This piece originally appeared on the Canada Free Press.

As you can probably surmise by my detailed caption, this article is a collection of random thoughts. It is typical at the beginning of a new year for people to reflect soberly on the state of events, and make optimistic resolutions and predictions for the future. Although I will try to maintain a hopeful outlook, I’m afraid I am unable to make any starry-eyed predictions.

My random thoughts are heavily influenced by the anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which falls on January 19th. The anniversary of the birthday of this remarkable man should be a very special day, not only for Southerners, but for all Americans who acknowledge true heroes. Unlike today’s media-created celebrities, Lee was a genuine hero. In addition to his exemplary public life, General Lee’s personal life didn’t involve scandals or debauched behavior that had to be hidden from the public eye.

Theodore Roosevelt characterized General Lee this way: “the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth.” Lee is also venerated in Europe, as evidenced by this tribute by Winston Churchill: “one of the noblest Americans who ever lived.”

When President Eisenhower was criticized for having a picture of General Lee in his office, he responded with a letter that contained this memorable statement: “General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. “

President Gerald Ford issued a posthumous pardon to Lee, which included this proclamation: “General Lee’s character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride. “

A couple of years before the onset of the 21st century, a Midwestern college began researching exemplary Americans for a book about the heroes of our nation. The book was to be limited to six famous individuals who exemplified the best of our nation. The project involved a review of famous persons involved in the American Revolution; the primary statesmen responsible for the creation of our Republic, and notable personages involved the sectional conflict that resulted in the War Between the States. – Also scrutinized were numerous scientists, scholars, actors and writers, and celebrated individuals from the civil rights movement, World War heroes, and outstanding industrialists. Ultimately, six famous Americans were chosen: George Washington, Daniel Boone, Louisa May Alcott, George Washington Carver, Andrew Carnegie, and Robert E. Lee.

Despite the lofty tributes made to General Lee throughout the years, activist groups have often been successful in preventing celebrations of the anniversary of his birth. The ultimate goal of these activist groups is the complete elimination of Southern heritage. It is not uncommon for countries to revise their history to accommodate altered political beliefs, but the Leftist establishment demands nothing less than the complete removal of anything remotely reminiscent of Southern heritage.

The magnitude of this campaign to eliminate Southern heritage is staggering. Schools have been renamed, as well as mascot names for athletic teams. Books have been, and continue to be, removed from libraries; textbooks rewritten, and movies banned from public viewing. Plaques have been removed or rewritten, and monuments defaced and taken down. Bridges, buildings, roads and highways have been renamed. State nicknames and state songs have been altered, state flags redesigned. Specific songs may not be sung or played, and certain words and phrases are forbidden. Incredibly, there are ongoing efforts to have the historic clubhouse at the Augusta National Golf Club demolished, because it is a replica of a Southern antebellum plantation home.

Activist organizations want the public to think that the majority of blacks earnestly want Southern heritage symbols removed. But is this the case? Actually, complaints against Southern heritage symbols are becoming as tiresome to many blacks as they are to whites.

The demand for the removal of Southern heritage symbols was not initiated by rank and file blacks, but by advocacy organizations, the most prominent being the NAACP; Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (No Justice, No Peace), the Urban League, the New Black Panther Party (Fighting Hate, Seeking Justice), and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The reason these organizations are attacking heritage symbols, and continuously redefining what constitutes racism, is the desire to get media attention, essential for their fund raising. But a closer look reveals that funds raised are not always employed for the causes for which they were meant. Quite a substantial amount of funds raised ends up in the pockets of the organization’s leaders.

Reverend Jesse Jackson often uses funds from his organizations for personal matters, including diverting large amounts to pay off one of his former mistresses, and support for the illegitimate child he fathered. Jackson also promised funds to pay college tuition for the black stripper, Crystal Mangum, who falsely accused Duke University students of raping her. Jackson insisted that Mangum’s tuition would be paid even if her story proved false. (Ms. Mangum is currently serving a prison term for murdering her boyfriend.)

A substantial portion of funds raised by Jackson’s organizations results from nefarious extortion schemes – Discrimination accusations and threats of boycotts are directed against large corporations. To avoid negative publicity, these blackmailed corporations are forced to contract costly services with Jackson-designated minority companies, who then pay expensive membership fees to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

A president of the national NAACP, Reverend Benjamin Chavis, was fired for spending over $300,000 of organization funds, to settle a sexual misconduct claim with a female employee. A few years later, Kweisi Mfume resigned as NAACP President following numerous complaints of giving raises and promotions to female employees that he had improper relations with. – Several leaders of local NAACP chapters resigned, were removed from office, and even sent to prison for misuse of funds, accepting bribes, fraud, and other illegal acts.

The leader of the Illinois Black Panthers, Bobby Rush, who like Jesse Jackson, is also a self-ordained “reverend” without ministerial credentials, is under investigation for numerous misuses of contributed funds, including paying his wife an enormous salary, estimated at roughly 25% of the organization’s funds. Mr. Rush is unable to explain what happened to a million dollar grant paid to one of his organizations.

Its become commonplace to read news reports about corruption in Urban League organizations and resignations of presidents of those groups. Contributions made to Urban Leagues to help needy minorities are often diverted to dishonest League officials. These funds are misappropriated primarily through widespread abuse of organization credit cards. – One League president actually paid his children’s monthly cell phone bills by using an Urban League credit card.

But the crowned head of the lucrative race hustling dynasty is Reverend Al Sharpton, a favorite not only of the media but also our president. Sharpton’s lavish lifestyle is funded by contributions to his National Action Network. As his unpaid income taxes alone approaches a million dollars, the funds he diverted for his personal use must be astronomical. And, although Reverend Sharpton’s income taxes are grossly delinquent, the IRS is not aggressively pursuing collection. Sharpton’s National Action Network has not paid several million dollars of payroll taxes on employees that have accumulated over the years. Sharpton also squeezes mega-bucks out of well-healed corporations by using Jackson-style extortion: – threatening accusations of racism unless they make sizable contributions to his organizations.

Looking back through the history of our nation, it would be hard to imagine previous presidents picking someone as dissolute and disgraceful as Al Sharpton as one of their advisers. But Reverend Sharpton is one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants, his “go-to man” on racial matters. Unfortunately, the public is well aware of Sharpton’s racial opinions. He has frequently expressed them during his years of deceitful race baiting episodes: – the most well-known are the shameful Tawana Brawley travesty; the Crown Heights riots where an innocent Hasidic Jewish student was killed, and the protest against the Freddie Fashion Mart, where a fire was set that took the lives of seven people. Sharpton has not only called white people “crackers” and gay men “homos”, but he has made anti-Semitic comments about Jews, as well as vicious religious slurs against Mormons.

The Justice Department refuses to take legal actions against Al Sharpton’s organizations, and the Internal Revenue Service is reluctant revoke the tax exempt status of his organizations that engage in actions prohibited to not-for-profit entities. The Leftist media not only exempts Sharpton from criticism, it lauds him. – MSNBC solidified its Leftist credentials by ignoring Sharpton’s immoral background, and producing a one-hour political talk show hosted by Sharpton. I guess for some Americans, Al Sharpton might be a television news personality, as well as a credible source. But how sad that is for those of us who hoped that 21st century America would not be as susceptible to racial proselytizing as was 1960s America.

Many previous American presidents have held Robert E. Lee in the highest regard and publicly paid homage to him. Today, we have a president who holds Al Sharpton in higher esteem than Robert E. Lee. However, this president himself is only respected by the media and the Left, not by the public. And, after he leaves office, the Leftist media will probably ease up on its fawning over Al Sharpton, hopefully ending his specious prestige. On the other hand, admiration for Robert E. Lee will remain as ardent as it has been for almost two centuries.

Gail Jarvis

Gail Jarvis is a Georgia-based free-lance writer. He attended the University of Alabama and has a degree from Birmingham Southern College. As a CPA/financial consultant, he helped his clients cope with the detrimental effects of misguided governmental intrusiveness. This influenced his writing as did years of witnessing how versions of news and history were distorted for political reasons. Mr. Jarvis is a member of the Society of Independent Southern Historians and his articles have appeared on various websites, magazines, and publications for several organizations. He lives in Coastal Georgia with his wife.

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