Niceley relates a hilarious story about his grandson asking him if “the south really [did] lose the war between the states?” He’s talking about the Civil War, and it was one set of states that wanted to continue running a cheap labor economy based on chattel slavery, versus the rest of the United States. That’s what he’s being asked about. But Niceley has a hilarious little quip for that: “I said well son, it’s too early to tell.”
I’ll give a few moments to stop the laughing. I’ll also give you this sobering reminder: Then-General Robert E. Lee, realizing he was surrounded and his war lost, said, “There is nothing left for me to do but go and see General Grant and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” Unsurprisingly, Robert E. Lee really hadn’t “rather” wanted anything, as he surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and then died about 5.5 years later.
Many in the chamber laugh at that piece of treason and racism. It’s a joke for sure, except it clearly isn’t a joke, as Niceley goes on:
FRANK NICELEY: I said if you compare their northern cities to our southern cities, if you compare their debt load to our debt-free states, if you compare—look at all these great companies like Ford Motor Company, Smith & Wesson, coming down south. I think I can tell my grandson: the war between the states is going on, and we’re winning.”
Here are some facts compiled by The Tennessee Holler and put on the video (but they can also be sourced elsewhere):
Tennessee is a state in the thick of a pandemic health crisis, with a GOP leadership that has pushed anti-mask mandate violence. The Volunteer State has had schools close down because of surging cases, and continues to elect people like Frank Nicely into office.
And while white supremacist apologists will tell you that he’s making an economic point about conservative, big-business politics winning the day, they would be lying. The results are in: Without money from the “Northern cities,” the South can’t run the way it’s run. And all of this lip-service to a pretend outcome to the Civil War that the South decidedly lost militarily, economically, and morally has only led to this:
Here’s the state senator’s contact info: