The governor of Mississippi has landed in hot water for making April the Confederate Heritage Month in his state.
Gov. Phil Bryant (R) proclaimed on social media that April was “the month in which the Confederate States began and ended a four-year struggle” but failed to mention one very important subject related to that confederation: slavery.
The controversial statement was not delivered on the official Mississippi website but published on Sons of Confederate Veterans, a pro-Confederate site.
Bryant’s statement evades the central cause of the Civil War but announces the month as an opportunity to “gain insight from our mistakes and successes.” He also signed a proclamation in February stating April 25 as Confederate Memorial Day.
As expected, news of the proclamation fueled a mostly negative reaction around the state:
Daily reminder that the Confederacy killed more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever will#ConfederateHeritageMonth— Furor Teutonicus (@BarefootBoomer) April 3, 2016
Nothing will ever be funnier than ppl telling us to get over slavery while they refuse to get over the confederacy #ConfederateHeritageMonth— A Liar, A Scammer (@Chrissssssw) April 3, 2016
#ConfederateHistoryMonth Because it's nice to have one more reason not to ever set foot in Mississippi. Not being lynched is also a good one— Jojoba Wilson (@JojobaWilson) April 4, 2016
The decision to celebrate a Confederate Heritage Month came as the state legislature was going through 19 bills involving the decision to change Mississippi’s flag, the last remaining one in the United States that carries a Confederate battle flag emblem. As was reported in February, the flag of the state will remain the same.
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But Mississippi isn’t the only state in the South that celebrates the confederation.
In 2005, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley also faced severe criticism for omitting a paragraph referring to slavery. However, he later recognized his error and released the full statement, including the missing text in his website.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia, also declared April Confederate History Month in 2010 to “promote tourism” but later issued an apology for failing to mention the issue of slavery.
“The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the civil war. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation.”
However, Bryant has showed no inclination to apologize.
Clay Chandler, the governor’s director of communications, said in the governor’s defense: “Like his predecessors — both Republican and Democrat — who issued similar proclamations, Gov. Bryant believes Mississippi’s history deserves study and reflection, no matter how unpleasant or complicated parts of it may be.”
Despite the rational, not to mention racially sensitive, reasons not to celebrate a Confederate heritage month, Mississippi is plowing ahead, proving some politicians in the state still cannot see past their own short-sighted superiority.