Confront Confederate Clodfelter

    January 20, 2018 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Miller-Golf Links branch library
    9640 E Golf Links Rd
    Tucson, AZ 85730

    Hosted by Pima County Democratic Party

    “Rep. Todd Clodfelter proudly displayed the symbol of the white supremacists on the Arizona House floor. This Saturday he’s hosting a town hall and we’ll be there demanding an explanation of his disgusting actions.”

    LD 10 Rep. Todd Clodfelter

    Carolyn’s note:  Republican LD 10 House Rep. Todd Clodfelter serves in the AZ House, along with Democrat LD 10 Rep. Kirsten Engel. They are both in their first terms and  up for re-election in Nov. 2018.  Two other Demcorats are running — attorney Domingo DeGrazia and activist Nikki Lee, in the Dem primary, two to face off in the General Election with Clodfelter.  I hear another Democrat Cat Ripley may enter this House race as well.

    Previous articleL.O.V.E. (Lifting Out Voices for Education) Rally
    Next articleCommunity Volunteer Fair
    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


      • Wow. I haven’t heard this until now.

        I was spared exposure to all that southern religion when I was growing up. My southern bred father wasn’t into it and my mother was Catholic, so we were Catholics. I owe a great debt to the Dominican nuns who were fairly progressive with respect to human rights. So was the pastor of our church who in these time would be considered an activist.

        Even so, we had our own kind of contradictions. What we learned in school versus what we observed at home, family gatherings, in the larger community, etc..

        • I may have been in a bit of a mood when I posted this last night. I find the religious right to be shameless these days, in light of Stormy Daniels and Trump’s affair while he was married to Melania and she’d just squeezed out Barron.

          They still to this day honk about Monica Lewinsky.

      • Didn’t read the editorial as I refuse to turn off my ad blocker. However, the Confederate flags, the Stars & Bars along with the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag, represent a movement that had slavery at it’s core. Anyone who says the Civil War was about state’s rights need to read the Articles of Secession for any Confederate state they choose and then try proclaim states rights while keeping a straight face.

        • Ok, here’s the entire text by Rep. Clodfelter copied:
          “I have been called despicable. Racist. Treasonous — all because I had a picture of a Confederate flag as one of the screen savers on my laptop. And yet anyone who actually knows me realizes these accusations couldn’t be further from the truth. I cannot fathom the concept of slavery, how one man could own another. To judge another on any basis other than their character and conviction is the greatest example I can conjure of weak-mindedness. Racism doesn’t diminish the target, it diminishes the proprietor.

          At the same time, and for the first time in our history, I worry about how this country is going to endure if we don’t soon come together on real issues. I know that regardless of what I write here, angry, closed minds will not change. That is their choice. Individualism, once revered throughout our country, is apparently on the way out – as is judging people on their thoughts, deeds and actions, not merely an icon. We have evolved into a culture that thrives on collective control rather than the freedom of the individual thought, allowing emotion and “safety in numbers” to prevail in public discourse. Those who profess tolerance have become the intolerant.

          Innocent until proven guilty has been replaced by instant crucifixion via social media. Proponents of these witch hunts like to pretend they are basking in righteousness, the guardians of equality and justice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their venom achieves nothing other than to inflame ideologues, and promote ignorance. Condemning someone without first having all the facts is intellectually bankrupt, and crucifying people in the name of justice is no more effective now than it was in Roman times — the people being crucified aren’t going to start agreeing with you when they get nailed to the cross.

          The fact is that hundreds of thousands of Southerners took up arms, most of them never having owned a slave, and fought with the specific belief that they were following in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers. Others were resisting an invading army marching into their state, across their farm land and into their towns. Many were just ignorant, young men looking for adventure.

          After the North prevailed, the survivors returned home to devastation: their crops burned, homes pillaged and destroyed, livestock slaughtered or scattered; entire cities laid to ruin. My ancestors among them.

          They returned. Re-planted their crops. Rebuilt their lives. Their pride in each other, in the crucible they survived, was all they could take from their past. In the struggle that followed, a new meaning for the Confederate flag was born. Many people look at the flag and see only hatred and bigotry. But for many of us of Southern heritage, it came to mean far more over time.

          Symbols only have the power we give them. Flying this flag as a symbol of white supremacy is despicable, and any use of it for that purpose should end, immediately. Flying it over memorials to Confederate war dead is simply history, and should never be erased. In the aftermath of the war, Southerners had to rebuild more than just their homes. They had to rebuild their outlook on the world, and did. Removing the Confederate flag from sight and pretending it exist doesn’t change history, it merely helps to shroud it in ignorance.

          But today, we ignore nuance, multiple meaning, in favor of coerced conformity. We have lost the ability to share different opinions in civil discussion. We instantly paint our perceived enemy with a broad brush before we ever take the time to learn who they are. Our country is a mishmash of culture, color, religion. Only 242 years young, still with hope, optimism and opportunity for the future; so long as we strive to work together and overcome our differences rather than expand on them with a mob mentality.

          The excessive interest on my personal laptop screen saver has trumped other things far more serious and alarming in nature; like sex trafficking, the opioid addiction epidemic, and child protection and welfare services — issues in front of us now that demand not only our attention, but our collaborative resolve.”

          • OMG, did he really use the “I know I have a bloody knife in my hand, but I didn’t mean to stab anyone” defense?

            What a toad.

          • Thanks for posting Carolyn.

            The good Representative just doesn’t or refuses to get that taking up arms against the U.S. Government is tantamount to treason. In that regard, in the interest of healing the nation, the South got a slap on the wrist. For all his talk about the devastation inflicted on the South and how the “survivors” rebuilt the South, he leaves out the practical continuation of slavery via Jim Crow.

            Another glaring omission is by defending the Confederate flag against those who correctly label it as the white supremacy symbol. He leaves out that the Confederate flag was pretty dormant after the Civil War and was revived when white supremacists felt threatened by equal rights movements, particularly after the Civil Rights Act was signed by LBJ. If the Confederate flag is not a symbol of white supremacy, then why is it the undisputed calling card of white supremacists?

            Unfortunately a lot of people buy into his crap.

            • The voters will decide ultimately next November. I just posted updated voter registration totals for this LD 10 District (from Pima County Recorder’s Office):
              Democrats 43,016; Republicans 37,296; Others 33,701

            • Liza, he’s probably watched GWTW so many times he believes it’s a documentary. Speaking of “God as my witness..” he would be better off believing WKRP:

          • Here is the op-ed response to Rep. Clodfelter’s op-ed from Mike Anderson in the Arizona Daily Star, “Confederate flag’s backers cite revisionist history,”

            Although the American Civil War ended in 1865, its significance and causes remain the subjects of passionate discussion and debate. This was evidenced by the recent controversy involving State Rep. Todd Clodfelter and his public use of a personal laptop computer with a Confederate battle flag emblazoned on its screen while he was attending a harassment and ethics training session in the House wing of the State Capitol.

            The flag offended state Rep. Geraldine Peten, D-Goodyear, who was sitting behind him and could see the Confederate battle flag. Peten, who is African-American, characterized it as “intimidating.”

            Clodfelter eventually agreed not to display the Confederate flag on his computer while working on the floor of the House wing, but he defended the flag as representing something different to him than slavery and racism.

            Apologists for the Confederacy and those who believe that public display of the Confederate battle flag is appropriate claim that the flag simply represents their heritage. They often claim that the southern slave-owning states seceded as a means to preserve their independence and the constitutional right of self-government. We often hear from Confederate apologists that the act of secession was to preserve states’ rights.

            All of those arguments are false. They are part of a re-branding effort that began in the South after the war. They don’t reflect the original reasons southern politicians led their constituents to commit treason against the United States.

            All one has to do is examine the words of those southern politicians to see that the war had little to do with states’ rights or the constitutional right of self-government. “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader” (James W. Loewan and Edward H. Sebesta, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 2010) is a compilation of primary source documents from Confederate leaders and southern politicians before, during and after the Civil War. It uses their words to convincingly show what the Confederacy was really about.

            Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens was a vociferous and eloquent advocate of slavery. In a speech given in 1856, the-then U.S. senator for the state of Georgia proclaimed:

            “The negro is inferior to the white man, nature has made him so … in the social and political system of the South the negro is assigned to that subordinate position for which he is fitted by the laws of nature.”

            In March 1861, Stephens, the newly-elected vice president of the Confederacy, said:

            “Our new government is founded exactly on the opposite idea: its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and moral condition.”

            “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader” reveals how secessionists repeatedly justified dissolution of the Union as the only appropriate response to the efforts by northerners to stop the spread of slavery in the territories, and to Abraham Lincoln’s election.

            The “constitutional right” that secessionists claimed was under threat in their Causes for Secession was the right to own “property” — slaves — in the southern states and within other parts of the United States.

            The act of secession and the long, bloody war came about because the southern ruling class desired slavery to flourish and spread. Any effort to spin the reasons for secession and war as an abstract “constitutional right to self-government” is disingenuous.

            The Confederacy was founded, and the war was fought, to preserve and expand slavery. The public display of the Confederate battle flag by a member of the House of Representatives was more than a thoughtless act. It was the paying of tribute to racism and slavery.

      • Todd’s opinion piece is so full of nonsense, I don’t even know where to start, so I won’t.

        No one has time to give Todd the history lessons he needs, so if he wants to see the confederate battle flag as this great symbol of the perseverance of defeated white Southerners, including his own ancestors, then he’s a Lost Cause (pun intended).

        I’m fairly certain my Southern ancestors on my father’s side were around for the Civil War. I know nothing about them except that they lived in Georgia, and haven’t tried to research them. But like Todd’s ancestors, they persevered, otherwise I wouldn’t exist.

        The connection I can’t make is that this would somehow inspire me to wave a confederate battle flag and worship monuments of Robert. E. Lee on his horse.

        My Southern white heritage is not something that I take great pride in. Nor am I proud of the white supremacist beliefs that were passed down through generations of my own family. I’m just glad I can say they weren’t the worst racists, they didn’t join the Klan, they didn’t mistreat or take advantage of black people on an individual basis. They were just passively complicit with segregation and inequality because they didn’t disagree with white supremacy.

        The confederate battle flag, whether Todd agrees or not, has become the most notorious and visible symbol of white supremacy. So, at the very least, Todd should understand that it is offensive to tens of millions of Americans and, as an elected official, he should be considerate of that.

        Todd, it’s called emotional intelligence. Pretend you have some. Not everything is about you.

        • Simple definition…

          e·mo·tion·al in·tel·li·gence
          the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

          In other words, Todd should understand that displaying the confederate battle flag is offensive to many people and he has nothing to gain from such behavior.

          So, maybe we can forget all the rest of it and just focus on that, Todd.

        • Here’s a song about how conflicted the South is. It pretty much sounds like every post Liza has ever done about being raised in the South.

          I hope I don’t offend. I think it’s brilliant and gorgeous.

          Tyminski is the voice of George Clooney in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”, and we all were expecting a bluegrass record. This is not a bluegrass song, it’s an American song.

          My wife thinks this video is disturbing. It’s supposed to be.

            • Blackbird on the old church steeple
              Spanish moss hanging in the setting sun
              Every house house has got a bible and a loaded gun
              We’ve got preachers and politicians
              Round here its kinda hard to tell which one
              Is gonna do more talking with a crooked tongue

              This towns got the good lord shakin’ his head
              Lookin’ down thinking we ain’t heard a word he said
              Word he said

              Baptized in southern gothic
              In the garden of good and evil
              Devil right here who whould’a thought it
              In a town full of God fearin’ people
              Dogs and deadbolts guard the night
              Nothing left to do but kneel and pray
              We’ve got a church on every corner
              So why does heaven feel so far away

              Far away

              Must be something in the muddy water
              Turns the whisky ’bout as sweet as sin
              Every drunk in town can sing a brown bag hymn
              Good fences make good neighbors
              But good neighbors make good lovers too
              When your man ain’t home any man will do

              This towns got the good lord shakin’ his head (shakin his head)
              Lookin’ down thinking we ain’t heard a word he said
              Word he said
              Word he said

              Baptized in southern gothic
              In the garden of good and evil
              Devil right here who whould’a thought it
              In a town full of God fearin’ people
              Dogs and deadbolts guard the night
              Nothing left to do but kneel and pray
              We’ve got a church on every corner
              So why does heaven feel so far away (far away)

              High on homegrown, smokin’ that brimstone
              Momma ain’t stoppin’, poppin’ that cotton
              No happy ever after, waitin’ on the rapture now

              Baptized in southern gothic
              In the garden of good and evil
              Devil right here who whould’a thought it
              In a town full of God fearin’ people
              Dogs and deadbolts guard the night
              Nothing left to do but kneel and pray
              We’ve got a church on every corner
              So why does heaven feel so far away
              Far away

    Leave a Reply