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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Hollywood Cemetery

Richmond, Virginia

Dearest Ambassador Haley,

I am writing from the distant past to offer some modest thoughts about your exciting future. I understand congratulations are in order as you embark on the journey to seek the presidential nomination of the party of states’ rights, nullification, and secession. (One hundred thirty years after my death, the irony is not lost on me that the Party of Abraham Lincoln is now where those sacred values reside.)

Now, I appreciate that you have not formally declared your intentions for 2024 or, if today’s abolitionists, free soilers, and civil rights crusaders of the North and West succeed in their current treachery, in 2020. But with the resumption of your defense of the flag of our Confederacy, you sent an unmistakable signal to our shared supporters that you shall pursue the highest office in the land.

It is on the meaning of that glorious banner under which in 1861 our “little army, derided for its want of arms, derided for its lack of all the essential material of war, has met the grand army of the enemy, routed it at every point, and now it flies, inglorious in retreat before our victorious columns” that I now offer you counsel. Having proudly defended the flag in 2015 “as a memorial, a way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict” and in 2019 as representing “service, sacrifice and heritage,” you nevertheless removed our pride from the capitol in Columbia. Of the gallant avenger Dylann Roof, a young man any white Southerner with a soul could easily imagine riding alongside Nathan Bedford Forrest or marching with Stonewall Jackson, you said “the hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag,” a view which “hijacked everything that people thought of.”