Before the days of blogging, our best outlet for thoughtful prose was newspaper op-eds, 700-word pieces by self-appointed experts. I did my share of that.
Journalists, the definition of smug, ruled the forum. They had the key to the printing presses and rode the fence lines. They shut out any who engaged in thought crimes. They were the first to practice “banning,” or tyranny of mediocrity.
The key to any op-ed was simple: Take a subject and boil it down to Democrat versus Republican. If that could not be done, it was unprintable. Each party is a corral. Pastures outside the fences are unthinkable.
At Montana Cowgirl and other places*, there is all this chatter now about the significance of the Confederate flag, and it hints at a deeper topic that should be addressed: our fake history. Of course, Cowgirl is but a mouthpiece and so can only reduce it to D vs R.
In fake history, the Civil War was fought to end the practice of slavery. In real history, formal slavery was on the way out all on its own. The British led the way, followed by the Mexicans on this continent. Because of the war, concentration camps called “plantations” were indeed ended, but slavery would continue in other legal forms for another 99 years.
The damage done to the African-American races will take still longer to burn out, like a fever. That process still goes on. We cannot do it for them. They must, on their own, rebuild their dignity. No matter white guilt, that is truth. [It would help, I should add, if our government, or shadow government or whatever, would stop murdering their leaders.]
In fake history, Lincoln freed the slaves. In real history, Spielbergism aside, Lincoln used the Emancipation Proclamation as a device to stir uprisings in unconquered territory. It did not work. The Thirteenth Amendment merely put the newly forced union in line with the rest of the Western civilized world, an afterthought.
In fake history, the union was not a voluntary arrangement. No state could leave on its own. In real history, the South had the right to leave and form its own country. Lincoln knew the continent would have been “Balkanized” with one division following another, and wars fought between neighbors a common occurrence. He destroyed the constitution to “save the union'” which was not at all a union.
Had the South been allowed to leave the Union, the United States would not have become a stand-alone world power. That would have saved tens of millions of lives in other countries at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives here on this continent, a fair trade.
In fake history, there was slavery and some minor issues. In real history, there were tariffs, and an industrialized country with its agricultural colony. Our old friends the British were knocking at the back door, wanting a piece of the action. Slavery was but a minor issue.
Most of our history is fake. Victors write it to justify their crimes. In the Civil War, the North employed scorched earth tactics and devastating attacks on whole cities. These were monstrous crimes. That practice would repeat in World War II, and the cover-stories would only become more elaborate.
It would be good to have this discussion. But we cannot. All we are allowed to do is talk Democrats and Republicans. My nemesis, the original ban-man, the pretentious phony Rob Kailey, was banned at Cowgirl for transcending party boundaries. I am both laughing and adjusting my opinion of him at once. But only slightly. The Monty stunt was a huge “tell,” insight into his character that I cannot ignore.
*Pogie calls it a “teaching moment!” Please, someone give me the proper word for his incapacity for self-awareness.