It is cliche to state that Americans don't know their history. This is true. But this problem goes much deeper when it comes to remember the Civil War. We don't so much forget as we mis-remember. We mention slavery, but do not try to understand what that actually meant to the nation. We create stories of southern bravery and lost causes and skate over what that "cause" was for.
On some level, I'm hoping to stimulate an intellectual conversation about American History. But on another level, I am hoping to make this portion of our history more concrete, and less abstract. I believe the discussion should be respectful. I do not believe it should be antiseptic or dispassionate.
When we talk about the Confederacy, we should always be clear that we are talking about a rebellion incited for the purpose of purchasing and selling children. When we talk about Pickett's Charge, Robert E. Lee, or whatever, we should always remember that it was valor in the service of trafficking. Perhaps that sounds too harsh. I don't know. I don't really want to be emotionally distant from this.