Sunday, January 06, 2013

After a reprieve of 150 years it looks like the Civil War is heating back up.

Courtesy of Salon:  

You can’t boil one of the most tumultuous periods of American history down to one paragraph, but here goes: Lincoln was assassinated by a domestic terrorist and replaced by Andrew Johnson, who was an incompetent hothead and an unapologetic racist. Within a few years the ambitious project of Reconstruction fell victim to a sustained insurgency led by the Ku Klux Klan and similar white militia groups. By the late 1870s white supremacist “Redeemers” controlled most local and state governments in the South, and by the 1890s Southern blacks had been disenfranchised and thrust into subservience positions by Jim Crow laws that were only slightly preferable to slavery. 

So even though it’s a truism of American public discourse that the Civil War never ended, it’s also literally true. We’re still reaping the whirlwind from that long-ago conflict, and now we face a new Civil War, one focused on divisive political issues of the 21st century – most notably the rights and liberties of women and LGBT people – but rooted in toxic rhetoric and ideas inherited from the 19th century. 

We’ve just emerged from a presidential campaign that exposed how hardened our political and cultural divide has become, and how poorly the two sides understand each other. Part of the Republican problem, in an election that party thought it would win easily, was that those who felt a visceral disgust toward both the idea and the reality of President Barack Obama simply could not believe that they didn’t represent a majority. As many Republicans are now aware, the party now faces an existential crisis. It’s all very well to go on TV and talk about attracting Latinos and downplaying cultural wedge issues. But the activist core of the Republican Party is neo-Confederate, whether it thinks of itself that way or not. It isn’t interested in common cause with Mexicans or turning down the moral thermostat. Just ask Rick Santorum: What it wants is war.

You know when we first started talking about this, in the run up to the election, I think a lot of people were fairly skeptical that things could deteriorate badly enough that we might actually have concerns of another civil war erupting.  I would imagine that a number of those skeptics have had second thoughts as they have watched how entrenched the Southern Republicans have become in Congress, the reaction of some conservatives to the shooting in Newtown, and the emotional meltdown that we observed after President Obama was reelected.

It is interesting that this article talks a great deal about the movie "Lincoln," because when I was watching the movie all I could think about is that if I were sitting in a theater in Mississippi or Alabama, I am pretty sure the mood inside the theater would have been significantly different. And I somehow doubt that on THOSE movie houses the audience rose from their seats at then end, as they did in Anchorage, and clapped their hands as the credits rolled.

No somehow I believe THEIR reaction was something else entirely.

At this point I am not convinced that there will be an actual exchange of gunfire between the two ideological sides, however I will point out that the rather startling increase in gun sales is certainly NOT so that these yahoos cans shoot more tin cans off of fence posts.

And with President Obama discussing placing limitations on access to those guns, you can almost smell the fuse being lit on this powder keg right now.


  1. Anonymous1:03 PM

    After seeing the movie "Lincoln" last week I was thinking about the damage done by the Reconstruction period. President Lincoln had no plans to seek revenge against the south. I think conditions and attitudes there today would be very different had the assassin not been successful in killing President Lincoln.

    1. Sally in MI5:52 PM

      You are so right, Beaglemom. Lincoln was a man who believed in AMERICA, good or bad, right or wrong. He would never have wanted more blood to be shed once the war ended. He would have stood up for the freed slaves.

  2. I watched Lincoln over Thanksgiving weekend while in Wisconsin and the audience applauded at the end too.

  3. Anonymous1:11 PM

    As a conservative, I can tell you the fuse was lit on November 6th, 2012.

    The bomb was a dud.

    The GOP is a dud.

    And they know it.

  4. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Gryphen, I bet they did stand and applaud at the end of Lincoln...but for very, very different reasons...

  5. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Civil war? In the US? What a lot of malarkey! It would be the Pentagon and the US military vs. Idiots with guns. Let's worry about something real.

    1. Anonymous4:48 PM

      Let's worry about something real.

      It is real. Interesting how much worrying goes on about several hundred terrorists on the other side of the world that do plot to harm the Us, and people ignore the fact that many, many more than that are right here among us, that are better armed, and in some cases have even more hate in them.

    2. Sally in MI5:50 PM

      1:30: This IS real. These militia groups think they are above the law, and every time some Rand Paul or Paul Ryan says something about the evil government, it only reinforces their fears and encourages them to buy more assault weapons and stock up on water.

  6. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Well, Gryph, I know you're an atheist which is your right, but Romans 1:22: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." That's how "I" think of these frauds. When the GOP starts exhibiting true "Sermon On The Mount" caring for citizens of this country, I MIGHT start listening to them.

    Oh! Pardon me, I forgot, that's a LIBERAL agenda. Silly me.

    Carry on.....

    1. Sally in MI5:49 PM

      Yes, but it used to be the Republican agenda. Can you imagine any current GOPer demanding that we free the slaves and end the war without killing the leaders on the other side? No, they want their blood and their money, and they don't care who gets hurt.

  7. Anonymous2:28 PM

    This goes beyond the South. Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho...they are conservative and have some pretty radical elected officials. Oops, I forgot Alaska. Didn't you just have a trial for a militia group? I am a white southerner and I am about as liberal as they come, so don't paint us all with the same paintbrush. No, I do not believe there will be another Civil War but we do have to get beyond this period of Conservative nuttiness and oppression.

    1. WakeUpAmerica8:13 PM

      I'm pretty sure they were just talking about the conservative, white bigots and not labeling everybody. Good on ya for being one of a few liberals. I one of a handful of liberals in a military town. Not always easy.

    2. Anonymous6:46 AM

      Have you ever tried to talk to anyone in the "Conservative nuttiness and oppression" end of a conversation? You can talk yourself blue and not change one little thing. Critacal thinking,facts,history leave no impression. but good luck with trying!!

  8. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Something I can not forget are the many times we've watched videos of morons with their 'babies' -- guns -- strapped on at the locations where Obama was to appear.

    I will never understand why SS never stepped up to this issue.

  9. I'm reading the second of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child (the author who let his creation get bastardized in the movie by the same name, by the anti-Jack Reacher himself, Tom Cruise).

    Whatever you may think of Lee Child's skill as a writer (not even in the same class as Tom Clancy...snicker), this second novel has as its theme the militia crazies that exist in all 50 states and their overwhelming paranoia and lawlessness.

    It's so much like what we've been reading about the neocon nutjobs these past 4 years that Lee Child might as well be writing as a reporter, not a novelist.

    1. Anonymous6:58 PM

      Ohhhh KaJo, everybody: I encourage you to read them all. Of course, if you read one, you will read them all. Even my 84 year old MIL loves Jack.

  10. Anonymous3:01 PM

    The audience applauded after the movie in Dallas too. I suspect across the country the bigots chose other movies. (Texas and the South have no monopoly on bigotry.)

  11. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Have not seen the movie yet. But, I do know this, and it does not take the movie, the media, history, or anyone else to tell me.......

    for some people the Civil War did not end.

    1. WakeUpAmerica4:25 PM

      Just look at an American history textbook in the South, and you will know it never ended.

    2. Anonymous4:49 PM

      You're right.

    3. Anonymous6:37 PM

      I visited Alabama for a special event every year for 6 years back in the late 90s. As a born and bred Noo Yawkah (Lawng Eye-lander, to be specific!), I encountered many people who were amazed to discover that people from that liberal hellhole of NY could actually be kind and friendly.

      It was the first time I had ever been referred to as a 'Yankee' (and not always with a smile) and I was shocked when someone informed me that they would consider me the only 'Angel from north of the Mason-Dixon line'. I know they thought of it as a compliment, but it rather startled me since the last time I heard about that line was back in elementary school when I learned that the Civil War was over a long time ago.

      I suspect that many of them never got the memo.

  12. WakeUpAmerica4:24 PM

    While it is a two-edged sword, I'm mostly grateful those white, bigoted loons left the Democrat party and went Republican. BTW, is Lincoln even allowed to play in the South?

  13. Key text to read, considered the finest non-fiction work in American literature by cool heads like Edmund Wilson and Gertrude Stein: Personal Memoirs of Ulysses Grant. The publisher thought very highly of it, too; his name was Samuel Clemens (also known as "Mark Twain"). Still in print it is, too.

    1. Anonymous5:30 PM

      Hey, thanks! Just grabbed it on Kindle for .99! Such a deal for such a great historical insight!

  14. Anonymous5:03 PM

    When you have a child who keeps threatening to run away if they don't get their way, the best thing to do is to let them run away. Once they see what life is like on their own, they either give in and accept reality, or they make it on their own and you're free of them. So, let's all encourage seccession. The sooner the go, the better off we are.

  15. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I think there is a very simple solution this time around--- let them leave the union! Bye-bye!

  16. Anonymous6:17 PM

    I say we sell Alaska back to the Russians; sell the Southwest back to Mexico; and let the South stand on its own. I've had enough of these back peddlers.

  17. Anonymous11:56 AM

    We would all be wise not to paint the south as one big group of racist creeps. For one, it's simply not true. Two, I've met plenty of racists in the midwest, the north, all over the world. Racism is not a distinctly southern problem. Third, if you lump all of us together as racists, you miss a key opportunity to sway the open-minded people here to vote your way. It's usually people who have never lived in the south that assume we are all worshiping photos of Strom Thurmond every night. Nothing could be further from the truth. Southerners are, however, usually not afraid to speak their minds, and yes, many families here have a history of being abused and stolen from by northerners during the Reconstruction. For the south, the Civil War lasted another 10 years after the war "ended"--a fact many people don't know. There's a reason we still use the terms "carpetbaggers" and "yankees"--it's because in American history books there is very little responsibility taken for the way this part of the country was abused after the Civil War. Many opportunists came down here more concerned with lining their pockets than ensuring the health and longevity of the United States of America. And few tried to stop them, believing the south deserved what it got, even though that's the worst approach to ending an epic and bloody battle. If we're ever going to come together as a nation, not only do southerners have to change--everyone has to change. And our race problems need to be addressed in a real way instead of just pushing all the blame below the Mason Dixon. Are there some insanely racist people in the south? You bet. But guess what, those hateful types of folk can be found just about everywhere (look at how many people freaked out in NYC over that mosque being built near Ground Zero). Unless we admit THAT, and use that knowledge when we talk about racism in America, we can never move forward.

  18. Anonymous9:07 PM

    ‘Deport Piers Morgan’ Creator Flips Out On Morgan’s Show: 1776 Will Commence Again If Guns Taken Away

    Former Marine On Gun Control: ‘In The Third Reich…No One Saw That Coming Until It Was Too Late’


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