EDITORIAL by Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr.
President Donald J. Trump:
Vice President Michael R. Pence:
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell:
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:
Congressman Cedric Richmond:
Robert E. Lee stated that he would not be buried in his Confederate States of America (CSA) uniform because that act would be seditious. At Lee’s funeral in 1870, no former soldiers or participants marching in his funeral cortege were allowed to wear CSA uniforms.
There is a simple remedy for our present state of affairs regarding monuments to former Confederate generals and the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, it is to go to the U.S. Constitution.
Section 110 of Article III addresses treason and sedition. Treason and sedition are federal law/Constitution violations. To support the Confederacy and its symbols is to be a traitor of the United States in fact and in spirit.
Section 110 of Article III states: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason.” That power of punishing the crime of treason is exclusive in Congress; and the trail of the offense belongs exclusively to the Federal tribunals.
In 1790, the Congress of the United States enacted that: “If any person or persons, owing allegiance to the United States of America, shall levy war against them, or shall adhere to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States, or elsewhere, and shall be thereof convicted on confession in open Court, or on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act of treason…”
Our history books have incorrectly labeled the war between the states as a Civil War, which is a misnomer. What occurred was a group of states seceding from the Union and creating the Confederate States of America and attacking the United States of America. This was a war of secession. If it were a civil war, which is an attempt to change the government, that would have been a revolution.
We laud Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and we thank Wynton Marsalis for initiating the removal of the monuments in New Orleans. It is ironic that the erection of statues and the naming of boulevards and schools for Confederate soldiers and cabinet members of the CSA is a romantic notion. There was not one bullet fired or cannonball shot in New Orleans during the Civil War. In 1862, Admiral David Farragut disembarked from the USS Hartford at the Port of New Orleans, walked to City Hall and told Mayor John T. Monroe of New Orleans, either you surrender or we will level the French Quarter. Confederate General Mansfield Lovell advised Mayor John Monroe that opposing the Union would be futile. New Orleans, the largest Confederate city, was captured without conflict. Therefore, the monuments and other namings in New Orleans do not have any historic relevance whatsoever. Again, just romanticization.
Likewise, members of the white supremacy groups, Neo-Nazis and KKK, are overwhelmingly not descendants of those Southerners that fought in the army of the Confederate States of America. For those to state that they have a kindred spirit with the Confederacy is a fantasy. Those Americans aligned with these groups, which are not based in historical connections, should just be bold enough to state that they are racist, anti-Semites, and white supremacists, rather than attempt to distort that which motivates them.
America’s history is complicated. My great-great-great Aunt Sarah Knox Taylor, was married to Jefferson Davis. As an American of African ancestry and a descendent of the Mayflower (even though I cannot become a member the Mayflower Society because I fail to have one or two documents that would complete the link) my DNA confirms that lineage. Last August, when David Duke was running for the U.S. Senate from the State of Louisiana, I challenged him publicly to take a DNA test to which he did respond on his web site. I do not think, after looking at David Duke’s history, that he is part African-American, but I do think that he may be part Jewish.
We, as Americans and our elected officials, must embrace the Constitution of the United States that was penned by our Founding Fathers, who themselves were flawed just as is our Constitution. However, the document addresses the issues that are tearing us apart today and it gives us the solution.
The President and Congress should focus on the economy, tax reform, the budget, foreign affairs, infrastructure, and running the government for the benefit of all Americans whom they were duly elected to serve.
Harold E. Doley, Jr.
Ambassador Doley is the founder of Doley Securities, LLC, the oldest African American owned investment banking firm in the nation. He is the Founding Director of the Minerals Management Service of the United States Department of Interior and has served as Executive Director of the African Development Bank. Ambassador Doley also founded the U.S. Africa Chamber of Commerce.