Striking the Confederate Rest stone is cheap moral preening

Madison’s Me-Too movement

The board of directors here at the Blaska Policy Werkes unceremoniously demoted the chief fact-checker here at the Manor, stripped off his epaulets, and canceled his subscription to Guns and Garden magazine. For the first time in over two years of faithful bloggering, a critical mistake of fact was allowed to slip into electronic print.

We suspect Russian hackers working for the Clinton Foundation.

More humbling, the mistake was pointed out by the Annoying One. What next? Will the mosquito be found to have a purpose in God’s plan?

No, Madison’s Wilson Street is not named after the most racist President since the loathsome Andrew Johnson, as the ghost blog claimed. That street, like all the downtown streets (excepting Doty and Main, we suspect), is named for a signer of the Constitution, one James Wilson. Those signers include many slavers, the Pinckneys of South Carolina, for instance.

And, for that matter, President Madison himself, the man singly most responsible for the Constitution. His demise in 1836 prompted the naming of Doty’s proposed new capital city.

This city’s moral preening

Named slave ownerUnlike the first president, James Madison never freed his slaves. A brief run at historical cleansing proposed renaming the unimaginatively named Madison Memorial High School but that faded quickly, run upon the shoals of an inconvenient fact; that being that the city itself would need be renamed. 

Then murder and mayhem erupted last August over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in the very home of another slaver’s cherished university, Charlottesville, Virginia. Madison’s envious Me-Too mayor, seeking to relive his own confrontational youth and signal his superior virtue, happened upon two monuments at an obscure corner of the Emerald City, the Confederate Rest section of sprawling Forest Hills Cemetery.

One plaque, low to the ground and installed in 1981, extolled “unsung heroes” who “fought with valor” on the side of the losing south. Its removal could be justified.

The other monument is itself Madison history, dear to the veterans who fought the Union cause, who dedicated it 112 years ago in the memory of Alice Whiting Waterman. The lady  volunteered her time and limited means to maintain a potters field of 140 southern soldiers who died here as prisoners of war in 1862. In so doing, she inspired two governors, both of whom had been Union generals, to aid in her efforts.

From left: 1) Alice Whiting Warterman, 2) one-armed Gen. Lucius Fairhchild, 3) the memorial to Mrs. Whiting and her boys, 4) the 1912 WI State Journal article announcing the dedication of the stone

After her death in 1897, two former Union Army captains, members of Wisconsin’s famed Iron Brigade, solicited funds from their former enemies in the south to erect the memorial. Those two captains, one of whom lost an arm at Second Bull Run, presided as the Lucius Fairchild post #11 of the Grand Army of the Republic dedicated the stone in 1912 to great fanfare from the citizens of Madison.

Phair has divined sinister motives undetected by the soldiers who actually fought to end slavery. The enlightened Alder, possessing all four of his limbs, condemns the memorial stone as a mysterious, evil talisman encouraging fever dreams of white supremacy upon all who gaze upon it.

The cenotaph’s hateful words crack like the overseer’s whip on the backs of enslaved Africans, inciting racists to new frenzies of hate:

“Erected in loving memory by United Daughters of Confederacy to Alice Whiting Waterman and her boys.”

“Her boys” being 140 Confederate soldiers who died as POWs in Madison shortly after their capture in 1862. Their names are engraved on the stone, the first permanent record of their burial.

Ald. Phair: ‘All white people are racist’

Urging the retention of the memorial to Alice Whiting Waterman at Confederate Rest cemetery, Madison citizen Patrick M. O’Loughlin argued:

Dear Mr. Phair, … I believe you are engaging in guilt by association when you condemn the marker because of WHO put it there, rather than what it actually represents (nothing more than a grave marker.) There was no racist or white supremacist message on the marker. No reference to the lost cause either. 

If we are going to revisit history based on 21st Century “progressive” values, then we should be prepared to consider renaming our city and several schools so that they do not honor an actual slave holder (as opposed to the Confederate conscripts buried in Madison.) And don’t forget that our first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson was also an openly racist supporter of eugenics (along with liberal saint, Margaret Sanger.)

Ald. Phair responded:


Ald. Matt Phair

You make very fair points about some of our past “progressive” leaders. The difference in my mind is that groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy were trying to resurrect an ideal that many in society were trying to put behind us.

No doubt, some of our past progressive leaders were rather overtly racist and should be plainly called out as such. Some today are still racist they’re just more covert about it. And, you’re absolutely right that when we start discussing race, it quickly points back at many of us because, I believe, most white people, past and present, are complicit in the structural racism that has shaped our society for decades and centuries. However, to my way of thinking, that isn’t a reason to not do the right thing. Which is to take down a symbol (albeit small) that harkened back to a time of human enslavement, state violence and Northern white complicity. 

Tell the Madison Council not to dishonor the Civil War veterans on both sides who buried their hatred on this northern soil. E-mail all 20 Madison Alders. The council meets 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: It is hard to fathom Ald. Phair’s arrogance and that of his fellow alders, who fought no mortal battles, faced no enemy fire, shed no blood in the cause of freedom. That they presume to claim the moral high ground over the one-armed survivors of the Union cause who caused that stone to be is moral preening, a-historic and undeserved.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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33 Responses to Striking the Confederate Rest stone is cheap moral preening

  1. David,
    Now this blog shows real integrity where in the delusional mind of AnonyBob deleting the blog that was in error showed integrity. No surprise that deleting an error is what the left would thing is integrity, hide it like it never existed is integrity to the left. Obviously AnonyBob, like so many on the political left, don’t understand what real integrity is all about – big surprise there, eh?

    I commend you for posting this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. old baldy says:

    “For the first time in over two years of faithful bloggering, a critical mistake of fact was allowed to slip into electronic print.”

    Not even close. But this has been a factually challenged week for the squire, so we best cut him a little slack.


    • David Blaska says:

      When I make a mistake, I admit and correct it. If there are others, please point them out instead of making vague, unsupported allegations.

      Liked by 2 people

    • old baldy wrote, “Not even close.”

      Prove your allegation.


    • old baldy says:

      Well, you whiffed on the adultery statute; state employees contributing to benefits; never making fun of a persons physical appearance; and G-Tac for starters. But then, who is counting…….?


      • David Blaska says:

        Still insisting state employees paid their fair share of generous pensions? 30 cents for every hundred dollars paid by taxpayers? Serious?


      • old baldy says:


        Your original claim was that state employees didn’t pay anything to their retirement, now you alter the claim to “fair share”. And that 3 cents on the dollar isn’t correct for all employees, as the contribution varied by bargaining unit. So to answer your question, yes.


        • David Blaska says:

          The overwhelming majority of state employees paid NOTHING toward their pensions for years and years! The few that paid a little bring the total to 0.3% — Taxpayers paid the other 99.7%! But let’s do the truth stress test: if state employees had been paying toward their pensions all along, that nothing had really changed, then why the mob scene at the state capitol? While we are at it, what mistake did your Squire make in re: G-Tac?


      • AnonyBob says:

        You need to add: “…as bargained for in good faith with the state in lieu of salary increases.” Marty Biel should have foreseen the upcoming slimey GOP demonization politics of division against all those greedy state employees. (Hey, your Tommy never did it.)


        • David Blaska says:

          Tommy never did it because state tax revenues were rolling in. I know because I was there. Walker takes over with the transportation fund empty, the Patients Compensation fund raided, tuition reciprocity with Minnesota defaulted, and the economy in a recession — and you say the answer is to keep jacking up taxes on already overtaxed citizens!


  3. To ignorant people like Alderman Phair anyone and anything that supported the Confederacy was or is racist. Alderman Phair is a willing tool of the social justice warrior movement.

    The fact is that the vast majority of southerners were very poor, very rural people that did not own slaves, and fought in the civil war to protect their families and homes from what they considered a military invasion from the north. The civil war was about far more than just slavery to those that actually fought and died in the civil war and that is why there are monuments all over the United States that honor the soldiers that fought and died even if they were in the Confederacy.

    The social justice warrior movement trying to label absolutely anything related to the Confederacy as being racist is the movement that is literally trying to rewrite history into social justice warrior delusions. Not all things related to the Confederacy are racists and anyone that says or implies such things is a social justice warrior unethical political hack.


  4. AnonyBob says:

    Dave, you’ve made my day. Hope you’ll overlook the glee I showed earlier at catching you in factual error, it’s hard to resist a victory lap. I’ll take slight issue with my comrade, old baldy. I mean, you’re wrong about a lot of things and often selective in your choice of facts, but it’s rare for you to make an outright false statement and when you do you usually correct the record.
    Meanwhile, Zoloft Squawks is starting to worry me.


    • AnonyBob wrote, “Meanwhile, Zoloft Squawks is starting to worry me.”

      It’s interesting that the sophomoric AnonyBob would write that without a single word of reply to my comment above…

      “Now this blog shows real integrity where in the delusional mind of AnonyBob deleting the blog that was in error showed integrity. No surprise that deleting an error is what the left would think is integrity, hide it like it never existed is integrity to the left. Obviously AnonyBob, like so many on the political left, don’t understand what real integrity is all about – big surprise there, eh?”

      So I’m starting to worry AnonyBob; well as Garfield would say “big fat hairy deal”.

      In all honesty I should be worrying AnonyBob, he now knows that there’s another person that’s not going to put up with his trolling BS and he ‘s worried that doesn’t have the intellect to handle the related challenges ahead.


  5. richard lesiak says:

    I hereby make a motion to move said monument to the front lawn of the Blaska Stately Manor. To be thereafter protected and maintained by David Blaska and his heirs till the end of time. (Which I recently read was going to be 2023 so not a big deal.) All in favor say AYE.


  6. Nancy says:

    Why not do a tour like the Stanley Cup and have each and every Alder display it proudly in their front lawn before it comes to it’s final resting spot at Stately Blaska Manor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • richard lesiak says:

      I sent an e-mail to Phair at the Common Council explaining what Blaska and I agreed to. Waiting for his response. Will keep you all posted.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sprocket says:

    Phair is everything I expected. He isn’t offended by the actual monument itself, but by what he believes to be the views of some of the people who erected it. This while conveniently omitting any reference to the Union soldiers instrumental in the project. So, what he’s really banging on about is ideological purity. Specifically the need to erase from history any suggestion that there has ever been a perspective other than the correct one, the one dictated by his ideology. “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.”

    While a historical marker in a forgotten corner of Madison is, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. I have to believe that the enthusiasm of Phair and his fellow travelers for historic revisionism will not be confined to Forest Hill Cemetery. Once you’ve airbrushed Trotsky out of the photos, why stop there?

    Something stuck me while writing this. That is Phair’s disregard for the Union soldiers and their attitude of honorable reconciliation is more than rhetorical convenience and lazy thinking. It is fundamental to leftist political ideology. If your core values are class and race factionalism, those must exist. Otherwise the rational for your ideology disappears. For your worldview to flourish, there can be no end to grievances real or imagined. There can also not be reconciliation, there can only be revenge, the more petty and spiteful the better.


  8. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    “…hard to fathom Alderman Phair’s arrogance.” Really? He’s a Madison liberal from Central Casting. Arrogance is in his DNA. As always with such specimens, doing the right thing (according to their dim lights, anyway) is infinitely less important than being SEEN to do the right thing. When they saw Confederate memorials being taken down by sanctimonious liberals in other cities, they searched desperately for some way to hop on the bandwagon and, by God, they found it. Just another example of virtue signaling, aka liberals’ favorite pastime.


  9. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    Don’t you hate it when you punch the “Post Comment” button and two seconds later you think of something you wanted to add to your original post? So here goes: Not long ago, the “Wisconsin State Journal” used to regularly publish a list of local criminals (including their photos) on the loose, a sort of Madison’s Most Wanted. Not surprisingly, three quarters of those featured were black or Hispanic. Predictably, letters started pouring in from outraged liberals demanding that the paper discontinue this (obviously racist) feature and, just as predictably, it was discontinued. What does this have to do with Madison’s Confederate memorial, you ask. Just this: Madison liberals are so committed to their vision of this town as the pristine embodiment of “progressive” values that NOTHING, no matter how insignificant, can be allowed to besmirch it. The fact that publishing a photo gallery of wanted criminals, many of them dangerous felons, might contribute in a small way to public safety never entered their calculations. The fantasy lives and must be protected at all costs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. richard lesiak says:

    Let’s move it unto the 247 acres of public land that the state is giving to the Kohler Corp. That way we can both honor these people and retain the public land we all own. But; then again, there isn’t any big money donations tied in to a Civil War Memorial.


    • Batman says:

      According to Ritchie:
      “Let’s move it unto the 247 acres of public land that the state is giving to the Kohler Corp. That way we can both honor these people and retain the public land we all own. But; then again, there isn’t any big money donations tied in to a Civil War Memorial.”

      Factually untrue.
      Kohler Co. owns the 247 acres and wants to build a golf course. The state owns 5 acres of the proposed course.


  11. David Blaska says:

    I am but resolution forbids private placement.


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