Deconstructing “Stonewall”

Posted on May 10, 2013 by


I’ve seen a lot of it over the last week or so. How things like the wording of a place (“Jackson Shrine”) and the larger than life myth of a man are flawed. The man, place and myth… “bad juju”. Apparently more “bad juju” than a lot of folks realize. It’s a Sesqui moment I didn’t see coming… or, maybe I did and just hoped it didn’t descend to the point of smearing a man in his grave.

I’ll caution folks… don’t try to rip off (emphasis on a virtual violent act) one set of blinders (and, mostly off of other folks who aren’t so willing) so that those same “others” might eagerly don (the “rippers” might hope) another set. I’m sure I’ve said something about “extreme pendulum swings” before, and how they aren’t in the best interest of history.

Here’s the deal…

The larger than life myth of Jackson can be problematic, especially when in the extreme. It can get sappy and, well, at times… over the top. Anyway…

There is talk in a few blogs about the problem with the place that bears the name “Jackson Shrine”.

The history of the place… it is what it is, before, during, and after Jackson (although I’ve yet to see anyone take on the “after”, which is actually quite interesting… at least to me). I’ll even add… John Rudy is rightfrom one angle. The site, as the place of Jackson’s death, may be seen as the next step, during the war, in the Confederacy’s demise… and the road to more certain freedom for those in bondage.  I’ve also offered how some Southern Unionist in the Shenandoah Valley probably breathed a sigh of relief (some, I’d dare say, likely danced a jig), in the wake of his death.

For my saying this, some would be eager to label me a “Yankee blogger”.

That would be a flawed assessment of who I am.

I’m also able to understand the benefit of the legacy of Jackson. Not only am I aware of it… like it or not (I really don’t care)… he was an inspiration to even me in my youth, and was one of a larger “team” (thank you also, Gen. Lee, President Lincoln, and others) in my 1) ambition/drive to achieve in whatever I did, and 2) my desire to serve in the military. Now, I realize just how hard this is for some to fathom. More specifically… how could it possibly be that the example of men in rebellion against the U.S. be at the core of others, in succeeding generations, to serve under the U.S. flag… and even die for it? If one can’t understand this, one can’t profess to being knowledgeable of the South and Southerners (at least some sort of measurable fraction, therein… however great or small it might actually be).

For my saying this, some would be eager to label me a “Lost Causer”.

Also, a flawed assessment.

I challenge readers to think. You can, on one hand, be critical of the man and the myth, based on historical fact. Still, don’t limit the history. It’s usually much bigger than one-directional… dare I say… most certainly more complex than “monolithic”. In giving us the negative angle, shall we, as a result, be quick to ignore historical facts that show positive aspects of the legacy of Stonewall?

So, then… I will ask, in the sake of balance (while warning… let’s not get all sappy and stuff on the comments because that’s not what this is about)… in what ways has the legacy of Stonewall, and yes… even the “Jackson Shrine”, positively inspired other generations of Americans after his death? How does he still inspire some to this day… and yes, for the good. For those who center anti-Stonewall arguments on a major factor behind the cause (speaking plainly… “slavery”), think bigger… outside the box… outside the blinders.

The floor is open…