they were essential defenders of democracy. Is it any wonder that the United States is now nearly as polarized as during the Civil War?
Thanks to independent online fora, such as this blog, the moderate voices of reason can still be heard. We must and will prevail over the strident, odious minority whose personal prejudices and animosity are seemingly boundless. A recent episode that demonstrates the power of the people to resist the rabble-rousers and their misguided followers is the decision by Talbot County to maintain the memorial to its citizens who fought for the Confederacy, known as the “Talbot Boys,” on the courthouse lawn in Easton.
Now the rabble-rousers have shifted focus to Salisbury.