Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Before our main story tonight, I’d like to do something
a little different and just quickly tell you
about a beloved icon of my childhood,
and it’s this man… WOMAN:For 20 years he made
the dreams of young people
come true,with his hugely popular
Jim’ll Fix Itprogram.Best known for his
trademark jewelry,
track suits, tinted glasses,
and Havana cigar.
Now, I know it’s
hard to believe, but that bizarre looking man,
Jimmy Savile, was a national hero. We named places for him,
we gave him a knighthood, we even put up
this statue of him, even though it clearly looks
more like a cheese sculpture
of George Carlin -that someone left in the sun.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Now, he had a show called
Jim’ll Fix It,
where he basically
granted wishes. And like many British kids,
I actually wrote to him. I asked him to make me the mascot
for Liverpool football club, and he never wrote back. Which I’m actually glad about,
because after he died, Britain began to find out
who he really was. And the truth was horrific. He’s gone from a much loved
entertainer, and respected charity
fundraiser, to a man described by
Scotland Yard as a predatory sex offender.Jimmy Savile’s headstone
was here
for less than three weeks.His epitaph read,
“It was good while it lasted.”
Oh! That is an unsettling thing to have written
on his gravestone. Although to be fair,
nearly every famous epitaph would sound horrifying written
on a sex offender’s gravestone. From Dean Martin’s “Everybody
loves somebody sometime,” to Rodney Dangerfield’s
“There goes the neighborhood.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-You know, funny, funny. But if he’d been
a sex offender, not so much. The point is, Savile’s
headstone was taken down, as was that sign,
and that creepy statue, because once we found out
that he was a monster, we accepted it was
no longer appropriate to publicly glorify him. Which actually brings us
to our main story tonight… the Confederacy. America’s tracksuit
sex offender. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-Now, in recent years, there has been a robust debate
over Confederate symbols. From flags being taken down,
to statues being removed, to the white nationalist
rallies in Charlottesville. Both the one that
ended in violence in August, and another that happened
just last night. So as this debate is clearly
not going away, we wanted to take a look
at some of the arguments. Because you don’t
have to look hard to find people very upset at the idea of Confederate
statues being taken away. You can’t change history. You can’t pick and choose
what you decide is history. I think they oughta
just leave ’em alone and leave ’em
where they are, you know. They’re part of history. I just don’t think
we can erase our history. It may not represent
the best idea… that anybody ever came up with. But nevertheless,
it’s part of our history. And, uh,
I think it should stay there. You know what,
I’ll give him this, he is right that the Confederacy
and everything that came with it is, to put it mildly,
“not the best idea… -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-anybody ever came up with.” Because that of course
is making grilled cheese on a toaster turned sideways. That is a billion-dollar idea that is also
completely worthless. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-But they’re also right about one thing. We should
remember our history, so tonight, let’s do that. And let’s look at the unique
heritage of these symbols. Starting with the fact
that there are a lot more than you might expect. REPORTER:
The Southern Poverty Law Center
found some 1,500 Confederate
memorials across the country.
More than 700 of them
are statues and monuments,
and ten U.S. military basesare named for
Confederate officers.
Think about that. There are U.S. military bases
named for Confederate officers. And they were the enemy.
They killed U.S. soldiers. That’s like finding out that
Nancy Kerrigan -named her child Tonya Harding.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Why would you do that?
That’s a weird choice. And tributes to the Confederacy
are everywhere in the South, and notably some
in the North too. And that map doesn’t include
kitschy ways that the Civil War is presented,
like at this family restaurant: ANNOUNCER:
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
brings a rip roaring
taste of America to life.
Dixie’s Stampede
is a musical extravaganza
of sight and sound.Centered around a friendly
North-South rivalry,
friendly servers bring
the delicious four course feast
right to you.Including a whole
rotisserie chicken,
and all the Pepsi, iced tea,
or coffee you like.
Yes. That is
a Confederate soldier serving a small child
all the Pepsi she likes. Which is still remarkably only Pepsi’s second worst
AND CHEERING) And the thing is if you grew up
with experiences like that, it can seem like the Civil War
is just a friendly rivalry. A fun, colorful part
of U.S. history. But that omits the key fact
about the Civil War. The Confederacy was fighting for
the preservation of slavery. And that’s not my opinion,
that is just a fact. There are many ways
that we know this. Slavery is mentioned in
multiple state’s declarations of secession with Mississippi saying, “Our position
is thoroughly identified with the institution
of slavery.” The Confederate Constitution
contains a clause enshrining slavery forever. And then there’s the speech
Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president
gave in 1861, in which he articulated
the basic principles for the Confederate nation. ALEXANDER STEPHENS:
Its foundations are laid.
Its cornerstone rests upon
the great truth
that the Negro is not
equal to the white man.
That slavery, subordination
to the superior race,
is his natural and
normal condition.
Wow. Subordination to
the superior race. That is explicit. If the Confederacy was not
about slavery, somebody should really
go back in time and tell the fucking
Confederacy that. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And yet, remarkably, many people think the Civil War
was over something else. REPORTER 2:When people
were asked, “What do they think
the main cause
of the Civil War is?”
48% said,
“Mainly about states’ rights.”
Only 38% said,
“Mainly about slavery.”
Nine percent said “both.”And that is amazing. Only 38% thought the Civil War
was mainly about slavery. In other words,
look to your left, now look to your right, statistically all three of you
live in a country where only 38% percent of people -think the Civil War
was mainly about slavery.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And on that “states’ rights”
argument, for the record, the Southern states were
ardently pro-states’ rights. But with some
glaring exceptions. Notably, when Northern states passed laws to help protect
runaway slaves, the South wanted
the federal government to override those states laws. So, they loved states’ rights, as long as they were
the right states’ rights. The wrong states’ rights
would be states’ wrongs, wrongs which would
need to be righted by the right states’ rights–
look, to put it really simply, they just wanted to
own black people, -and they didn’t much care how.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) That’s a fact! But that’s a very hard fact
for some people to accept. Especially if a member
of your family fought for the Confederacy. And sometimes,
the understandable desire to want to distance
your relative from that cause can lead to people
distorting the cause itself. Just watch as one man at a community meeting
in North Carolina defended a Confederate statue by talking about
his family history. My great grandfather
was a Confederate soldier. And I was proud of that. Because my opinion of his fight was for his rights. I don’t know what
his rights were. I wasn’t there. He was dead long before
I came along. But I’m really concerned
about our monument. I want it to stay. It reminds me that I got
a little rebel in me. You know, we all want to
kind of be independent. We all have a little
rebel in us, even the ladies. -Ooh! Even the ladies!
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Hashtag feminism,
hashtag confedera-she. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)
-And look, look. I don’t know, I don’t know why his great grandfather
fought. It is hard to know
the motivations of any individual soldier. What we do know is that
again, collectively, they were fighting to preserve
the institution of slavery. And I do get, honestly,
I honestly get wanting a more comfortable
history for your family. But in doing so,
you can’t invent a more comfortable history
for your country. Because you would be erasing
the actual painful experiences of many Americans. As a fellow North Carolinian
explains. When I walk by this statue,
I– it becomes very painful when I think of the suffering
that my ancestors went through. They enslaved people. Abused people for their own
economic impact.And it should not be
celebrated by these statues.
Right. And that is
the harsh reality of what was done by
those Confederate men. And yes, even the ladies, -hashtag confedera-she.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) If you want to see
a perfect crystallization of what happens when
two people have wildly different views
of the same symbol, just watch this
local news clip. Why do you carry that flag? Because this is my heritage. My family fought
to save their farm under this flag. Who was working that farm? Ooh! (AUDIENCE LAUGHING IN DISBELIEF) That is a good, tough question. And the news clip
actually cut out there, but we were so intrigued to
find out what his response was we tracked it down. And whatever you are expecting,
you’re going to be surprised. -MAN: Who was working that farm?
-My family was! -Who was working the farm?
-They were poor, Do you know how much
a slave cost back then?! -(AUDIENCE SHOUTING)
-Oh! Whoa, whoa, whoa! You know you are in the wrong when you decide
your best argument is screaming at a black man, “Do you know how expensive
you used to be?!” It is– It is comments like that one that landed this guy
on the cover ofHoly Shit That Is Not
Remotely The Point
magazine. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And look, that– that is clearly
an intense example. But denial of this painful
part of history can take many forms. Look at PBS’s
Finding Your Roots,
where Henry Louis Gates
explores celebrities’ family histories, and he often finds some shit. Famously, Ben Affleck
pulled strings to get the show
to remove all references to his slave-owning ancestors. And though he later apologized, that impulse right there
is not good. Because it sanitizes history. And while there is no
easy way to respond to learning that kind of
horrible information, it is worth watching
Anderson Cooper find out how one relative of his died. Boykin was murdered by
a rebellious slave. Wow. Your ancestor was
beaten to death with a farm hoe. (LAUGHS)
Oh my God. That’s amazing.
This is incredible. (LAUGHS) I am blown away. -You think he deserved it?
-ANDERSON COOPER: Yeah. -Wow. You know what?
-(AUDIENCE CLAPPING) You know what,
as a general rule, just try not to live a life …that could lead a descendant
of yours to one day say, “A guy smashed
grand-poppy’s head in with a garden hoe? That’s amazing.
Great job ‘That Guy!'” (LAUGHING) But, my absolute
favorite response to a nasty surprise, undoubtedly
comes from Larry David, who received
a real one-two punch. Are you telling me that
my great-grandfather fought for the South? In the Civil War? (LAUGHS) What? Are you kidding? Oh, my goodness… I hope no slaves show up
on this– Please turn the page. (MALE AUDIENCE MEMBER HOLLERS) Now, Larry, this is
another part of the 18th– Oh– oh, you did it!
You did it! -I knew it! I knew it!
-(GATES LAUGHING) -Unbelievable!
-Unbelievable. Boy. HENRY LOUIS GATES JR:
That’s b– unbelievable. Oh boy, oh boy. -Yeah. Prettay, prettay,
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) pretty bad! Pretty bad! And look! Larry David
is not responsible for what his ancestors did. None of us are. I have to believe that,
because I’m English. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And I would like to go to an Indian restaurant again
at some point in my life. (LAUGHING CONTINUES) But– but we do have to reckon
personally, and as a country with what our heritage means. You can’t ignore it like Batman, you can’t say
it’s something else like town meeting Santa, you’ve got to actively,
painfully, come to grips with slavery, and the lasting benefits
and disadvantages that if conferred. In ways that, frankly,
we haven’t yet. And that actually brings us back
to Confederate monuments, because there is
something about them that that symbolizes our reluctance
to have that conversation and that is the dates
that they went up. Because while some
initial memorials were built mainly in cemeteries,
shortly after the Civil War, the real surge came
much, much later. MALE REPORTER 1:
The Southern Poverty Law Center
says a majorityof the more than 700
Confederate monuments
in public spaces
across the country,
were erected decades
after General Lee’s surrender.
It’s true, as this chart of the years that
they were dedicated shows, there was a big spike
from 1900 to 1920 as white southerners were
re-asserting their dominance through things like
Jim Crow laws, uh, with another spike in the
50s and 60s as the Civil Rights Movement
was gaining steam, so those statues weren’t so much commemorating
recently fallen dead, as sending
a pretty hostile message to African-Americans. And sending messages is kind of
what statues are often for. This one says,
“We love freedom.” This one says, “The most notable thing
about our city -is a fictional character.”
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) (STAMMERS) And this one says,
“About yay big.” -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-We still don’t know… what he was trying to measure,
but whatever it was, -it was… “About yay big.”
-(LAUGHING CONTINUES) But… look, for some
Confederate statues though, for some Confederate statues
the intent is crystal clear. In that town meeting
from before, the statue that
they were debating was this one, which went up
in 1914 and a leader of
that county’s chapter of the KKK gave a speech at its dedication, calling the occasion
an opportunity “To recall the achievements
of the great and good of our own race and blood.” Which, again, is pretty
on-the-nose right there. And the largest
Confederate memorial, the carving on Stone Mountain
in Georgia, is located where the
20th century KKK was born. It depicts
three Confederate leaders on horseback, and
it was completed in 1972, so that means
there is color footage of the dedication. After nearly half a century
of work, the memorial carving here at Stone Mountain
is finally finished. And officials are calling it
the eighth wonder of the world. We must recall those principals
of loyalty, dignity and honor that shine through
the lives of men we commemorate today. Yes. That was
Vice President Spiro Agnew commemorating the loyalty
of literal traitors. But, what can you really expect
from a man whose name, rearranged, spells
“Grow a Penis.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And… and some– here’s the thing. Some monuments went up
even more recently. I– I wanna show you one that was erected
on private lands, but very much for
public consumption. Because once you see it,
you will not forget it. MALE REPORTER 2:
The statue was erected in 1998.
It portrays
Nathan Bedford Forrest
on his horse.Gun in one hand,
and sword in the other.
Surrounded by
Confederate state battle flags,
visible for all to see
on the side of I-65.
a Confederate general
-and an early leader of the KKK.
objectively terrifying regardless of context. He looks like if a nickel
did cocaine. -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-So– so some of these statues commemorate people who thought
a war to preserve slavery, were erected to preserve
white supremacy and were dedicated by
Klan members and yet, there is a blanket defense that tends to get
authored by people and not just people,
also, this guy. They’re trying to take away…
our culture. They’re trying to take away
our history. Okay, that argument is
taking these statues down obliterates history, which is
clearly just ridiculous. First, monuments are not
how we record history, books are. Museums are. Ken Burns
12-part mini-series are. Statues are how we
glorify people. Or, in the case of one in Tokyo,
how we glorify giant radioactive lizards. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And yet, the President’s concern
seems to be that tearing down statues
leads to a slippery slope. This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s
coming down, I wonder, is it
George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson
the week after? You know, you all– you really do
have to ask yourself, “Where does it stop?” Okay, well,
I’ll tell you where it stops. Somewhere. Anytime someone asks,
“Where does it stop?” The answer is always,
“Fucking somewhere!” You might let your kid
have Twizzlers, but not inject black-tar heroin. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-You d– you don’t just go, “Well, after the Twizzlers,
where does it stop?” -(LAUGHING CONTINUES)
-And the same is true of Confederate monuments. Think of it this way,
all people, living and dead, exist on what I’m gonna call
The Hitler-Hanks spectrum, from bad to good. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, CHEERING)
-And at some point on the spectrum, monuments to honor people
are going to be inappropriate. Although it– to be fair, it does get tricky
around the middle, where, of course, you’ll fine
-And– and look, there are clearly people
deserving of statues who were imperfect humans. And sometimes our standards
change over time, which can then get tricky, because you’re judging
historical figures by modern standards. But for many
Confederate monuments, especially those erected
well after the Civil War, valorizing the cause or leadership
of the Confederacy, this really isn’t a close call. This is your babysitter
showing up in a Jimmy Savile t-shirt. I don’t care what you think
that represents, you’re not staying home
with my fucking kid tonight. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) And for Robert E. Lee
in particular, it’s actually even easier
because of this. MALE REPORTER 1:Interestingly,
Robert E. Lee was once asked
about placing memorials
at Gettysburg in 1869.
The former general replied,“I think it wiser… not to
keep open the sores of war,
but to follow the examples
of those nations
who endeavored to obliterate
the marks of civil strife,
to commit to oblivion
the feelings engendered.”
It’s true. Robert E. Lee
was opposed to statues of people like Robert E. Lee. So, any city that decides
to keep a statue of him should at the very least
add a speech bubble saying, “You know, I told you all
specifically, not to do this.” (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) So– so what do we do now? Well– well, I would argue
that nothing is not acceptable, and– and trying
to paper over the cracks can actually make things worse. In the 1990s, Richmond tried
to fix its Monument Avenue, a street lined with statues
of Confederate leaders by adding
African-American tennis legend, Arthur Ashe to it. And you can’t just
give Confederates a black friend and say, “We’re good, right?” -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-We’re good! Arthur’s up there! You love Arthur! So– so, if we really want
to learn from, and honor our history,
perhaps the first step might be to put
most of these statues somewhere more appropriate, surrounded by
ample historical context, like in a museum. Where people go to
proactively learn about history, and also
to punish their children. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-And please, try not to think of this
as a loss, because it’s actually
a real opportunity, and I’ll show you, please. Come with me. -♪ (PATRIOTIC MUSIC PLAYING) ♪
-Because if and when a pleat becomes empty, that is a chance for your area
to honor someone who really deserves it. A– And I have some–
some ideas for replacements that I would love
to run by you. First, Beaufort County,
South Carolina, how about
a giant statue of… Robert Smalls here? He was born into slavery. He stole a Confederate boat,
and he sailed it to freedom, and later served five terms
in Congress. This guy is amazing. Atlanta, Texas. You are the birthplace to… Bessie Coleman. The first
African-American woman pilot. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-Why would you not want this
in your town? She’s incredible! Now, Florida. You might not want
an individual, but how ’bout something
that honors what your state represents? Something that says, “You’ve got
a little rebel in you.” So, I give you this statue of your
official state reptile… -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-an alligator giving everyone the finger. He’s called Herman, and he definitely says Florida, while also having
nothing to do with slavery. And finally,
finally, there is Charleston, and to you, I say this. Why have a divisive,
Confederate statue when instead, that pedestal can be filled
by your favorite son, -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-the actual Stephen Colbert, who will stand up there
all day telling you fun facts
about your wonderful town. -JOHN OLIVER: Right?
-Yes. -OLIVER: Really?
-Yes. Charleston. Charleston. Charleston is the site
of the first free public library -in America.
-That’s fascinating, Stephen. Every year,
we host Zugunruhefest, the Southeast’s
most comprehensive migration-focused
birding festival. That sounds incredible,
I’ll google it! See Charleston? You can have this
24 hours a day, seven days a week. I– I actually need
to do my show five days a week. Five! How? (AUDIENCE CHUCKLING) (WHISPERS) I don’t know.
I don’t know. Ooh! We’re also
Travel and Leisure’s
number one U.S. destination
for the last five years running. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-Come on Charleston, you can
have this in your life! That’s our show,
thank you so much for watching. See you next week. Goodnight!

83 Replies to “Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)”

  1. The war was NOT about slavery – secession was. Secession and the Civil War are two seperate issues. Shortly after Abrham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceeded and became the first state in the Confederacy on December 20th, 1860 while the last state to seceed pre-war was Louisiana on Janurary 26th of the following year. Three months later, Lincoln refused to hand over Fort Sumter, which was in Confederate territory. This refusal to withdraw U.S. Troops from a military installation was a clear message from the president that he still considered the fort and the territory it was in as United States ground. The Confederate government viewed this sustained military presence by a "foreign" government (they now saw the U.S as being a seperate country) as an act of military agression by the United States and thus a direct attack on what they believed was a constitutional entitlement to leave the union. In short, the state's belief in their right to secede propelled the first shot at Fort Sumter, thus starting the war on April 12th, 1861. Hence, the Civil War was about states rights. The only thing confederate soldiers were guilty of is having a deep rooted devotion to their states. I know it's difficult for some to understand today, but back then one's own state was more important than the country as a whole. Today most people think of themselves as just Americans, but back then people called themselves Virginians, South/North Carolinians, Marylanders, Pennsylvanians, etc. This is best exemplified when you consider how both armies were structured in the Civil War, regiments and brigades were often composed of soldiers from the same state like the 20th Maine and 1st Virginia. I'ts this pride in one's home which brought these soldiers to fight underneath the Confederate flag and It's absolutely disgraceful that politicians are dragging the names of these heroic men through the mud for the sake of reenforcing their own petty political narratives. The only "lost cause" in existence is trying to talk sense to these brainwashed finatics who have no understanding or respect for American history or even history as a whole! If this band of left-wing cultists think they're actually making a difference in this little fight of theirs to revise history and dement the minds of the American people, then they're even dumber than we knew! These extremists should search "confederate statues poll" on Google! Every single study has concluded that the majority of Americans are not buying their particular brand of trash! Even the leftists at CNN didn't try to hide what their polls found: 57 percent of Americans think the confederate flag is a symbol of southern heritage, only 33 percent think of it as racist! These far left wingers are NOT in the majority, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves and others to the contrary! Despite their best efforts, those men of the south that these statues commemorate will echo throughout time as great tacticians, devoted patriots and fearless leaders long after memory of the left wing figureheads and their false narratives has faded into non-existence. Those who served in the Civil War, on both sides, are great figures of American culture while these social "justice" warriors and politically "correct" (pfft! yeah, right!) extremists are not even foot notes!

  2. The answers for that Civil war question were extremely poorly chosen.

    The answer of state's rights and slavery were the same answer. They fought for their state's right to keep slavery.

    Also that how-much-a-slave-costs dude was so wrong and fat. If his relatives died under that flag it really can only be interpreted two ways. Either they were completely on board with slavery and the confederacy or they didn't really agree with the cause and fought because they had too.

    Then they are either terrible people or agreed with America and should be represented by the proper American Flag.

  3. I'm a white dude from Alabama and it's honestly a shame that these people have been glorified. I can say that I think many who fight for them to remain are simply ignorant of all the facts of the civil war and the confederacy, I know people who I've convinced to look further into these "heroes" and their minds have been changed. Of course, an alarming amount is well aware of the full context they've read quotes and statements by these people who are for some reason honored and think it appropriate still to honor them.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks Jimmy Savile looks a bit like Humma Kavula? ? I think it's the glasses, mostly.

  5. The hypocrisy of the confederacy wanting states rights but wanted to control the north’s laws reminds me how republicans are for small non restricting government but want to control a woman’s choice

  6. For a long time I always argued statues should be there for preservation of history. In Iran, we had a few of great generals and a few monuments and structures. However, I think this video changed my mind. Putting them in a museum is just as good and makes room for better figures.

  7. I think the glorification of the southern prowess in battle is also a way of bragging how good we where that we defeated this brave ennemi. The same way now the native Americans are pictured as brave warriors in extremely good shape… We also like to think Rommel was a genious general, makes the victory look so much finer.

  8. I think white people should really get over the "oh my god, my ancestors own slaves and I'm so ashamed" response. Like it's really not that big a deal for your worth as a person who's in your blood. The rape of female slaves by white overseers and masters happened in the past, children were born of those rapes, and a lot of black people have to reckon with that blood in their ancestry. Obviously, that doesn't mean those black people agree with slavery, and the same goes if you're white or any other race. You're not a better or worse person because some shit in your family tree owned slaves. It's much more important that we look at slavery's legacy and make sure we mitigate and compensate for the lasting consequences it's had on American society, no matter who we are or whose DNA we carry.

  9. Lots of confederate soldiers joined and fought because after the north embargoed/blockaded the south, food was extremely short. This was exacerbated by the 'Cotton is king' mentality. Many poor young men joined just to earn a meal a day and maybe get to shoot the people they believed were deliberately starving their friends and family.

  10. The comparison made in the beginning is ridiculous. Growing up in the south in the 1850s supporting the confederacy is what most of us would have done.

    Not close to raping children.

  11. It was for States' rights? Yeah, their right to own slaves. I'm not even American and I know this.
    Props to Anderson Cooper. His response was genuine. He didn't hesitate for a second to say he deserved it.

  12. Sooo many reasons I am going to snip and save these comments . Very scary people commenting . Racists are on the Move .

  13. John Olivor doesn't get it, what a dumb brit. The Conferacy & the Union were both Americans. The Union had to burn and pillage it's way to victory.

  14. Move the statues to museums and/ or add plaques that chronicle the reason why the statue and the person is disputed.

  15. Neo-Confederates to Bernie supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Neo-Confederates to Hillary supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Neo-Confederates to Jill Stein supporters: "YOU LOST. GET OVER IT!"
    Southern City governments: "We're removing our Confederate statues because of the painful memories associated with them."
    Neo-Confederates: "BUT MUH HERITAGE!!!!!"
    Bernie supporters to Hillary and Jill Stein supporters: "If YOU GUYS won't say it to him, then I will!"

  16. The guy in the argument clip IS right, however poorly he may have put it. Only the very richest southerners had slaves. The rest were poor farmers, who were DEFINITELY fucked over when they lost the war. So, yeah, his family, from their perspective, was fighting for their farm, not for the rich people's right to have slaves.

  17. "While fascist politics fetishizes the past, it is never the actual past that is fetishized. These invented histories also diminish or entirely extinguish the nation’s past sins. It is typical for fascist politicians to represent a country’s actual history in conspiratorial terms, as a narrative concocted by liberal elites and cosmopolitans to victimize the people of the true “nation.” In the United States, Confederate monuments arose well after the Civil War had ended, as part of a mythologized history of a heroic Southern past in which the horrors of slavery were de-emphasized. President Trump denounced the task of connecting of this mythologized past to slavery as an attempt to victimize white Americans for celebrating their 'heritage' (Jason Stanley "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them" digital: p. 12).

  18. @7:37 when he says "we all kind of want to be independent" watch the guy in the white shirt behind him. He is DONE.

  19. Land of Lincoln aka Illinois …Perhaps reading a top selling book by the Kennedy brothers "The South was Right!", may or may not, shed some more light on this dark topic?

  20. Slavery has been common throughout history. Only in the last couple hundred years was it banned anywhere. We are all the descendants of slaves and slavers.

  21. The Civil War was about rights. The right to enslave people, yes, but most of all the right to deny the rights of others. And that's just America. Love it or leave it. You don't have the right to disagree.

  22. (sorry for my English)
    for fuck sake why does a dumb fuck wit from central Europe like me,
    know more about the civil war than the general population of a country where sed war was fought?

  23. they are not african american .. they are black american .. african american implies they're not born in the US ..
    else you would say a white skinned south african moving to the states is also an african american .. but you mean something totaly different with it ..

  24. Boomers: screw your participation trophies
    Millennials: okay then take down your confederate statues and monuments
    Boomers: ?

  25. I find it ironic that a show focused on dividing the country as much as possible would devote an entire episode criticizing an evil group of people responsible for dividing the country.

  26. All right on this one I need to call bullshit, most people who watch the show consider themselves Democrats, formally known as Dixie Democrats. The Democratic Party and the term Democrats was the political party that fought for slavery, if it’s not OK to have statues of Democrats I name forts after them how come nobody has a problemBeing called Democrats today? Why didn’t the party change its name to something I didn’t have a history dripping in the blood of black people?
    If you’re going to ask for a single statue to be removed because of slavery Then it seems pretty obvious nobody should be part of the party under the exact same name as the guy in the statue. That’s like saying welcome to the new pro Jewish party called the Nazi party we kept the name we just changed our . Change the name

  27. I'm Italian, my grandpa was a fascist and I loved him very much, I only did not fulfil his last wish for me to check out the monumental History of Fascism he left me to read "one page at a time". Miss you grandpa, but I don't miss that. Also, I used the postcards of half-naked teenage girls my grand uncle had taken from Italy's occupation in Africa for a thesis about all the shit we did there and forgot about. I agree with John Oliver, symbols should only be contextualised to explain what happened.

  28. The same crowd not shutting up about the confederacy being "all about state's rights" are now against State's installing their own rights for abortion, same sex marriage, gun control, marijuana usage and protection from unjust deportation for productive long time immigrants, documented or not. (but all for breaking the consitution about voting equality and separation of church and state)

  29. Look, slavery aside, the Confederates were fucking traitors who were at war with the country y’all say you love so much. They fought their own countrymen. And then they fucking lost. You’re flying a losers’ flag and it’s pathetic. Y’all keep telling us to get over slavery when y’all can’t let the past die either.

  30. To be fair, at 10:08, idk who or what that guy is but historically speaking yes slaves were expensive and only the wealthiest percentage of confederates owned them. Much like today, the wealthy control the politics of today while the idiots like this guy follow suit.

  31. Removing the statues is a way of white washing history. Soon it will be 'oh that is all a big story-there was no confederacy

  32. statues glorify and celebrate the life of people. to erect statues in memory of people that supported such a morally-wrong and outdated view of black people, is to celebrate and justify their beliefs.

  33. From a half native white guy. The real problem with those monuments is they're a constant reminder of it. Black people shouldn't want them removed or white folks might forget why they should feel guilty for slavery.

  34. Normally, John Oliver does excellent research. However, his staff really blew it on this one. It wasn't about slavery at the beginning. It was over the South's right to free trade with Europe and tax revenue being disproportionately invested in the North. Slavery came into the policy only aftet the North felt they were losing. They wanted to entice the slaves, who were fighting in the confederate army, to dessert. It worked. Sadly, Lincoln's first law trial was to return a slave to his owner from a non-slavery (free) state to a Slave state. He won that case and built his legal and political career on it. The North could not compete with the South economically because slaves were not paid wages like the workers in the North. The moral attitude of the North was not any different from that of the South, which is why emancipated slaves were never given reparations or human rights. Licoln was no hero … Only myopic hindsight bathes him in a positive light. Read the book "The Civil War". Just like today's policies and administration, the Civil war was about money and power through the absolute domination of those who do not agree. Not much has changed. Take the monuments down. That's a good first step, but it isn't addressing the source of the problem.

  35. jhon oliver your funny but ur realy a shit arguer what's socially acceptable culture will allways change whit the times if somone erected statue of you the things you stand for may one day be culturaly unacceptable and if that is the case shud your state be taken down

  36. You can’t claim the Confederacy as your heritage AND claim to belong to the party of Lincoln, ya know, since a Confederate sympathizer shot him in the back of the head.

  37. It's amazing to me how this show can be defending very easy to defend cases but still they manage to use dishonest arguments and to be convincing only to already convinced people. I think comedy and journalism or history don't mix well (partly because a good debate requires respect, not picking the stupidest defenders of an idea and pinning them on an international show)

  38. Most of the confederate soldiers didn't own slaves, nor could afford them. So it is a weird thing, that while the confederacy was instituted on the right to own slaves, many of the people in the south weren't exactly fighting to own their slaves so much as they actually believed in states rights first and foremost. At that moment in time, slavery was the hot button topic. I'm not for keeping the statues, but when some southerners say believe the issue was states rights they may not be full of shit. My real concern is just judging historical figures by modern standards as though they were raised the way we were. I'm from the north, and undoubtedly would have been pro-union/anti-slave, but if I had been born in the deep south in the mid 1800's, I, and frankly any other white people, would have probably been pro-confederacy. Anyways, I don't condone racism on any level, I just want people to try to understand each other, because hate only breeds more hate.

  39. So I'm from the UK and confederacy glorification is pretty much non existent here, although at the same time, we barely knew much about it to even care that much. Before this debacle, I don't think most knew it was so dark and controversial

    I say this because my dad was in a band and one of his band mates was a southern american man, a proud southern american dixie who everyone just called Dixie. I can't remember his actual name. That's just what he was always called

    They had a blues/rock band and he designed their logo which had a giant confederate flag as the background

    This band was around for well over a decade with this logo, and no one batted an eye honestly

    The band did break up due to health issues of their oldest members, so it never became a big issue of wanting to change it, which dixie would NOT like to happen, or keeping it and defending it

    But there were questions raised at the time because suddenly peoppe were aware of what that flag represented. The interesting thing to me that always highlights how noncontroversial it was before then, is the fact that not only did no one ever question it, but my dad's wife – my mother – is a black woman.

    This was never regarded as ironic at the time; Dixie never appeared to be racist to black people whatsoever as she came to so many gigs, and he came to family parties all the time

    The only weird southern quirks he had in that vein of intolerance was his, quite frankly hilarious at times, hatred of Yankees.

    To the British, all Americans are Yankees. No matter which state, or what part of America, if you're american, you're a Yank.

    Dixie had such pride for his South, that Yankees were still the enemy to him and we never even thought that was weird at the time because we just assume Americans are weird to begin with

    I've no clue just how much of the confederate history he was aware of and in love with, but I always found it strange how such a proud Dixie who loves his state came to live in the UK in the first place

    Apparently it's because his love of the Beatles rivaled that of his love for the south

  40. I have no idea how African American people tolerate this crap! It is so wrong to honour slave-owners and to let such monuments stand. If the authorities won't do anything, people should just take the goddamn monuments down themselves. Vandalism is the only solution to such an offensive display of stupidity!

  41. Honestly I just want to applaud the guy/gal that took the time to figure out that “Spiro Agnew” rearranges to “Grow a Penis” ????

  42. Well, I guess it would take a Tory, to bald faced lie about the history of another country…or IS it "another country"…?

    The first American Civil War was about Treason, by way of denying States the Authority granted them by the Constitution for the United States. It also concerned the federal government usurping Authority, and starting the war.

    The whole issue lies with the federal government seizing Land that rightfully belonged to South Carolina, and her people,, between 1812-1815. Maybe some of you will recognize those dates, as the timeframe for the Second Revolutionary War, between the United States and England. The Land seized, is still known today as Fort Sumter.

    By 1860, Governor Pickens, SC, was in Washington, District of Criminals, in negotiation with President Buchanen, for getting the federal government to return said Land, as set forth by the Constitution, which requires the return of properties to their rightful owners after the war it was seized to support, has ended. Upon completion of negotiations, the matter of Ft. Sumter was left at, that the federal government would not reinforce/resupply Ft. Sumter, until such a time as would allow Pickens to return to South Carolina, submit the Presidents' latest proposal and South Carolinians had the chance to vote, and Pickens returns with the results, to Buchanen.

    Instead, what happened was, as soon as Pickens left the Presidents' office, Buchanen ordered the reinforcement AND resupply of Ft. Sumter – KNOWING, that Pickens had warned him not to, because South Carolinas' Artillery Batteries – then deployed in seige of Sumter and the navigable waterways – would fire upon any Federal warships attempting resupply/reinforcing.

    By the time Pickens got to Ft. Sumter, the federal ships were already approaching Ft. Sumter, just in time for Pickens to helplessly watch the federal navy deliberately violate South Carolinians waters.

    DURING the ALREADY STARTED CIVIL WAR, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamatio, as a tool to further financially cripple the South, in a bid to shorten and/or end the war.

    It should not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the abolition of Slavery – which only applied to the South – could not have possibly been a CAUSE of the war, if it didn't exist until AFTER the war had already started.

  43. I heard a great story about the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond. When it was first suggested that a statue of Ashe be added, a conservative asked his liberal co-worker if he supported putting Ashe's statue on a street dedicated to commemorating the Confederacy. No, the liberal replied. Wow, I'm surprised you agree with me, the conservative replied. Why?
    Because Arthur Ashe was a winner, was the response.

  44. The Confederacy was treasonous. That is why the Confederate soldiers are not allowed to be buried in American military graveyards. I have ancestors on both sides, and ones who owned a shitload of slaves in the south. I even heard a story from my grandma, that one of my great-great-great-uncles or grandfathers was killed in a lynch mob when he came up under the floorboards of a house the poor black man was hiding in, and got clocked on the head. He died a few days later. Good. Any decent person can admit that their family did those things and it was wrong! Even my grandma, born and raised in Mississippi in the 1920s but moved up to Ohio, NEVER, EVER said a racial slur or nasty thing. My grandma just died a month ago at 99, and her mother lived to 101. Grandma was beyond her time, an activist, that had 10 babies, and never had a driver's license until she was over 40, attended the Kent State candlelight vigil every year for the kids killed during Viet Nam, and had a "World Peace" sticker on her car way before it was cool. Why? Maybe she was wiser, more empathetic, I don't know. But I never heard her say anything racist or hateful in her life, to spite the fact that she came from southern stock. My great-grandma, on the other hand, her mother, used the N-word like it was an endearing term. Maybe she didn't know better, but she would say, "There was this little nigger-boy up the street….," and then proceed to tell you some lovely story about her affection for the N-boy. It was weird.
    The point is, if my grandma, born in 1920, knew enough to not use racial slurs, and not glorify the south, then how in the hell is that white dude who looks to be at least 50 years younger than Gran, not know that he is a cunt?

  45. The really sad part is that among those 48% who think the Civil War was about the buzz phrase "states rights" are far too many of the descendants of those slaves who were freed as a result of the Civil War.

  46. Some six hundred thousand souls perished during the civil war. The majority were southerners who died from disease. The majority of them were poor farmers & tradesmen who weren't part of the antebellum south's plantation system and were far too poor to own any slaves. The south was virtually destroyed by the war & has never truly fully recovered from that catastrophe. (To this day The poorest states in the Union are consistently the old confederate states.) With the end of reconstruction came the second brutal repression of the black southerner with the 13th amendment, which allowed forced labor for prisoners, the Jim Crow laws & an environment which persisted for another hundred years where a black man could be imprisoned indefinitely or brutally murdered for being "uppity." The Antebellum South's legacy is one of the most disturbing chapters of American history. For some the only way to find peace with it is to glorify it in a way that glosses over it's darkest truths. It was a very unfortunate piece of American history & officially ought to be remembered as such. Six hundred thousand deaths over the right to control forced labor based on race is a crime against humanity every bit as much as chattel slavery. There's nothing to glorify in that.

  47. mcgraw-hill as well as pearson & smith textbooks (used by a majority of states in public education systems) teach that the civil war was fought over state's rights, not slavery. I know this because i remember these were the brand of textbooks i was taught with in public school (NY). This is probably why so many people are confused when asked this question. This is a systematic attack on written history.

  48. The monuments should come down. Put them in a national museum comemorating the terrible civil war. Honor the truth. No matter how hard it is to face. Our great nation has done terrible things. Let us heal honesty with integrity.

  49. So the rights the confederacy fought for were objectively wrong, as far as I care to weigh in on that much of it….but i lived in the DEEP south for a good while, and the "southern pride"/"heritage"/etc arguments are almost always just the most thinly veiled defense of racism that exists in the modern world…..but, even as a FAR left leaning independent politically….I still see tearing down any historical statues due to modern political issues as the western society equivalent of of ISIS bulldozing ancient ruins.

    If we erase the past, we can not learn from it.

  50. we shouldn't judge how people where in the past by todays standards. people today think their better than back than its bull shit. todays people are full of shit thinking that their better than people in the past. in 100 years people are going to think the same of our generation.

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