Article VI, clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires all senators and representatives to take an oath of office. This oath requires them to swear allegiance to the Constitution. Rep. Calvert's (R-Calif.) proposed amendment to a 2016 spending bill allowing the Confederate flag to be displayed on National Park Service land violates this oath and encourages others to support an insurrectionist government, the Confederate States of America.
Over one hundred and fifty years ago, my family led the insurrection. My great-great-great grandfather, Howell Cobb, was the president of the Provisional Confederate Congress. His brother, Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, is credited with writing the Confederate Constitution. Their cousin, General Henry Benning, for whom a Georgia fort is named, led Confederate troops into battle against the Union.
They led the insurrection because my family didn't want to give up their slaves. The war had nothing to do with state's rights. It was all about slavery and the money it brought to the family. What they did was wrong and I'm appalled that Calvert wants to recognize them and other Confederate soldiers who fought to enslave African-Americans.
The Republican Party of Lincoln made my family pay for their actions. General Sherman torched Grandpa Cobb's plantation. He told his soldiers "to spare nothing." General Sherman ordered this action because my great-great-great grand-father was an insurrectionist who turned his back on the United States.
Howell Cobb took the same oath of office as Calvert. From 1849-1851, he was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States when he assumed this office. He then took a second oath when he became Secretary of Treasury for President Buchanan. Again, he swore to uphold the Constitution.
Instead of encouraging Congress to vote for the Confederate flag, Calvert should be advocating on behalf of the U.S. flag and the men and women who have died to defend it. They took the same oath of office to defend the U.S. Constitution. Placing the Confederate flag next to them violates their oath and the one Congress members took at the beginning of this session.
Krepp, a former chief counsel for the U.S. Maritime Administration, is the great-great-great granddaughter of Howell Cobb, one of the founders of the Confederacy and, as president of the Provisional Confederate Congress, the Confederate head of state until Jefferson Davis took office.