Monday, July 20, 2009

Miracle in Metro West: A columnist (Rick Holmes) in my local newspaper had a most interesting editorial about the bell which stood atop where John Brown’s insurrection against slavery began at Harpers Ferry. I never knew the Herculean efforts it took to get it to a place in the north near where I reside. It stands there today. There has been an effort launched to try to get the bell taken back to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia under the auspices of the federal government. I worry about that and said so. The link to HIS story is below my response to it.

Thanks, Rick, for a GREAT story! I must admit to my ignorance about the location of the bell. I had no idea it sat in Marlborough, MA. I will visit that site soon. Rick, you make good points and I usually agree with you on most everything. I keep asking myself why I am reticent about returning the bell. I reflect on that.

I suppose if it will truly be under the supervision of the federal National Park Service what harm would come to it. I fear, though, an extremist secessionist or someone of that ilk doing something destructive to the bell. The blood that was shed surrounding the issue of slavery is staggering. Remnants of the entrenched racism are surely alive nearly 150 years later, despite a part African American president, as the country is divided, to a large degree, on race and cultural lines which run deep. The effort it took to transport the bell here is astounding and it preserves in minds the moral crusade of John Brown against the so called 'peculiar institution' which he paid for with his life. The bell is a symbol of initiation of that struggle.

John Brown was a religious zealot and yet so rabidly anti-slavery. Isn't it amazing how times have changed? One questions, or at least I do, whether the religious fundamentalist ideologues of our time would take the issue of slavery as their own if it existed. It’s a hypothetical I know but personally I doubt it. The Republican party loves to say they are the party of Lincoln but their constituency bears, I fear, LITTLE resemblance to it. I still maximally fear right wing extremism and I believe it has an angry violence to it that would simply love and easily could destroy that bell most especially in the south.

I like the fact that the north helped defeat the so called 'peculiar institution' although not all northerners certainly took the moral high ground and Lincoln's effort was not so much against slavery itself, although he did not like it, as it was keeping the union together.

I see your point though, Rick. I am sure if it is under supervision of the federal government no harm would come to it. I hate, though, to see the torturous efforts of those who thought enough about that bell to get it here and I am thrilled it resides, at least for now, in Metro West!

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