Steve A. Stone
The U.S. Marines are on my mind today
By Steve A. Stone
April 1, 2020

Dear Friends and Patriots,

Today, as I was driving to work, I heard a story on National Public Radio that really got my attention. I had a very hard time paying any heed to the light, COVID-19-affected traffic on my way after listening to the three-minute piece they did, beginning at 0703 ET. The broadcast title was "Marine Corps Aims to Tackle Evolving Face of White Supremacy."

The first two lines of the broadcast were "The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, is banning all confederate symbols from bases. It comes at a time when the corps is trying to become more inclusive." For me it went downhill from there. I heard the expected references to "symbols of hate," "white supremacy," and "white resistance to change."

Here's a bit of background. The reporter was Steve Walsh, who is a reporter for station KPBS in San Francisco. His report featured the voice of a black Marine Corps Reserve officer, Lt. Col. Cameron McCoy, who is a full-time professor of history at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Lt. Col. McCoy stated that when he sees the confederate battle flag, he thinks of "the confederacy and white supremacy, in that order." He went on to discuss his viewpoints on what he seems to consider a slow-to-evolve culture within the Corps, which, he notes, "did not allow black men to serve until 1942."

There were references to the Corps as the "whitest and most male"; "with the fewest black officers"; and "younger than other services, making them more of a target for a growing wave of white supremacists."

There was a comment that the Commandant had not specified any details to his directive, which was part of several changes he wants to see implemented, so it isn't known if it is to include removal of tattoos and symbols on personal property.

One interesting note right at the end of the broadcast was that no other service has issued a directive on this subject, "even though," as mentioned earlier in the piece, "the Army has ten bases named after confederate generals."

Now, you may or may not be asking, "So, what is this about, really?" I can only report what was broadcast and give my own reaction to it, and maybe a bit of speculation regarding the underlying factors that account for it. So, let me get at it, lest you accuse me of dawdling and taking up your valuable time.

I think this is the result of a continuing push to re-characterize history into a more politically-correct model. This isn't new. This is just a follow-on to the every-couple-of-years' attempts to get confederate battle flags removed from the sight of every living American. It's a new phase of a predecessor and older movement than the one we've seen the past few years to remove monuments and statues that memorialize the long-dead soldiers who fought against the United States Army during a rebellion we have learned to call the American Civil War. (Pardon my run-on sentence, please.) It's a snowflake's reaction to reality. To some, like Lt. Col. McCoy, the very thought of the so-called confederacy is anathema, an insult, and offensive. That reaction is all too common in certain circles – an example of over-sensitization to things that are mere facts of history and not germane in the least to how Americans live today. The Commandant is unwittingly falling for a logic trap that now finds him abetting a long-term effort to either change or eliminate all traces of that history.

I'm a Southerner by residence, inclination, and heritage. My four principal family lines trace their ancestry back in time from Texas to the Carolinas in colonial times, and all may eventually be documented to clans in some of the earliest English settlements in Virginia (according to DNA matches, they do). I'm not a Southern blue-blood, but my roots in the South are deep and strong. And, it's undeniably true that I'm of white European descent. It's also true that I had many ancestors from my Stone, Taylor, Davis, Walker, and many allied family lines who took up arms against the U.S. government and armies and fought, and too often died, in battle. They believed in the right of the states to secede from the union, as had been accepted as fact up to the time of the first battle of that war. But, they didn't as much fight for the confederacy as they did for their states, their homes, and their families. Those are the facts of my heritage. When I hear someone today say graphic representations of people very much like ancestors of mine offend them, I have to admit – I get a bit offended in return. After all, my ancestors are long dead. They should be way past having the ability to threaten or offend any living human, regardless of that person's beliefs or their own ancestral background. But in truth, I understand this cultural battle is not about my ancestors or any of the people who fought in that war, so very long ago. Nor is it about the entity often referred to as the Confederate States of America. And, it's not about symbols.

We are in the midst of a purposeful cultural battle. It's part and parcel of the overall political correctness phenomenon foisted upon us by progressives as part of their efforts to control all we think, say, and do. It's part of their segmentation strategy to divide us all into culturally minute groups, each with an axe to grind over some petty perceived cultural insult. We should be smarter than we are about such things, but humans are, after all, only humans. We often let our emotions and hearts rule our ability to reason and our own cognition. Progressives love to play on our sentiments and direct our emotions to places they want them to go. That's how they gain power over us. It appears they've now gained power over the entire U.S. Marine Corps.

I could be wrong, but to me the entire notion of a "growing wave of white supremacists" is a red herring. It's not real, but a device used to focus attention away from the real objective being pursued. I get out and about quite a lot. I'm in touch with hundreds of like-minded patriots all across the nation. If there was a "growing wave" or a "growing anything" regarding white supremacy, I'd know it. And, I don't.

Here are a few facts that are worth knowing. This is ancient history that few seem to understand, and progressives want us to forget.

During the so-called Civil War, the northern states, those states not in rebellion, were ruled under martial law. The declaration of martial law truly meant President Lincoln had the power to rule by decree, which he often did. The northern tier of states were divided into military districts, with a U.S. Army general in charge. The elected governors of the states answered to those generals. There was no democracy. The United States of America was truly ruled as a military dictatorship.

President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the war. That meant if a person was arrested and detained, they could be held indefinitely without any evidence of guilt or innocence being heard in a court of law. Many people were detained as declared "enemies of the Republic," even though the Republic being referenced was itself non-existent for those several years.

In actual point of fact, the entire U.S. Constitution was suspended for the duration of the conflict.

From the first Southern state secession until the end of that war, the U.S. government never officially recognized the existence of the so-called Confederate States of America. They didn't just not recognize it, they didn't make the slightest reference to it. All correspondence by the government in Washington D.C. referenced "the territories in rebellion" or "those rebellious states participating in the current insurrections." From the official standpoint of the U.S. government, there was no Confederacy, only sedition and insurrection that had to be suppressed. Once the fighting was done, the country slowly healed its divisions and peace prevailed. But there was nothing like a peace treaty, just a gradual re-assumption of a status quo as the states of the South and its citizens petitioned the U.S. government for reinstatement. It was as if there was a huge fight at a family picnic that was finally over. Everyone grabbed their forks, sat down, and started eating together again. We all know that story as fiction, but it's always been and is the official position of the U.S. government on the matter. Officially, there never was such a thing as an American Civil War. During that conflict the most often used reference to the fighting was as "the War of the Rebellion." The name in common use now came many year later, thanks to the media, not history.

The Southern government never flew the article commonly referred to as the Confederate Battle Flag. That flag, an adaption of the Cross of St. Andrew, was unofficially flown by a few Southern military units because of its visibility in battle, and it was later adopted in several variants by quite a few others. Flags of that sort were used to signify a rallying point for the troops. Whenever the Battle Flag was broken out, the troops would see it and work their way toward it to concentrate their efforts at that point.

The Southern government itself had a different official flag almost every year. It seems they could never quite agree on a national ensign, so they created five of them in all, none of which was remotely like the now more famous Confederate Battle Flag. The sentiment against the Battle Flag is actually something perverted by its misuse by the Ku Klux Klan and other Southern social groups well after the war was over. Those groups adopted the flag as a symbol of their own rebellious intent against the ruling authority of the federal government. It's been used as that kind of symbol ever since. Whenever you see that flag, you should understand it doesn't represent the Confederate States of America in any way, although that truth is usually and conveniently forgotten. I live in Mobile County, Alabama. For many years, the Mobile City symbol contained a representation of the Confederate Battle Flag. In the recent past, the historical inaccuracy of that depiction was brought to the city council's attention and it was replaced by one of the historically correct flags that represented Mobile's allegiance during that period, a flag known as The Stars and Bars.

General Berger is falling for an old progressive trick. If he knew his history better, he might either ignore any pressures to remove what he referenced as "Confederate symbols" or he could address the real force behind it, moves to coerce the Marine Corps to change its culture to one that suits those progressive PC warriors. Instead he's become something of an unwitting tool in the continuing efforts of progressives to eliminate all traces of nationalism in our country. Yes, you read that right...nationalism. The term they most often use is "white nationalism," but it's just plain nationalism they are after. They're starting with Southern culture and working hard to eliminate examples of Southern pride and Southern heritage. It's only another segmentation tactic. People who think about such things understand the real question to ask is, "So, what's next?" They understand their history and know authoritarian movements well. They know there's always a next, though it's difficult to predict what that might be. Just think about this discussion and recall that the current move on Southern symbols started over 30 years ago with organized protests of the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag in public places, but has more recently progressed to the removal of memorials and statues. Hence the logical question... What's next?

I want you to focus your reasoning for a moment, understand something you'll rarely hear said – the history of the American South is American History. You do get that, don't you? If the official position of the U.S. government is and always has been that the Confederate States of America never existed, then all that happened is truly and only our nation's common history and common heritage. It's a sad chapter in which over one million people died in combat, but it's just a truth we'll always have to live with and try to comprehend. I'm not trying to defend what happened, not for either side in that conflict. I'm actually making a case that all those statues and monuments that have been removed and are now being considered for removal are statues and memorials to Americans. They represent a heritage that applies to those whose roots are in the Northern states as much as those of the South. All the combatants and civilians who died in that war were equally American. That's the official position of the United States government, and always has been. It's time we all adopted that position as our own and knocked off all this nonsense that's allowing the progressives to create these segments, these cultural divides.

General Berger sincerely believes he's helping the Marine Corps and thereby helping America. He's wrong. If his personal intent is to neutralize any perceived negative power of what he described as Confederate symbols, there are better ways to do it. One is to know the truth and tell it. Another is to concentrate on the Marine Corps' core values of honor, courage, and commitment and emphasize patriotism, brotherhood, courage, good order, and discipline, and the Corps' overarching commitment to semper fidelis. In other words, do as always and train Marines to be Marines.

I've known countless Marines in my lifetime. I was a Navy and a Coast Guard sailor, not a Marine, but I've long considered the Marine Corps as the last bastion of true American manhood, courage, and patriotism. General Berger may mean well, but he's missing something. A properly trained and motivated Marine already represents the best of American values, regardless of any symbol tattooed on them, in their possession, or near them. I never met a Marine who would let harm come to any other Marine if he could prevent it, regardless of any attribute of birth. Marines are taught that every Marine wears the same uniform and bleeds red. Their instinct is to see each other as fellow Marines first, last, and always. Every real Marine I ever knew would give his life for his country and any fellow Marine whenever called upon to do so. It's a brotherhood in every sense of the word. What problem does General Berger think he's addressing?

OBTW – today is my birthday. Imagine that. My entire birthday has been spent thinking about the announcement I heard early this morning about the Marine Corps. My birthday is insignificant. The U.S. Marine Corps, though...if you don't think they're significant, you know nothing about Marines. Ooh-Rah! Semper Fi! God bless the U.S. Marine Corps and all who wear the uniform.

In Liberty,


© Steve A. Stone


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Steve A. Stone

Steve A. Stone is and always will be a Texan, though he's lived outside that great state for all but 3 years since 1970, remembering it as it was, not as it is. He currently resides in Lower Alabama with a large herd of furry dependents, who all appear to be registered Democrats. Steve retired from the U.S. Coast Guard reserves in 2011, after serving over 22 years in uniform over the span of four decades. His service included duty on two U.S. Navy attack submarines, and one Navy and two U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Units. He is now retired after working as a senior civil servant for the U.S. Navy for over 31 years. Steve is a member of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee and Common Sense Campaign, South Alabama's largest Tea Party. He is also a member of SUBVETS, Inc., and a life member of both the NRA and the Submarine League. In 2018, Steve created 671 Press LLC as his own marquee to publish his books under—he does it his way.


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