Jefferson Davis. The name conjures different images for different people. While some would view the Mississippi Senator as a traitorous rebel, others see the image of Davis as a principled lawmaker who could no longer abide the assertion that the federal government reigns supreme over the governments of states.
Mr. Davis was born in Kentucky and was a United States Senator from Mississippi after serving as the Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. As a senator, the Mississippi Democrats rallied states’ rights supporters and demanded the right of states to determine their future: to be a “slave state” or not.
When it was clear that the nation could no longer hold at the seams, the Confederacy declared secession and Davis became the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
Since the collapse of the Confederacy, their legacy has lived on in the South. Southerners have largely been proud to be Southerners and many with Southern roots have clung to their heritage, even as contemporary revisionism has devolved the discussion into a gross distortion of history centering on “those who support slavery” and “those who do not.”
The Confederate Flag, a symbol of Southern pride, has been the latest victim of politically correct hysteria. Liberals and RINO lawmakers clamored to “out-liberal” one another and demanded that South Carolina remove the Confederate Flag from their statehouse property.
Even the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell succumbed to the hysteria and called for the removal of a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky State Capitol.
Even GOP gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, a former Tea Party challenger to Sen. McConnell, called for the statue’s removal.
Like all witch hunts, however, the hysteria has begun to abate and we are left with the wreckage wrought by mob mentality. With cowardly companies having banned the Confederate Flag for sale and South Carolina removing the flag from the statehouse, anti-Confederate zeal has taken its toll.
Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and a Kentucky state commission has ruled 7-2 to keep the statue of Davis, noting that it’s inclusion in the capitol building juxtaposes nicely with the statue of Abraham Lincoln, another Kentucky-born lawmaker and president.
“I bet we are the only capitol rotunda in United States where you can walk in to see a statue of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln in that proximity. That speaks volumes about the divide that Kentucky felt during the Civil War,” commission chairman Steve Collins said just prior to the vote to keep the statue.
“Removing the statue of Jefferson Davis makes it impossible for us to tell that story the way that we can tell it with both statues there.”
Our history is our history and we need not shy away from the less-savory aspects of it. It is no virtue to sanitize our history; it is a species of cowardice and ignorance.