The federal government facilitates fundraising for traitors. That’s the claim made by the Washington Post’s Joe Davidson in a 14 January column. This occurs, says Davidson, through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), a philanthropic funding operation managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which enables federal employees to donate to charities they choose through automatic payroll deductions.

This may come as a bit of a shock to anyone familiar with the CFC. Having grown up in Northern Virginia, my impression of the CFC is formed largely by benign advertisements appearing in local newspapers and on the sides of buses during the holiday season, which is when it runs. What travesty of justice could possibly lead the WaPo to devote a thousand-word article to it? The Sons of Confederate Veterans, apparently.

Given that this is Abbeville, I don’t feel a need to extensively address the actual complaint registered by Mr. Davidson, who covers federal government issues for the WaPo. We need not belabor arguments made many times here regarding the “treason” of Confederates. Rather, I’m more interested in what this article communicates about the nature of liberal outrage.

For, as Davidson himself notes, contributions to SCV through CFC have considerably fallen in the last twelve years. In 2017, CFC brought in $12,078. By 2020, that amount had dropped by almost half to $6,346. That drop mirrors a decline in the number of federal donors to SCV itself, from 58 to 32. Indeed, as of 12 January, OPM told Davidson that only 25 federal employees had pledged about $4,000 to the organization during the solicitation period that began on 1 September and ended on 15 January.

In other words, less and less federal employees are donating SCV. That should come as little surprise, given the both the liberally-inclined political composition of the federal workforce, and the increased public disfavor on all things related to the Confederacy and even Old Dixie. One might even predict that the donation numbers to SCV will decline to even lower amounts in future years. Not that we were ever talking about big money anyway: even a modest fundraiser for a national organization would lead its board to scoff if they only brought in $12,000.

But Davidson and the WaPo still take offense. We are talking about people who “met the constitutional definition of treason,” and “attacked the U.S. government and killed its soldiers in defense of slavery and white supremacy,” to use Davidson’s language. And so we must be incensed. Though the politics of an organization does not affect its CFC eligibility and appropriately, Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said allowing contributions to “an organization with a mission in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution, particularly the 13th Amendment,” which outlawed slavery, is “offensive” and “outrageously inappropriate.”

Well, have you ever? Perhaps we should consider some of the other organizations who participate in the CFC. They include the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign. They also include the Abortion Access Project, the National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood, and the NARAL Pro-Choice American Foundation. And they include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Charities, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

In other words, federal employees can donate to organizations that regularly antagonize and defame American citizens for their political and religious beliefs. They can donate to organizations that actively participate in the murder of thousands of unborn children every year. And they can donate to organizations that promote destructive sexual lifestyles and identities that are confusing (and permanently damaging) an entire generation of young Americans.

Given the majority-liberal bent of the federal workforce, I would imagine the amount of money that ultimately goes to abortions and transgender hormone therapy far outweighs the paltry sum going to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And this, I would argue, points to the more interesting (and alarming) issue raised by the WaPo’s deep concern about $4,000 of 25 federal employees’ own money going to the SCV. And that is the hypocrisy and misdirection of outrage.

Why the WaPo would go to such lengths to complain about such a negligible sum demonstrates the uncompromising, intolerant, and vindictive character of the liberal media establishment. Uncompromising and intolerant because they brook no deviation from the now dominant script on wokeism and anti-racism, which says all things regarding the antebellum and Confederate South are so soiled by the taint of slavery and racism that they must be expunged from public memorialization. Vindictive, because they seem hell-bent on finding and obliterating even the most tiny and trivial examples of the supposed systemic racism that ails us. Oh, the outrage.

Even if one were to grant Davidson any of his complaints about the SCV, are we expected to believe this is somehow more deserving of journalistic attention and censure than the exponentially larger number of federal employee dollars going to abortion and transgenderism? Aren’t those evils far worse than honoring dead Confederates, even if they were traitors?

More broadly, why isn’t the WaPo investing more resources in studying federal employees’ mismanagement of taxpayer dollars? Or the difficulties in disciplining and firing them? Or that their benefits are far superior to those of most Americans in the private sector, something greatly aggravated by the pandemic’s toll on small businesses? All of that would seem a lot more concerning than $4,000. Ah, but the WaPo is the paper of record for the federal bureaucracy. Better to just conjure up another story on allegedly racist white Southerners. Outrage is what sells in our activist age, and it’s best to direct that at easily identifiable targets.

Twenty-five federal employees. $4,000. One organization that honors the memory of Confederate soldiers. We are exhorted by media elites to shake our heads at this. I shake my head for another reason. Did you know the National Institutes for Health spent $5 million on a federal campaign to stop hipsters from smoking? Or that the federal government owns hundreds of thousands of unused and underused buildings nationwide that cost about $1.7 billion every year? Or that the federal government pays anti-racism experts to give seminars to employees?

Davidson ends his article by quoting the same federal union president regarding the government policy that has permitted contributions to the SCV. “I think there’s something wrong with the policy,” he declares in apparent outrage. Well, something’s certainly wrong here.

Casey Chalk

Casey Chalk has degrees in history and education from the University of Virginia, and a masters in theology from Christendom College. He is a regular contributor for New Oxford Review, The Federalist, American Conservative, and Crisis Magazine. He is the author of The Persecuted: True Stories of Courageous Christians Living Their Faith in Muslim Lands (Sophia Institute).



    Mr. Chalk writes: “But Davidson and the WaPo still take offense. We are talking about people who ‘met the constitutional definition of treason,’ and ‘attacked the U.S. government and killed its soldiers in defense of slavery and white supremacy,’ to use Davidson’s language.”

    Question: Since members of the Confederacy had seceded from the Union and were then citizens of another country, how could they be accused of treason in attacking the U.S. Government and its soldiers? It was an act of war, one may say. But treason? Only those who are citizens of a country can be charged with treason against it, right? (I realize that in Mr. Lincoln’s mind, that is, his public mind, members of the Confederacy were still citizens of the United States. In that, he betrays a certain irritating rigidity and small-mindedness.)

    This is a question directed more at Mr. Chalk and other followers of AI than at Mr. Davidson and WaPo, neither of whom would likely be inclined to address the finer points of constitutional law. And I pass over the motives attributed to the Confederates in “attacking the U.S. Government” Mr. Davidson is, I suppose, entitled to his opinion–he certainly thinks so–but those who joined the Confederate cause spoke for themselves at the time regarding that matter. And others spoke later and still do today with more acumen, intelligence, and fairness than a multitude of Mr. Davidson’s laid out in a circle around Washington City could ever aspire to do.

  • Leslie Alexander says:

    Makes me want to go donate to SCV.

  • Tom Wiggins says:

    Perhaps, in place of the Confederate monuments that were illegally desecrated and removed by the government they were entrusted to, to preserve, they will erect a statue of lost lemmings tearing down monuments (with police protection, of course).

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