November 5, 2018

The Civil War that never ended

I've suggested from time to time that, aside from the end of slavery and succession, it's not clear who really won the civil war. For example, the former Confederacy has more votes in the Senate than does half the population. And with the arrival of Donald Trump, the best metaphor is not Nazism, but rather the Confederacy in which the more power you had the more liberty you had, in which poor whites were taught to blame blacks for their problems, and in which plantations are now known as corporations. This article expands on this them. - Sam Smith

Guardian -  If you are white, you could consider that the civil war ended in 1865. But the blowback against Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, the myriad forms of segregation and deprivation of rights and freedoms and violence against black people, kept the population subjugated and punished into the present in ways that might as well be called war. It’s worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan also hated Jews and, back then, Catholics; that the ideal of whiteness was anti-immigrant, anti-diversity, anti-inclusion; that Confederate flags went up not in the immediate post-war period of the 1860s but in the 1960s as a riposte to the civil rights movement.

... We had an ardent Unionist president for eight years, and now we are 21 months into the reign of an openly Confederate president, one who has defended Confederate statues and Confederate values and Confederate goals, because Make America Great Again harks back to some antebellum fantasy of white male dominance. Last weekend might as well have been Make America Gentile Again. And then came the attack, last Tuesday, on one of the signal achievements after the end of all-out war between the states: the 14th Amendment, which extends equal right of citizenship to everyone born here or naturalized.

....Long after Trump is gone, we will have these delusional soldiers of the Confederacy and their weapons, and ending the war means ending their allegiance to the narrow “us” and the entitlement to attack. As Michelle Alexander reminded us recently: “The whole of American history can be described as a struggle between those who truly embraced the revolutionary idea of freedom, equality and justice for all, and those who resisted.” She argues that we are not the resistance; we are the river that they are trying to dam; they are the resistance, the minority, the people trying to stop the flow of history.

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