What’s All the Ruckus About?

A recent article posted on the web by the Washington Post (and perhaps still viewable there – any search engine can find it for you) called “Five Myths About Why the South Seceded” by James W. Loewen, seemed to ignite some heated discussion and quite a few incendiary comments about the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (or War Between the States, or War of Northern Agression, whichever you prefer).

The article took a couple of minutes to read and was nothing really out-of-the-box but the comments – a mere 1,061 of them – took a considerable while longer to peruse. It seems the topic is still able to bring out the combativeness in many.

When I visited the British Isles some forty years ago, I was amazed to find some Scots still angered by a battle with the English… one that occurred some six hundred years before. So, I suppose it should not surprise anyone that there are still hard feelings over a conflict that happened a mere century-and-a-half ago.

There were many things in the comments that showed some of the respondents had done a lot of research in the area and offered evidence and data that I had not known before. For that I am grateful.

A large percentage of the respondents, however, preferred to flame other commenters and offered nothing new to the discussion except for some rather novel and updated name-calling. As instructive as these were – in other ways – they did not materially contribute to the discussion.

I thought it might be interesting to open a discussion on the topic of the War, its cause(s), outcomes, and anything we might learn from the national trauma. If history is to be used as an instructional tool for society, we must understand it before we can utilize its lessons.

Between the descendants of both the “graceless winners” and the “complaining losers” some common ground can be forged… or not. There are calmer voices on both sides of the issue, but these are generally drowned out by the noisemakers. Perhaps this division cannot be stemmed so soon, while the wounds are still so fresh.

But in an effort to try, I stumble forward

Toward that end, I invite anyone to join in the discussions. And I hope they will be “discussions”. Rudeness and pejorative attacks are most unwelcome (and will be deleted).


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