Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Civil Agreement: I wrote this letter to The Boston Globe regarding Jeff Jacoby's January 5, 2011 article entitled "Reliving -- and denying -- an Ugly Past (link below)

Jeff, astounding we agree. Your January 5, 2011 The Boston Globe article "Reliving -- and denying -- an ugly past" was beautifully written and quite correct. It did not skirt the obvious and provable pre and post Civil War history of our country that slavery, indeed, was the Civil War's centrifugal force. To say that slavery was not the inextricable fact of the so called southern "cause" is like a Holocaust denier saying the Holocaust did not exist to the extent that Jews say it did. Those who deny both make me see red.

I suggest, if you haven't already, watching on PBS "American Experience" a biography of exalted-to-sainthood-by-the-south General of Confederate forces, Robert E. Lee. It speaks to interesting truths most especially about the background and personality of Lee. I never have held any illusions about southern Confederate history as I hold no illusions about the morphing of the contemporary Republican Party into its Dixiecrat child. The Republican Party bears absolutely no resemblance to the party of Lincoln despite the myth that Republicans love to perpetrate themselves as the party of him. The Republican Party today and its Dixiecrat parent resemble more the biography of Robert E. Lee.

Until his death the only regret Lee had was that he lost the biggest battle of his life, the Civil War. He did not regret ever having fought for essentially the preservation of slavery (he had 200 slaves) and for what he considered was "the cause of states rights.” States Rights was the ever-present euphemism (and still is in other ways today) which gave cerebral comfort to those who used it as intellectual cover for the perpetuation of slavery and the insurance it bestowed of a permanent black under class in the south. It was an intellectual ruse so that the southern states could maintain slavery and not have it be declared illegal by Federal executive order.

The south first thought the election of Lincoln would undermine the white valued way of life. They were wrong. Lincoln wanted compromise and wanted to do anything to keep the union together. The Emancipation Proclamation was done not so much because Lincoln loathed slavery, although he did not like it very much, but was rather revenge since the south did not capitulate immediately after its initial heavy losses. Contrary to what Lincoln thought, the Emancipation Proclamation gave the Confederacy under the command of Robert E. Lee its necessary infusion of anger which fueled the righteous might of their cause. Robert E. Lee held that and, indeed, used it to catapult him to southern fame.

Lee believed in the white Christian male superiority above everything else and that god ordered him to defend it. He became a fanatically religious Christian despite the obvious hypocrisy that he believed in (as de Tocqueville stated) that "peculiar institution" his entire life. To forget this fact is to deny history. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis too, in the end, were lucky they were not hanged for treason. Were it not for the benevolence of President Lincoln and Union General Ulysses S. Grant they would have.

There are hundreds of monuments to Lee in the south. Having those monuments would be like Germany making hundreds of monuments to Hitler and scattering them all over Europe. In total deaths, the American Civil War was the deadliest war in American History with over 620,000 fatalities. Lee died of a massive stroke maybe as he contemplated the death he delivered both to his beloved Confederate troops and to the nation against which he committed treason.

The angry sentiments surrounding our nation's fracture have not mended entirely even to this day. One can clearly see much of it. Whether one calls our fight the Civil War, the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression, it is emblematic that the passionate divisions which created that war still exist. Robert E. Lee, I believe, would find a home in the Republican Party today in general and the Tea Bag Party movement in particular. This is a sad fact of our collective American experience indeed but one which cannot be denied!
Base of Support: This was printed on the NYT comments section in response to its article "Republicans Set to Wield New Power in Washington"

If President Obama ignores his base he does so to his peril. The Republican House does NOT reflect the nature and desires of the American public. It reflects the fact that white people especially those who do not understand economic realities had cold water splashed on their face by the president's election AND it reflects that the president's base, people LIKE me stayed home and did not vote (although I personally DID vote Democratic.) Much of his base and his supporters are young liberals, left of center allies, most minorities and women as well. IF our base gets out to vote en mass like they did in 2008 Mr. Obama will be elected and Republican efforts to put into law their rancid destructive ideals stymied. If the president's base is discouraged and embarrassed by the president's kow towing to mainly white Republicans than his tenure in office will be brief.

He and other Democrats should know in no uncertain terms that compromising the hallmark of the FDR's New Deal legislation, Social Security and Medicare is OFF limits. His base IF he cuts or eliminates those programs will sit home and not vote. Why should they vote? Either he is for those majorities who brought him to this pinnacle of world power or he is not.

The Republicans SAY they will not compromise while they hold ONLY the House. They seem to mean what they say. They dig in their uncompromising heels in even when they were responsible for the ditch into which this nation was thrown. Their actions should be met with equal and opposite STEADFAST reactions by Democrats.

There can be NO compromise on the greatest programs this nation has ever seen. To leave the fate of millions of elderly, disabled or sick human beings to Wall Street banksters is to assign those sick, elderly and disabled to a certain short life and eventual early death. Ironically the Republican party IS the TRUE death panel.

The markets have betrayed the public over and over and over again. Maybe some day our American public will learn. The Republican party is bought, sold and tied in a bow for the top 2%. It is a party NOT about the middle class or the poor. It is masochistic for a public again and again to vote a toxic brew into power who care only about the very very rich.

We on the other side of the isle should be GLUED to our seats, GLUED to our philosophy, GLUED to our principles. We should never falter and we should never fail. We are at a crossroads perhaps similar to our Civil War era. Either we succeed as a nation together or we fail. Mr. President and all Congressional Democrats, it's up to you to ensure your own fate and the fate of our Republic as well!

Do NOT forget your base, Mr. President, your legacy, so far not all I would have wanted, but admirable nonetheless, in 2012 will be at stake. Make no mistake your base is watching!