“Being on the wrong side of history carries consequences. V lives that truth every day. If you’ve done terrible things, lived a terrible way, profited from pain in the face of history’s power to judge, then guilt and loss accrue. Redemption becomes an abstract idea receding before you. Even if your sin — like dirt farmers in Sherman’s path — had been simply to live in the wrong place, you suffered. Didn’t matter whether you owned slaves or which way you voted or how good your intentions had been. Or how bad. You might suffer as much as the family of a great plantation, which was maybe not completely just. But if you were the family with the great plantation, you had it coming. Those were times that required choosing a side — and then, sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on?”
— Charles Frazier, writing in “VARINA”
“A part of her believed this one moment — Carolina woods, a wagonload of children, lights of heaven blazing on a clear spring night — was sufficient. An eternity in itself. A perfect instant if you erased guilt of the past and dread of the future.”
— Charles Frazier writing in “VARINA”
My working title for this post was
“Non-Shooting Civil War In America.” I thought that might be over the top, if only by a little.
I don’t see immediate danger of violent civil war in America, but I think today’s U.S. government shutdown is collapse
by premeditated sabotage by political failure. In other words, our regular political process for resolving differences has failed. Moreover, the failure is not accidental; it’s intentional. Congress, especially, has failed big time.
“This is the America that Obama will govern in his second term: A place divided not only by ideology, race and class but also by the very perception of reality. . . . The president who spoke ambitiously at his first inauguration about uniting America instead arrives at his second with the country further divided.” — Eli Saslow, The Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2013
Note: This post was published in 2013 following the 2012 presidential election. It seems more relevant than ever as America prepares for the 2016 presidential election.
Divided by ideology, race and class.
That sums up America in the decade leading up to the Civil War, as described in “Team Of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s history of Abraham Lincoln and the politicians, abolitionists, generals, and ordinary people of his era. The similarities between the present time and the decade before the Civil War are striking and frightening. Continue reading