Friday, February 11, 2022

Civil War - Anything But Civil!

People today actually pine for civil war without knowing what it really means.

When I was a kid growing up in the North, we had this sanitized view of the Civil War.  It was "Johnny Reb" fighting the Yankee Blues and we knew which was the more interesting character.  It is like the Nazis - they had much snazzier uniforms, backstory, and symbolism.   Perhaps that is why both Confederate battle flags and Nazi swastikas are still so popular today - it is a style thing.

Of course, we were taught the South was wrong and slavery was bad.  But even back then, the teachers waffled about how the war wasn't just about slavery. Something, something, State's rights.   But as we know now, that was just apoligism for the South, perhaps as an attempt to heal.  A lot of bad was swept under the rug as a result.

And of course, in the South, the "War Among the States" or the "War of Northern Aggression" wasn't really ever lost.  "The South shall rise again!" they said, and in a way it has - as a low-cost, non-union far-right haven in many instances - although that appearance can be deceiving.

As I noted before, we were in Maine last summer and some local was trying to egg me on. "So you're from Georgia?" he said, "All I hear about Georgia is the KKK and rednecks!"

"Really?" I replied.  "Funny thing, but which State gave all its electoral votes to Joe Biden? Was it (a) Georgia, or (b) Maine?  And which State gave the Democrats the majority in the Senate?  Was it (a) Georgia, or (b) Maine?  Times up!  The answer to both as (a).  You lose!"

Because, you see, Maine is chock full of rednecks too - as is Pennsylvania, rural New York, and just about every State in the Union - whether "Red" or "Blue".  Maine is famous for its "rugged independent" Senator, Susan Collins, who claims to be an individualist who doesn't march in lock-step with Donald Trump except that she does and has a spine of wet spaghetti.   Maine also had a famous governor who was just slightly racist (thanks to perpetual three-way governor's races - something blocked with ranked choice voting in that State - progress is possible, even in Maine!).

So the idea that "The South" is one cohesive mass of like-thinking right-wing Republicans, and that "The North" is one mass of left-leaning Democrats, is flawed.  Even California - particularly California - has a lot of right-leaning folks, particularly up North and outside of the cities.  Remember it was California who elected Ronald Reagan governor and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well (although both would be considered "RINOs" in today's political spectrum).  We are no longer divided, State by State, but divided nevertheless.

The romanticizing of the Civil War was perhaps inevitable.  The song above - "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" was first recorded by The Band and written by a Canadian.  It was made famous by left-leaning Joan Baez.  Why would liberals feel sorry for people who fought for slavery?   I guess it is the natural tendency to feel sorry for the vanquished, although I don't recall much sympathy for defeated Nazis after World War II.  Of course by then, everyone was a "civilian" or was "just following orders."   I guess we do feel sorry for people who were lead astray by opportunistic political leaders.

But the reality of civil war - any civil war - is brutal. It is literally neighbor killing neighbor.  Most civil wars don't have clean State boundaries as ours did in 1860.  And if a civil war broke out again in the USA, it wouldn't have such neat boundaries, either.   You might wake up one morning to a knock on the door and a gunshot to the head.  That's how civil wars are fought.

And even our Civil War was fought that way, in part. In addition to orderly lines of uniformed troops shooting at each other with minnie-balls, we had "Bloody Kansas" where neighbor slaughtered neighbor, or the Confederate "raiders" in West Virginia who slaughtered entire towns.  Not the sort of tidy stuff that "re-enactors" (who are creepy as fuck) engage in.

Of course, many say the talk of civil war in the United States is "over the top" rhetoric.  I am not so sure.  We are the most heavily armed country on the planet, not only in terms of our military, but in terms of our citizenry.   On the way to a campground the other day, we saw signs in Florida advertising a machine-gun range.  "Fun for the whole family!" it cried, and only $24.99!  You can let your 9-year-old daughter shoot off an Uzi - and the instructor's head off as wellFamily fun.

The point is, we have a disorganized army of people who have massive amounts of firearms and massive amounts of ammunition.  And they have been training - at the gun range or at "retreats" offered by right-wing organizations.  While they are not organized into one cohesive unit yet they are being constantly fed a stream of visceral hatred of their fellow citizens, who are viewed as less than human and worthy only of extinction. Same shit as the Nazi's in 1936.

But what about our military?  Surely the US military with all its tanks and planes and nuclear missiles can out-fight a rag-tag collection of rednecks with knock-off AR-15s?  Right?  Well, the problem is, the military has been infiltrated with a the same sort of people.  Or more precisely, the military is a reflection of the population of the country - particularly among the poor, who often join because they lack any other economic alternative.  So the frightening scenario is, if we have another insurrection, a substantial portion of the military might go along with it.  One of the loudest voices for insurrection is "General" Flynn, who is still agitating to overturn the 2020 election.

So what are we doing in response?  We have investigations with no consequences.  The capital rioters get sentences measured in months, often no more than "time served".  Meanwhile, two women caught attempting to vote illegally are sentenced to years in jail - for trying to vote Democratic.  Down in the Villages, a number of people are caught actually voting twice and are given a slap on the wrist.

Does it take a mind reader or a crystal ball to see how this is going to play out in 2022 or more importantly, 2024?  If Trump is still alive in 2024, he will run, and win or lose, it will get ugly - uglier if he loses, because of course, he never lost in 2020, right?  The next time around, the insurrection will not be half-assed.

The January 6th committee and the various investigations by AGs and Grand Juries are like the Ghislaine Maxwell case - even after conviction, none of the men who actually had sex with underage girls have been named or charged.  It's like Ms. Maxwell doesn't know their names.  It's not like the victims don't know their names. But for some reason, these folks are not named-and-shamed, most likely because they are wealthy and powerful people.  That sort of shit feeds these crazy Qanonsense theories.  I mean, come on, a pedophile ring operated out of a pizza shop by Hillary - that's just too fantastic.  On the other hand, a guy who flies royalty and Presidents to a private island to fuck 17-year-old girls.... that actually happened.  And it was nearly swept under the rug, too.

It seems like we are on a runaway train - a slow-moving one, but one nevertheless.   Democrats are like deer in the headlights, assuming that people will vote and be allowed to vote and that the electoral college will mysteriously evaporate by 2024.   People will "come to their senses" after they barrage them with attack ads (which have been shown to be effective only against Democrats) and by the way, Bob, will you please send me some more money?  Nancy Pelosi promises that if the Democrats win in 2022, she will abolish insider trading for Congress!   Of course, she realizes that it is likely they will lose the Senate and/or the House in 2022, so it is an easy promise to make.

It is the same scenario we saw coming down in Germany between the wars.  The Wiemar Republic was a weak government, and was unloved by almost everybody in one form or another.  The far-left Communists wanted it gone, as did the far-right Fascists.  One got their wish.

Today we see the same thing happening - Ms. AOC tweets daily about how Joe Biden can legally abolish student loan debt and then threatens him with losing re-election if he doesn't comply with her demands. She would rather see the USA destroyed than saved - if it means she doesn't get her say.

Sadly, this is the feeling of most people these days, it seems.  No one is gung-ho about America or our government anymore.  Republican or Democrat, the feeling is the same - the government is corrupt and vile and nothing short of revolution will fix things.

Problem is, historically, people end up losing everything including their lives, in revolutions. And usually it is the revolutionaries who end up going to the guillotine or lined up against the wall.

I would say that people should be careful what they wish for, but I'm afraid it's too late for that.

And sadly, moving to Canada doesn't seem like a viable alternative, either!