By Hal Brown
|Battle of Fort Sumpter, Currier and Ives, Public Domain|
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024 the equivalent of the Battle of Fort Sumpter which marked the beginning of the Civil War will begin. The bombardment of the fort, which is near Charleston, was by the South Carolina militia. It ended with the surrender by the United State Army.
Not that anyone reading this blog needs a reminder, but briefly:
The Civil War remains the bloodiest war in American history with over 620,000 deaths. The war began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate soldiers attacked Union bases at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It was fought for four years, three weeks and six days until Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. General Joseph E. Johnston subsequently surrendered on April 26, 1865, while Kirby Smith surrendered on June 2, 1865. Cherokee General Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender on June 23, 1865. (Reference)
When the southern states seceded the country looked like this:
|Slave and free states and territories at start of Civil War|
There are several slightly different maps showing how the country looks today. Here is one of them. You get the idea.The issue of the right of people to own people who were kidnapped from Africa (those abolitionists called accurately "slaves") and force them to work for them is what ultimately led to the Civil War. It could be said to have started with the election of
The election of 1860 was one of the most pivotal presidential elections in American history. It pitted Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln against Democratic Party nominee Senator Stephen Douglas, Southern Democratic Party nominee John Breckinridge and Constitutional Union Party nominee John Bell. The main issue of the election was slavery and states’ rights. Lincoln emerged victorious and became the 16th President of the United States during a national crisis that would tear states and families apart and test Lincoln’s leadership and resolve: The Civil War.(Reference)
Today children learn to revere Lincoln as the president who freed the slaves... at least this is what they learn in school which teach history accurately.
The coming civil war could be said to have started with the defeat of Donald Trump in his attempt to win a second term and the election of Joe Biden. The beliefs in the superiority of white people which come under the general heading of MAGA have been present since the actual Civil War ended but they increased exponentially in the last century as minority groups became more and more empowered and their votes began to influence elections.
The election of our first Black president brought American bigotry to a simmering boil but by and large it didn't blow the lid of the kettle off. These people breathed a sigh of relief and their kettle of rage and resentment was removed from the stove when Donald Trump was elected.
Trump coined the term MAGA. It was a big tent which included everyone from self-proclaimed NAZI's to Christian nationalists. His regime gave such people a sense of power they hadn't felt, well, since the Civil War.
Giving credit, or blame, where it is due I have to hand it to Ron DeSantis for turning the concept of being woke from something good and beneficial into something evil. Read about his latest bigoted balderdash here: DeSantis says he’ll turn 'woke military' away from 'gender ideology'.
The upcoming election will pit people who are woke, i.e., those with empathy and who believe in accepting everyone, against anti-woke warriors and MAGA forces. It will be a war fought against those who believe that everyone should benefit equally from living in America and believe in the crucial sentence from The Declaration of Independence no matter whether they believe in God or not:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I'd like to say that it is unlikely that anybody will be killed on Election Day or as a result of a win by Biden. Only one person was killed and one mortally wounded in the Battle of Fort Sumpter. Tragically I can't say that the re-election of President Biden won't be met with violence and death. Just the other day a man threatening the president tried to crash a U-Haul truck though the White House barrier gates.
The quote, rephrased in various ways* "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it" is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana. I could turn this quote around and note that there are those who do remember history, in the case of the United States the history of the Civil War, want to learn from what they consider the mistakes of the Confederacy and try not to repeat them in the civil war they intend to engage in if Joe Biden wins the presidency.
- * This famous statement has produced several variants:
- Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
- Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
- Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
- Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
- Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
In all, violence in its many forms (which includes random violence, terrorism, hate crimes, intimidation, and vigilantism) is central to the Republican fascists and larger white right and "conservative" movement's project to end America's multiracial pluralistic democracy by gutting the rule of law and the country's democratic and other societal institutions.
Trump's greatest appeal is how he gives his followers and others in the MAGA movement's orbit permission to be their worst true horrible selves. Violence bonds members of a social group together; this is especially true of political personality cults such as the Trump MAGA movement. Healthy democracies discourage and outlaw political violence because it is antithetical to normal politics with its rules-based deliberation and collective decision-making and other ways of attempting to be legitimate sources of authority among the governed.
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Blogs by Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist. More about me.