These bases were not named after the Civil War in attempt at national reconciliation. They were named in the 20th century as a way of honoring the racist “Lost Cause” that the generals fought.
The key word in that phrase — lost. They lost. And rightfully so. Their cause was immoral.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, arguing that the bases should not be renamed, asked hypothetically this week, where does it end? Do we take away honors to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson? And that’s a fine question. And I don’t have an answer.
Washington and Jefferson had slaves, though their careers were not built on fighting for the right to own slaves. In other words, they’re honored despite the hideous parts of their histories, not because of the hideous parts of their histories.