Advertently or not, [Virginia Governor] McDonnell is working in a long and dispiriting tradition. Efforts to rehabilitate the Southern rebellion frequently come at moments of racial and social stress, and it is revealing that Virginia’s neo-Confederates are refighting the Civil War in 2010. Whitewashing the war is one way for the right — alienated, anxious and angry about the president, health care reform and all manner of threats, mostly imaginary — to express its unease with the Age of Obama, disguising hate as heritage.
The ENTIRE Confederate cause was about the preservation and extension of slavery. The Civil War was fought on that issue, and none other. Without slavery, there would have been no rebellion and no war. The leaders of the Confederacy were traitors, all of whom deserved to be executed for treason. That the Republican Party is trying to revive enthusiasm for the greatest act of treason in American history tells you everything you need to know about their so-called "patriotism".