BY DON NELSON
One of the many Facebook pages I visit and belong to, I recently read a comment or a query regarding the divisiveness being witnessed in the political and social arena today.
The poster stated that it is hard to grasp why it is this way, after all this sort of division was settled by the Civil War.
I wish it were so.
It has to be remembered that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a disgruntled Southern sympathizer wanting to reignite the hostilities. Lincoln’s desire to secure the Union was not universally accepted.
What the end of the Civil War signified was the recognition by the military leaders of the Confederate States of America that continuing to fight, as many of their constituents desired to do, would only result in more carnage and ultimately the complete and decisive physical defeat of the Southern military. They chose a path of surrender in as honorable a way as was possible.
What was not surrendered was the Southern determination to create their society as they saw fit. Southern sentiment has never wavered from where it was prior to the conflict. The states’ rights position is held sacred and still poses a danger to the Union.
Stephen Douglas stood in stark opposition to Abraham Lincoln on the issue of the union of the states under the Constitution of the United States.
It is not in support of singularly centralized government that I stand. I think there are issues that each individual state ought to be able to decide.
I do not believe any individual state has the right to countermand a law or policy when doing so places any demographic of the population in jeopardy and deprives them of equal treatment under the law of the land.
Education, health care, senior citizens, and social safety nets for the poor are not issues that any singular state government has the right to deny the citizen. One might include voting rights in that list.
The Civil War did not decide anything. The slaves were freed – to some extent. Today the desire to bring back “slavery” is growing. Not just slavery of a specific ethnic group but the enslavement of an entire demographic of the population.
The Civil War is still smoldering and we all know – in this season of wildfires – what danger there is with anything that remains in a smoldering state.
The lack of desire to compromise, the lack of desire to come to a table and practice the give-and-take of governance, the desire to dictate a direction for the government, the desire to legislate from a “faith-based” position, the desire to control how people live, the overall tyranny of a majority – all are lines being drawn in the sand.
The call is to declare which side you will stand on. From Norquist to the NRA lines are being drawn.
When lines are drawn – sides are taken. When sides are taken the extremes inevitably seek to create chaos.
Have we come to the edge of the cliff? If so, progress is not taking another step forward.
It is time to stop. Take a step back and reflect on where we are.
– Don Nelson lives in Lawton, OK and is an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer