Amidst controversies surrounding increasing veteran suicide rates, presidential conduct towards war widows, and the seemingly never-ending conflicts in the Middle East, it seems like the opportune moment to push aside the politics and to take time to reflect on the sacrifices members of the armed services and their families have made to protect the democratic practices and ideas we hold as key to our American identity.
The two articles in this series offer a glimpse into the efforts some of us have made to resist the worst excesses of his presidency, and the role history has played in shaping our responses. As historians, we have an obligation to speak truth. As citizens, we have an obligation to speak truth to power. This series documents both.
It might seem that memory and heritage have lost their power to excite political action and are no longer the medium through which white supremacy is asserted. Yet Lost Cause mythology has never gone away and maintains its firm grip on the thoughts and emotions of many white Americans.
The road to Charlottesville is a mighty traffic circle—at once our future and our past. It has a driveway into every home—an entryway into every American life. The goal of this issue is to map its ideological and physical expanse. In so doing, we hope to close some lanes or, at the very least, to make a few potholes.