Wednesday, December 12, 2012

That Glaring Divide

In the wake of President Obama's re-election victory over Mitt Romney, opponents are saying, "America is divided as ever." No, it is not. It was divided as ever on the eve of the Civil War. It is that division that has haunted this country ever since. If you want someone to blame, start with the British and the Portuguese for introducing slavery into the Americas over 500 years ago. That is where our troubles began, long before there was an "America." It began on this continent 100 years later when the nascent colony at Jamestown imported African slaves fro the Caribbean to work its tobacco farms. No one could have known at the time that that one act - born of greed and ignorance - would foster a divide that has lasted the entire life of Europeans on this continent.

People think the Confederacy lasted only four years. The military defense of the Confederacy lasted four years, from 1861 - 1865. The Confederacy itself began to consolidate before the Revolutionary War,. At the time, tensions between slaveholders and abolitionists took a back seat to the animus the colonists held for the British. By the time of the Civil War, the lines were starkly drawn. It was the Mason Dixon line that separated America down the middle, not anything Lincoln said or did. The South seceded when Lincoln was elected in 1860 - not because of anything Lincoln did, but because of what the South was doing (to African-Americans), and their fear of what Lincoln would do to them.

The Confederacy, comprising the slave states of America, once stretched from Texas in the West to the Carolinas in the East. That same Confederacy still exists - not in the name, of course, but in spirit - having remained politically homogeneous throughout the centuries.

The Daily Show's John Stewart, in his mock coverage of the 2012 elections, declared, "This just in: We project a win for Obama in Pennsylvania." A moment later, he said, "Good news for Romney: We project he will win most of the Confederacy." And so Romney did. The Republican Party almost always wins the entire Confederacy. It is the foundation of the Republican hopes in election after election.

With such an unabashed connection to the most sordid element of America's past, how can the Republican party hope to convince ta 21st century electorate - ever more comprised of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians - that it is looking out for their interests? Yet, they do not address that association Rather, they look outward and blame Obama, similar to how the antebellum South blamed its problems on Lincoln.
Meanwhile, people the world over are celebrating Obama's victory, while Republicans in 20 states talk of seceding (once more.) Obama is driving them crazy. It is deja vu all over again.

If the Republican Party has not the guts to shake it dependence on America's Confederate past, then it should embrace that past fully, since it must represent the soul for their hopes. Become what you are, even if that means breaking away from the RINDS (Republicans In Name Only) and forming a third party. You can call yourselves "The Confederate Party of America". That shoe fits.

It is time the Confederacy came to an end once and for all. Time to dismantle the granite carvings of Confederate icons such as the one at Georgia's Stone Mountain of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. These men defended the despicable institution of slavery - not America - with their lives, calling it "the honorable thing to do." (Talk about a "divide" - Fie! With heroes like that, America, you are the divide.) Monuments to such a sadistic past is no different than if the Germans placed sculptures of Hitler, Goebbels, and Goering at the Brandenburg Gate.

Until this country confronts the many vestiges of slavery that haunt us still - until it decries all organizations (such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, UDC) that insists on celebrating men and events of that brutal past; until the Stars and Bars, banner of the Confederacy, is lowered forever, and cast among that discredited lost that includes the Nazi swastika - we will forever glare across that great divide.

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