"... it [a possible KKK rally protesting Memphis park re-naming] will present something of a conundrum for Southern heritage advocates who believe that Forrest’s significance to American history can and ought to be understood independently of his role as a wealthy slave trader, commanding general at Fort Pillow and early organizer of the Klan."
That statement gives us a clear, stark look at two things. First, the academic mindset revealed by scholarly writing so ably described by Rudolph Flesch in How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively. And, second, how a mindset bound by the chains of political correctness works.
There is absolutely nothing the KKK does that should present a conundrum for Southern heritage advocates. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
But perhaps Levin doesn't really mean conundrum (i.e., riddle, puzzle). Judging by the rest of his post, perhaps what he means is that the KKK rally, if it occurs, could be something of a sticky wicket -- i.e., an embarrassing or tricky situation -- for Southern heritage advocates.
Of course, it isn't that, either. Southern heritage is not responsible for what the KKK does, and what the KKK does in no way reflects upon Southern heritage. What we have here is yet another flogger attempt to evilize heritage advocates by association -- by implying there's some sort of similarity or association between Southern heritage and the KKK.
I have not run across any Southern heritage claims that Forrest's "significance to American history can and ought to be understood independently of his role as a wealthy slave trader, commanding general at Fort Pillow and early organizer of the Klan--" That is yet another flogger mis-portrayal. (They get tiresome after a while, don't they?)
The Southern heritage claims I'm familiar with are those that say Forrest's positive contributions should not be ignored, suppressed or lied about -- and the aspects of his life presented as reprehensible by the ususal-suspect critics should be presented much more truthfully.
Where Forrest is concerned, floggers need to stop presenting the worst as the whole, which is one of their primary approaches to anything Southern and Confederate -- including Forrest. Yes, whether a slave trader was compassionate or cruel is significant. Extremely so. Just as it is significant whether any person, whoever they are, whatever they do, is compassionate or cruel.
No, Forrest did not order a massacre at Fort Pillow, and no, a massacre did not occur there. No, there's no historical documentation that Forrest was an early organizer of the Klan or that his involvement with it was significant -- that he was anything but a figurehead, basically.
Floggers and other who wish to perpetrate the notion that Forrest's KKK involvement was monumentally significant are notoriously short on primary historic documentation for it. At least, they seem extremely reluctant to put it online. Several months ago, in my online quest for information about what Forrest actually did as KKK "leader" netted almost zero information from these anti-heritage folks. Here's kinda how it went:
"What, exactly, was Forrest's involvement with the KKK? What did he do? What were his deeds/activities?"
"Well, duh! He was the freakin' Grand Wizard!"
"Okay. What did a Grand Wizard do? What were his deeds/activities?"
"Can't you READ? He LED the Klan!"
"And what was involved in leading the KKK? What ACTIVITIES did he engage in?"
I did manage to find online a couple of quotes from KKK members back then. James R. Crowe stated, "After the order grew to large numbers we found it necessary to have someone of large experience to command. We chose General Forrest.” That doesn't sound like he was an "early organizer." It sounds like the KKK was already organized and had grown and needed someone to command it. But that doesn't tell us much about what I'm asking. What Crowe actually tells is what the group did (chose Forrest) -- not what Forrest did after he was chosen.
Another member of the Klan, an anonymous member (or, at least, not identified online), wrote, "N. B. Forrest of Confederate fame was at our head, and was known as the Grand Wizard. I heard him make a speech in one of our Dens.”
AT LAST, we have an ACTIVITY on the part of Forrest as Grand Wizard!
He gave a speech.
HE GAVE A SPEECH!
Alas, in the online passage where I found that, there's no mention of what else he did as Grand Wizard. Not even a hint what the speech was about. Was it, "Treasurer says half of you fellers are behind on your dues. Pay 'em tonight or you're outta here. How do you expect an organization to run without money?" Or maybe, "Somebody needs to take responsibility for cleaning up before meetings... this place is a mess..." Or maybe, "Everybody circulate the June bake sale sign-up sheet to your wives between now and next month's meeting..."
Pardon my levity, but sometimes Levin does that to me (as do Simpson, Hall, et. al.)
But back to conundrums and Southern heritage and KKK rallies. Hoping to achieve the same goal does not require aligning oneself with others who have the same goal. I believe pornography should be discouraged, but that doesn't mean I align myself with man-hating feminists who believe pornography should be discouraged.
It is the mind conditioned by PC group-think that attempts to lump together hugely disparate people and/or groups based on one or two similarities....
And don't you love Levin's assumption that "the rest of the country" stands with Memphis on the name change? There are likely huge numbers of people in the "rest of the country" who (1) don't know who Forrest was, (2) don't know there was a park named for him in Memphis (3) don't know where Memphis is and (4) couldn't find Tennessee on an unlabeled map (or even a labeled one) if you offered 'em money to....
Think I'm joking? Fewer than 50 percent of those polled in this survey could identify the U.S. states of New York or Ohio on a map. http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1068259.html
We're living in an era when people are "educated" by TV -- and you have Mika Brzezinski picking Lincoln as her favorite Founding Father. No joke. And you have fewer than half of the college graduates surveyed who could identify George Washington as the general at Yorktown when asked to choose from among him, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and William T. Sherman. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/study-rates-colleges-base_n_1954987.html
It looks like history teachers have evidently failed, and failed bigtime, and floggers don't begin to take up the slack. Providing information about history isn't their purpose, anyway. Their purpose is to use a semblance of history to demonize and marginalize people and groups they think are deserving of demonization and marginalization.
Levin ends with this choice tidbit -- "The Klan intends to celebrate its heritage and it is going to be a tough sell to argue that they don’t have history on their side."
So is it suddenly heritage, not history? Or is it history, not heritage? Ought to clear that up, Levin, before taking Southern heritage advocates to task over it again....