The American Civil War Was Fought Over Slavery. To claim otherwise is willful ignorance or malice.
Idiots like this man don’t just harm themselves by their beliefs and behavior. They perpetuate one of mankind’s greatest evils, the belief that men are unequal in kind and that a greater man may rightfully hold another lesser man in slavery and use him as he sees fit. Refusing to acknowledge the cause of the Civil War and the evil for which the Confederacy fought is refusing to acknowledge that slavery is a great evil, one that was (mostly) destroyed in the Civil War but continues to live in the minds of men like this.
This refusal to confront and accept the reality of slavery and racism and the century spanning harm it has done and continues to do to human beings the world over makes it possible for men like Hitler and Trump to rise to power. These grotesque caricatures of human beings are acceptable only to those so steeped in hatred and denial that they see the most vile examples of humanity as their saviors, simply because those men promise to grant them the power they feel owed by their race and birthplace.
The state documents of secession are available and specifically call out slavery as the reason for secession. Only South Carolina even tries to be fancy about it, but their document too eventually gets to the core issue – slavery.
This Nib comic does an excellent job of explaining the origin and history of hysteria. Everyone should learn this history because hysteria is an accessible and profound example of the harm patriarchy does to all of society: men, women, and children.
The ACLU has a Guide to Fighting Hatred up on their site. It’s worth reading if you want to take part in preserving our democracy and nursing it back to health after we weather the current storm of white nationalism and foreign influence.
The wisdom in this graphic seems obvious, but I’m guilty of violating it and I know from experience it’s common for others to do so. It’s worth tucking this observation in the back of your mind to help you encourage someone who’s struggling when they take a step in the right direction.
I appreciate the symbolism of the United States flag and national anthem, and I do my best to respect them because I love the ideas and values they represent, but we’re often guilty of mistaking the symbol for what it represents. The United States is full of people flying and wearing the American flag, treating it with reverence and demanding that others do the same, while their hearts are full of hatred, selfishness, and a refusal to recognize anyone outside their tribe as American.
Respect for flags, anthems, and other symbols neither ensures nor prevents respect for people. We can certainly respect both, but we should teach our children that respect and support for human life is the goal of these symbols. I’ve noticed that regressives tend to obsess on symbols to the exclusion of actual human beings, and that this is likely a mechanism that allows regressives to revere an object (the symbol) while avoiding the much harder task of engaging with and supporting subjects (human and non-human life). This focus supports the objectification of people considered outside the tribe and thereby enables tribalism itself.