Was Keith Olbermann Right? Civil War Nothing to Celebrate!

I remember back in November (busy time of year for me and didn’t get a chance to discuss it) when former MSNBC host of The Countdown with Keith Olbermann, proposed the question, Why would the any state want to celebrate the Civil War?

Olbermann Quotes:

“The 150th anniversary of, you know, treason and defense of servitude and murder and suicide, billed as a joyous night of fun, dancing, food and drink… Don’t forget the silent slave auction.”

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, treasonous secession that started the Civil War and was the direct result of slavery, happy birthday to you.”

“And as part of the continuing historical revisionism that tries to claim the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, the secession celebrations have begun. Yay, treason, yay.”

The thing about Olbermann is, you have to know when he is being, well Olbermann… Anyway.

However, it is an interesting question. With the Sesquicentennial, how do we remember the war?

The debates will rage about the cause(s) of the Civil War, could the South have won, why did the North win, ect. There are also heated discussion over who fought, why they fought, and why some didn’t fight? The motives and the experiences!

So, should we “celebrate” the event? The question’s answer seems obvious to me, nothing to celebrate. Olbermann was right, as much as it pains me to say that, the Civil War was a tragedy and the institution of slavery was as well. No balls, banquets or dinner parties, please. Remember it, study it and learn from it. Let’s not break down the nuances of the word “celebrate,” we know what the word stands for. We should not remember the Civil War like we “celebrate” the 4th of July, right?

But it seems I am in the minority here, do a simple Google search for the Civil War and Celebration and the results are troubling! Lots of Celebrating going on! Oh well…

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6 Responses to Was Keith Olbermann Right? Civil War Nothing to Celebrate!

  1. Thomas Gann says:

    I don’t know how “we” should remember the war,but I can tell you how “I” choose to remember it.I choose to remember the valor,honor,and courage that those brave men,both North and South,exhibited on every battlefield they met upon.I choose to honor my great,great,grandfather ,who though I never met him,I am very proud of his service in the Confederate army.

    Also while I agree with you that celebrateing the war is not the right term to use,but also I will not be in a state of mourning for the war either.The men who fought the battles,losing legs and arms,not to mention lost friends and love ones,did not mourn when they gathered to mark those events in which they particapated in.Who are we then to mourn when we have lost nothing,but maybe a nights sleep in reading of their exploits.

    I choose to remember them all with a smile,not a frown.

  2. Chris says:

    Thomas I have no problem with personal memory, but when it is collective memory as a display that to me crosses the line to a celebratory one in nature, that is where I scratch my head and wonder…
    Thanks for the comments.


  3. Putting Olberman’s immature, shallow, and idiotic rant aside, celebrating the sacrifices and bravery of those who fought and died is, I believe, proper. That’s why we give medals out. That’s why we have Lee-Jackson Day (in VA). That’s why we have Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. Celebrating “war” per se is not, in my opinion a good thing. Commemorating, I believe, would be a more accurate and proper course.

  4. This is a good question that I have pondered myself (though I’m shocked Olbermann had any kind of deep thought). I would say in general most of us probably use “celebrate” when we actually mean “commemorate.”

  5. History Blog says:

    The same question can be asked of the 4th of July? We committed treason and then raped, pillaged and murdered an entire nation of people. And yes I am a proud American but facts are facts. The fact of the matter is this country has a dark history.

  6. Chris says:

    History Blog, “committed treason”? Depends on your point of view. “raped, pillaged and murdered an entire nation of people,” I guess that is one way to look at it. But it is a view that is void of historical nuance and complexity. The movement of history can be traced by looking at the long storied record of one civilization trampling another, indeed. However, I think your view, unfortunately, limits your ability to look objectively at the past.

    “And yes I am a proud American but facts are facts.” … Ah, thanks for the disclaimer, I’m sure you’re a regular Patriot!

    I checked out your blog and when I clicked the “About” section you were gutless enough to have not even bothered to put anything there. Here’s what I found:

    “This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.”

    Come back when you have the wherewithal to tell us who you even are!


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