The Civil War is one of the most significant events in United States history, and it's legacy continues in both insidious and visceral ways.
A deep divide remains between the South and the rest of the United States, not only in culture and politics, but in how the region chooses to see American history.
Recently, Louisiana officials have begun to remove Confederate monuments from New Orleans, and the decision is as hotly fought over as one would sadly expect. However, the arguments in support of the monuments remaining in the public eye only serve to strengthen the argument as to why they should be taken down.
In a disturbing Facebook post on Saturday that has since been deleted, Republican Rep. Karl Oliver of Mississippi compared Louisiana state leaders to Nazis and said that those in support of removing the offensive monuments "should be LYNCHED!" According to HuffPost and the Jackson Free Press, the message was liked by fellow Republicans Rep. John Read and Rep. Doug McLeod.
The congressman's post was telling in its choice of words, revealing a racist history and its legacy that many in America have yet to grapple with. Democrats have spoken out vehemently against Oliver's statements, calling them "hateful, offensive, and ignorant," and "very treacherous and threatening language" considering the South's terrible history of lynching African-Americans. Mississippi Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, a member of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, described Oliver's comments as "shameful, but seemingly extremely comfortable, choice of words."
Oliver issued an apology Monday morning, saying that, "In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word 'lynched' was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term."
While the congressman recognizes the brutal racial history behind the word "lynching" and why many today remain wary of it, his apology is directed only at that specifically, not slavery nor the Confederacy's bloody fight to keep it an institution, even if it meant destroying the U.S.
Like many Americans, Oliver has yet to hold those responsible for historic violence fully accountable. He has yet to distinguish Southern pride from slavery and racism and remains stuck, as much a relic of history as the monuments he clings to.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters