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The Civil War – Beware the Facts Might Change!!!

The prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire said, “History is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead”. This statement could not be more profound. I refer to history as His-Story.

If you are not aware, we are about to enter into five years of untruths, unreal assessments, and in some cases out and out lies, as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This was a critical point in time because a divided nation faced a crisis. It started in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, when Confederate batteries fired upon federal troops occupying Fort Sumter. Union forces surrendered the next day after 34 hours of shelling; the bloodiest war in the nation’s history had begun.

There is no question this was a significant event in the country’s history. However, we should be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths to cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart. There will be a lot of misinformation that will surely come, as both sides of the debate relive this chapter of American history. So be prepared for the revisionists to create many illusions pertaining to the facts as they relate to the realities of Civil War history.

It’s already begun with a surge of activity, especially among conservatives, to adjust the story to reflect contemporary political positions. One prominent effort occurred in Texas when the state school board revised social studies standards to increase study of Confederate leaders and reduce emphasis on the Founding Fathers’ commitment to separation of church and state. Some wanted to stop referring to the slave trade and substitute a euphemistic phrase, the “Atlantic triangular trade.” Thankfully, after opposition, that idea was dropped.

There was a case in Virginia where the Department of Education conceded its error in allowing a misleading textbook to be used in classrooms. They, against opposition, allowed the history book to continue to be used and the offending passage remained. Even after admitting that the inaccurate passage was “outside of accepted Civil War scholarship.” The disputed passage was a gross falsehood that says two battalions of African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy under famed Gen. Stonewall Jackson. The department would go on to say that it anticipates teachers “will have no difficulty working around one objectionable sentence”.

Also in Virginia, a few years ago, the new Governor signed a proclamation honoring the Civil War and made no mention of slavery, which again after considerable controversy he revised the proclamation. Let me add that Richmond, Virginia was the home of the Confederate capital. Sure the First Amendment protects the Confederate sympathizers’ right to write this nonsense but it is up to us to do our due diligence to understand, although we were never taught the truth, that it is untrue.

Before I go any further, let’s be clear, the war was NOT fought to free the slaves. That narrative came much later when the north was not winning and needed a reason to allow colored solders to fight. Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, although not a proponent of slavery, had no desire to end slavery at the onset of the war. He was for the free-labor ideology of equal opportunity and upward mobility. The issue of slavery, as he stated, “was the morality and future of the slaves and of slavery”. He believed if the nation remained divided on the issue of slavery, the nation would not last. If you recall he borrowed a statement made by Jesus to support this position; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Actually, Honest Abe was considering the option of sending the slaves back to Africa or somewhere outside of America to solve the problem. IN FACT, as an experiment, he sent thousands to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This experiment was not successful because many became ill and died causing him to reevaluate the decision. He also had another plan, which was to acquire land in South America to host this unwanted population to include other locations as well.

On the other side, the south, secessionist, saw it this way. Their leader Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a major slaveholder, justified secession in 1861 as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration. Abraham Lincoln’s policy of excluding slavery from the territories, Davis said, would make “property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless . . . thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars.”

The Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens said, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea… Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth.” These guys were very straightforward in their belief that the proper status of the Negro in America’s form of civilization, if free, would be the immediate cause of the rupture.

Views such as this continue today, from various quarters, because there remains enormous denial over the fact that the central cause of the war was our national disagreement about race, slavery, or more specific states’ rights. The historian Douglas Egerton says, “The South split the Democratic Party and later the country not in the name of states’ rights but because it sought federal government guarantees that slavery would prevail… routinely shifted their ideological ground in the name of protecting free labor.” I believe it was all about states’ rights similar to today’s conservative perspective.

Let’s be clear slavery was about one thing – economics. The institution and the economics derived from it built America and that wealth made America a powerful force in the world as a result. Therefore, those who try to rewrite or obscure the reality of this evil do so wishing the greatest crime ever inflected upon a people had never ended or that it would return. I suggest that you listen carefully to those who use the code word “States Rights” and hear what they are not saying.

The Confederacy broken up the United States and launched a war that killed 620,000 Americans in a vain attempt to keep 4 million people in slavery does not confer honor upon their lost cause. It’s been 150 years of folks, like back then and now, trying to change the narrative to justify why the war was fought. Some say slavery. Some say tariffs. Others say the Constitution. I found this quote where one captured Confederate soldier, as he was being marched off to prison, was asked, “Why are you fighting?” He is said to have grunted, “Because you’re here.”

If I can remind you this sounds very similar to what the Tea Baggers and the conservatives are saying now! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Drum Beats of Yesterday

The drum beat of the Republican Party’s dogma looms large in this political season as the GOP desperately try to find someone to unseat President Barack Obama. We have witnessed endless debates with the kind of political rhetoric unlike any that I’ve ever seen. Wait a minute; let me qualify that by saying not since the last Presidential election. At which time America, because of the republicans, was facing financial Armageddon and now in 2012 we are about to really see Armageddon; if one of these right wing-nuts were to become president.

I read an article recently written by the author Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad where he said:

“Four years ago, they were predicting terrorist attacks in the first month of his administration if Obama was elected. Of course, it didn’t happen—but the rhetoric sounds good. The Republican’s “Big Three,” which many call the last three, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul sound like the Supremes singing “Baby Love” asking the American People, “where did our love go” for President Obama. Stands to reason it went the same place our love for every incumbent President facing re-election went…in the gutter. Mud-throwing is a professional sport in politics. No matter what the incumbent does, it will never be good enough for the party out of power. Same goes here.

The real question is how far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Will they say anything to get Obama? Will they be, God-forbid, unpatriotic in their attacks of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief, that ended the war they started, soft-landed an economy that was falling fastest than a safe pushed off a roof, and had to fight for every single concession—even perfunctory tasks like debt-ceiling raises and payroll tax extensions. The rhetoric of refusing to compliment Obama, on anything, is not healthy for the national morale. Stands to chance that none of them would have done any better they been in the President’s shoes and the rhetoric toward healing our wounded spirits would be much different.

Under Nixon, Reagan and Bush II, the nation did what it was asked to do for the national good during recovering economies and re-election bids. The opposite party was asked to tone down the rhetoric for the good of the nation’s morale. There has been no such call from the Democrats for this President. In fact, some Democrats have added to the rhetoric. While the President has no party opposition (at this time), some in his party have kind of been getting their “digs in” on the slide… And then there’s the Tea Party rhetoric, an obstructionism that makes no sense.”

I could not have said it better. However, the difference in this election season is that the last crop of pretenders projected their bigotry vaguely in subliminal coded language. This “pool of fools” has no shame in their game. The race card is being displayed so transparently that Ray Charles can see it. One of these pretenders owned a lodge named “N-Word Head” and another had a news letter that espoused racial hatred so vial that one would think he was the Grand Wizard of the Imperial Knights. Another Republican candidate has said that “black children where better off during slavery” than today.

Wait there’s more! One of them has publically talked about succession. Another said, get off welfare and get a check. It was this guy who went on to say if you’re twelve years old you should be cleaning schools. This is not the same candidate who said if you’re black and twelve or thirteen this “buck” should be treated as an adult if he were to be punished in the criminal justice system.

Who are they talking too or speaking for? I seriously doubt these people would say that about an enemy captured in a time of war. Oh sorry, when they were in power they did and brought them to a place Called Gitmo.

This language takes me back to a time I thought had long past. This kind of thinking conjures up images of Bull Connor and Strom Thurmond. Let’s face it because the man duly election to be the Commander in Chief is a man of color. It appears to me from the rhetoric that is being hurled with such distinction that these folks have come from under the hood and taken off the sheets.

Whichever candidate might emerge as the GOP contender to which each of them has used the coded language like “take back our country”. They WILL DO damage under a cloak of cover and not worry about the law coming for them because they will be the law.

So, we are back to the question: How far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Moreover, what will they do to us, if elected! And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…

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Show us your Damn Returns

In 2009, former Senator Tom Daschle was nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Daschle’s nomination was derailed, in part, because of issues with his tax returns. You cannot be considered for a position in the President’s cabinet or any other high-level government position without allowing your tax returns to be reviewed.

At last night’s Republican Presidential Debate, Senator Tom Daschle was asked if he intended to release his tax return. After stuttering and rambling around an answer, Mitt implied that he would release his return sometime around April.

I suppose that he wants to give his accountants the opportunity to produce a return that will be more palatable to the American electorate. I mean really, didn’t you file a tax return last year, Mitt? Why won’t you show us that one?

What could Romney’s return possibly show that would turn off the American voter. Could it be that his effective tax rate is 15% or lower? And, how is it possible that us regular working stiffs could be taxed at a higher rate than the uber-rich Mr. Romney. Couldn’t that be considered a “transfer of wealth” from the poor to the rich? Did he pay any taxes at all? Without the release of his returns, these and other questions will never be answered.

It is amazing that a person cannot hold a high-level government position without showing their tax returns to the American people and yet, a man who wants to hold the highest office in the land is, shall we say, reluctant to disclose.

By Jackie Lambert
Co-Host of “Let’s Talk About It”

http://johntwills.com

http:thoughtprovokingperspectives.wordpress.com


A Constitutional Disservice


On the first day of the new Republican Congress, led by those folks who live and breathe the Constitution, showed their true convictions by subverting the very Constitution they pretend to honor. I said in an earlier post that the prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire said, “History is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead”.

This time the conservatives and their revisionist approach to reality concerning that shameful exercise last week, reading the Constitution, is yet another example of how dishonest those who preach or use the Constitution to disguise their hidden agendas and/or motives.

The selective constitutional reading on the floor of the house was the latest indication that, for all the talk of honoring the Constitution, Tea Party-infused lawmakers are more interested in editing it. I don’t know how in good conscience they could only identify those passages they felt are appropriate because the entire document is appropriate, and frankly a reality. Those omitted parts were, in fact, the law of the land crafted by the Founding Fathers they worship. What the Republican majority choose to read aloud was clearly a sterilized version of the document. News Flash – there is only one version of the Constitution and it is the complete version.

Their excerpted version of the founding document conjuring a fanciful land that never counted a black person as three-fifths of a white person, never denied women the right to vote, never allowed slavery and never banned liquor is a fallacy. Therefore, if the truth is not told about such things as the three-fifths compromise, how can we learn from our founding if we aren’t honest about it? Where they ashamed that most of them owned and profited from the despicable institution of slavery? I don’t think this is the case but I think most reasonable people should question their moral character.

What was most troubling for me was their not mentioning, or wanting to, the three fifths compromise heard and the omission of what is written concerning runaway slaves that said if a slave escaped to a free state, the Constitution required that they not be freed rather “delivered up” to their owners. By leaving out these parts amount to a fraud, in my opinion, that lets me know that, as always they use deception, which is not truth.

At the time of the first Presidential election in 1789, only 6 percent of the United States population was eligible to vote and they were white, male property owners. The 15th Amendment in 1870 was supposed to give all citizens the right to vote, regardless of their race. Well as history tells us, women did not gain the vote until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920; American Indians gained the vote under a law passed by Congress in 1924; and African Americans did not obtain the right to vote, fully, until the Voting Rights Act in the mid 1960’s.

Furthermore, it took the historic court case, Brown vs. Board of Education, in l954 to create what was originally stated in the document that all men are created equal to come close to its meaning of equality. Let me just say that the Supreme Court will require its own Thought Provoking Perspective with respect to decisions it has rendered, i.e., Plessey v Ferguson and the Dread Scott Decision. So for those sanctimonious, self righteous “real Americans” there is much disgrace contained within the document and policies that cannot be forgotten by just not reading the words out loud.

In the past 200 years, the Constitution has been amended 27 times. Americans have added laws only to take them back. In 1919, the 18th Amendment was passed. It banned the making and selling of alcohol. But it was impossible to get all people to stop drinking. Many people felt the government had no right to make laws about their private habits. So in 1933, the 21st Amendment was adopted. It repealed, or canceled, the 18th Amendment.

The Constitution is a living document which means it is open to the interpretation of the powers that be!!! I can only hope these folks don’t try to repeal those unmentioned parts they did not want read.

There are twenty seven amendments (changes) to the US Constitution. One of them (the 21st)is simply the repeal of a different one the 18th, prohibition).

Amendment I [Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition (1791)]
Amendment II [Right to Bear Arms (1791)]
Amendment III [Quartering of Troops (1791)]
Amendment IV [Search and Seizure (1791)]
Amendment V [Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due Process (1791)]
Amendment VI [Criminal Prosecutions – Jury Trial, Right to Confront and to Counsel (1791)]
Amendment VII [Common Law Suits – Jury Trial (1791)]
Amendment VIII [Excess Bail or Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment (1791)]
Amendment IX [Non-Enumerated Rights (1791)]
Amendment X [Rights Reserved to States (1791)]
Amendment XI [Suits Against a State (1795)]
Amendment XII [Election of President and Vice-President (1804)]
Amendment XIII [Abolition of Slavery (1865)]
Amendment XIV [Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, Equal Protection, Apportionment of Representatives, Civil War Disqualification and Debt (1868)]
Amendment XV [Rights Not to Be Denied on Account of Race (1870)]
Amendment XVI [Income Tax (1913)]
Amendment XVII [Election of Senators (1913)
Amendment XVIII [Prohibition (1919)]
Amendment XIX [Women’s Right to Vote (1920)
Amendment XX [Presidential Term and Succession (1933)]
Amendment XXI [Repeal of Prohibition (1933)]
Amendment XXII [Two Term Limit on President (1951)]
Amendment XXIII [Presidential Vote in D.C. (1961)]
Amendment XXIV [Poll Tax (1964)]
Amendment XXV [Presidential Succession (1967)]
Amendment XXVI [Right to Vote at Age 18 (1971)]
Amendment XXVII [Compensation of Members of Congress (1992)]


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