Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reflections on Being Called a Swine

Towards the end of the comment section of Tuesday's edition of A Red Mind In A Blue State , I am called a swine, and told to look at a book designed to de-swine me Benjamin Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States.

I don't feel it appropriate to write a 500-word response in a comments section, so I only wrote a little there. My full comments are:

On The Religious Leanings of the Founding Fathers

Nice of you to direct me to a book written during the Civil War, because it allows me to share with you my basic bedtime story --

The single fact of American history is that the Union won the Civil War in 1865 -- slavery was abolished (13th Amendment) -- equal protection (14th Amendment) and voting rights (15th Amendment) were added to our Constitution.

And those people who lost the war, and who were forced to eat non-sweetened Jim Crow, forced to come back into the Union with the new amendments, they have been trying to reverse that result ever since.

They try to minimize the effect of those amendments. They try to say that the Amendments did not mean freedom, did not mean equality (and diminish States Rights), and did not give anyone the full right to vote.

(And nowadays, for sure, things are looking up for people who think like that. That voting rights decision from Indiana, just this week -- Good job)

So on one level, it has been an outrageous rewrite of American History, for the whole time from 1861 onwards, to even care too much about what the Founding Fathers wanted.

Because everything they wanted was mixed in with the compromises that they had to make on slavery.

Because everything they wanted was washed away, as Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural, in the 250 years of blood from the lash, and the 250 years worth of blood drawn from the sword.


And out of all that blood, came the only good news out of the whole 4 year ordeal

Lincoln's New Birth of Freedom.

Which meant that the old constitution was void. It still had some purpose - but mostly as background for the new Constitution, the one with the new amendments attached to the end.

And then non-believers killed Lincoln on Good Friday.


When people say that the country has been in decline since the 60s, and everything that happened since then is a mistake, or that such and such a thing proves that the 60s spirit is still alive, or that such and such a thing proves that the 60s are over, and good riddance, I always have to ask

Which 60s are you talking about?

At What Point Did America Go To Hell In A Handbasket?

Slavery was abolished in the 60s, and the 14th Amendment gave all citizens equal rights. Among other things, a labor movement, a woman’s suffrage movement, and a civil rights movement, and an attempt to inch the concept of equal rights closer to reality.

At which of those points can the country be said to go downhill?

Was it when slavery was abolished?

When we decided we had killed enough Indians?

When we released the Japanese from the concentration camps?

When we decided that maybe 15-year old girls were too young to be mothers? That maybe they ought to have a few years to get an education and figure out one or two ways to make their own money?

When the lynchings went underground, and the wife and kiddies were no longer invited to spend Sunday afternoons cheering along?

Some people say it was the invention of ragtime.

Others say it was the invention of jazz.

And all of these low points that caused -- as you put it --the country's long decline towards equality -- where the riffraff think they're good as you and me -- all these things occurred before the invention of television.

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