On June 11, 2020, protesters in Richmond, VA toppled a statue for President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis. What the protesters did not know was that by doing so, they released the ghost of Davis. I was lucky enough to secure an interview with the former (kind of) President. Below is a transcript of our conversation:
Jefferson Davis: Now, I actually would like to start this interview with a question for you, if you can handle that, Miss.
Ellie Hoffman: Yes, I can handle that.
JD: Excellent. My question is: didn’t we lose the war?
Yes, you did…
JD: Are you sure? It doesn’t fully seem like it. I like what you’ve done with the place.
Why would you say that?
JD: Quite blunt for a young lass. Anyway, I suppose we could start with the issue of sl— well, voluntary labor paid for with free housing in lieu of compensation.
JD: Why, yes. That is what we called it back in my day. It’s still here, but with all different names for it these days.
JD: Well are you familiar with what they call the prison industrial complex? Prison labor is just good ol’ fashion slavery with a new name. It’s pretty backwards too: imagine celebrating winning a war and passing the precious 13th Amendment, which just supports a new form of slavery. We in the South lost our laborers – again, the ones who emigrated to the “United” States without lodging, so plantation owners took them in and ever-so-kindly provided them with free housing – because the theater-going hypocrite in the top hat “freed” them. But he didn’t free this country of being a capitalist society, and we needed folks to fill those jobs. So, we used prisoners. A “free labor for free housing” model again, come to think of it. I didn’t necessarily think that model would last long, to be quite honest. I just assumed that since the “Union” started a war over a similar model, they would get mad at us again for it and try to shut it down. But here we are, 155 years later, and it’s still going quite strong. Like I said, “Honest Abe” was honestly a hypocrite. Yet he gets a national holiday, and my statue gets toppled.
Wow. Well said. You also really got the hang of air quotes.
JD: Such a charming thing, air quotes. There really are some nice little idiosyncrasies I have picked up since my spirit was released. I quite like those “emojis.” Those are fun. Oh, and the creative racism.
What do you mean by that?
JD: I’ve noticed all these new, creative racist practices that we certainly didn’t have back in my day. For example, young white folks will imitate the linguistic practices of Black folks, especially Black women, and use them as their own for entertainment! I’m told this is something called “appropriation.” What will they think of next!
Circling back, why else do you insist Lincoln was a hypocrite?
JD: How much time do you have? Lincoln approved the murder of 38 Dakota men by hanging. I on the other hand campaigned for a peaceful removal of Natives in Florida. Also, the whole war was about economics for him – I think I cared more about where Black folks fit in society than he did.
What are your thoughts on our current president?
JD: Speaking of hypocrites who approve of murdering minorities. You know, I was very conflicted about him, and felt like I needed to learn more. I checked a website called Wikipedia – have you heard of it?
Yes, I have. I’m surprised you were able to figure out…
JD: With all due respect, ma’am, you are the one talking to a ghost.
JD: I went onto my Wikipedia account and read that Trump’s “…reluctance to delegate responsibility, lack of popular appeal, feuds with powerful state governors and generals, favoritism toward old friends, inability to get along with people who disagreed with him, neglect of civil matters …, and resistance to public opinion all worked against him.”
That’s from the Wikipedia page about you, Mr. Davis.
JD: Oh. Well, would you look at that. I thought I felt a connection to the man. We also both got into schools thanks to family connections, got elected into office without the majority of the country voting for us, and recognize that Whites are — well, you catch my drift.
I do. Is there anything you don’t like about him?
JD: Well, I suppose I would say I dislike that he’s a stupid, lying, manipulative, bigoted fascist who is a threat to this “democracy.” The man makes me look like a saint, and I’m a powerful racist who tried to start my own country. At least I was honest about it. ✤