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The Longest Civil War In History
Our American Civil War brought on by white supremacists and the enslavement of millions of blacks started in 1860, killed 620,000 of the Blue and Grey over five years of intensive fighting, and really hasn’t been concluded yet. The military part of the war was deadly, almost matching the 644,000 we have lost in all of our other wars. We have gone through Reconstruction days, 40 acres and a mule, hundreds of Jim Crow laws, the so-called separate but equal fantasies, civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and school and society segregation. We have had thousands of lynchings by a “Christian” organization called the Ku Klux Klan. At one time it was against the law in some southern states to teach black kids the ABCs and how to read. To jump to the present, we have had 14 states passing hundreds of laws restricting and suppressing blacks and other minorities from voting since the five Republican members of the Supreme Court decided in 2013 we had eliminated racial discrimination. Five justices out of nine decided we could drop requirements imposed by voting rights laws.
I had hopes that after 156 years the 2016 elections might signal additional healing among the races. But after examining the vote in the election of Donald Trump as president-elect, we have made very little progress in the last 50 years. We are in a real mess.
The first stanza of William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” describes in poetic terms the situation in the United States today:
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre (circle), the falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
TV pundits and political strategists scream at each other in garbled passionate intensity. Citizens, dizzily turning in an ever-widening circle, cannot hear their representatives in far-off and far-out Washington. The political system seems to be falling apart, and politicians “lack all conviction,” spending all their time calling rich donors for blood money.
Why Our Civil War Will Continue
Can we ever trust another poll? On November 8th at 7 p.m. the New York Times Upshot poll projected that Hillary Clinton was an 84% favorite in the presidential race. By 10:30 p.m. the New York Times Upshot poll projected that Donald Trump was a 93% favorite to win the presidency. What happened in 3.5 hours? People voted! Let’s try another poll. The non-profit Public Religion Research Institute in an October survey says that Americans are close to being evenly split about whether the U.S. has gotten better or worse in the past 60 years. The survey on American culture indicated 48% think things have changed for the better and 51% think they have gotten worse. In the popular vote Hillary Clinton will probably end up with slightly over 50% and The Donald with slightly under 50%. With the current divisions regarding race, class, and religion, if the Democrats had run a chimp and the Republicans an orangutan, the results would probably be the same.
The major issues of race, religion, abortion, homosexuality, and income inequality are still provoking our Civil War. The modern dismemberment of the American middle class started over 30 years ago with Reagan tax cuts, union-busting corporations and politicians encouraged by Reagan’s destruction of the air traffic controllers’ union, the loss of about 70,000 factories to foreign countries in just 20 years, and 30 years of absolutely flat-lined wages or working two jobs to eke out a living.
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 the U.S. was a 54% majority white Christian nation. By 2016 and the election of Donald Trump white Christians had fallen on hard times and were reduced to 43%. The “nones” in religious surveys dramatically increased. The Census Bureau projects that we will be a majority nonwhite nation by 2050. Democrats by a 66% margin say American culture has changed for the better since the 1950’s. Republicans by a 68% margin say the American society and way of life have changed for the worse since the 1950’s.
Will Trump Use A Bible At His Inauguration?
The Southern white vote for Trump was close to 90% (nationwide it was 68% for Trump, 29% for Clinton), a vote tally fully expected in their desperate suppressive war against blacks and Latinos and their coming minority status. Exit polls indicated 87% of his total votes came from whites, 2% from blacks, and the balance from a mixture of minorities. Evangelicals and born-again Christians are all over the country but are concentrated below the Mason-Dixon Line. Over 80% of all evangelicals and 75% of evangelical women voted for the thrice-married admitted sexual predator. I wonder if evangelicals thought about the Ten Commandments in the voting booth. A good cartoon representing this vote crossed my mind. How about a drawing of Trump at his inauguration with his right hand on the Bible (which he has amply demonstrated he has never read), and his left hand in the crotch of an unwilling woman by his side?
The anti-abortion vote, the extension of white power, and the selection of a pro-life Supreme Court justice proved to be more important than Christian mores, morals, character, empathy, and redemption for white evangelicals who marched like Christian zombie soldiers to the polls. And the evangelical women pulled the lever for the psychopathic Donald, knowing they will remain forever subordinate in their own homes to their husbands. Rather sad.
Here we go again with polls. Dozens of polls on abortion have been taken by the Pew Research Center and reputable news agencies over the last few years because of the huge interest in the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. Will a Antonin Scalia clone added to the Court by Republicans and Trump be enough to overturn Roe v. Wade? Fifty-five percent of Americans believe that abortions should be always legal or sometimes legal, while 40% believe they should be illegal in most cases or always illegal. Only about 5% are “unsure.” Some Republicans have also been trying to defund Planned Parenthood for years, Vice-President Mike Pence being the main pusher with some really extreme measures advocated by him but rejected by Indiana voters. About 70% of Americans support the many healthcare activities of the organization for women that actually gets only about 3% of its funds from performing abortions.
I’m sure the conservative Roman Catholic bishops in the country will not condone the actions of the famous Rev. Frank Pavone who once landed in Fargo to rant against abortion in the crudest terms. On November 6th Father Pavone brought an aborted fetus to his church in Amarillo and laid it on the altar and posted a live video on Facebook. The bishop of the Amarillo Diocese is not answering his phone, but a receptionist in his office admitted the phone has been ringing off the hook. Other more moderate officials said Pavone violated canon law of the Roman Catholic Church which demands that the altar is “reserved for divine worship alone to the exclusion of any secular usage.” Pavone, the supreme director of an organization called Priests for Life, is not alone in his chief endeavor. The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in San Diego put out a bulletin before the election in Spanish and English proclaiming: “It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat…immediately after the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell.” There were four other issues, if you supported, would earn you “eternal damnation”: same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and stem-cell research. Welcome to the Middle Ages.
When Will The Steel Mills And The Auto Plants Return To Michigan, Ohio, And Pennsylvania?
For those desperate voters in those three toss-up states who switched political parties and voted for Trump because he said he was going to bring all those manufacturing plants back to those states…Well, I wish you good luck. The only way they will come back is through the high tech development of completely robotized factories that will have a few minimum wage workers to oil the joints and turn on switches to power the robots. The days of bolting on wheels and earning $60 an hour passed long ago. The people who research, develop, and make the robots to make steel and form the parts will do rather well—if they are educated enough to innovate, create, and dream a lot. The only way the United States will continue to lead the industrialized and manufacturing world and the global economy is to invest dramatically in educating our citizens to invent and create things that other countries can’t. We are not doing that, because, as Sojourner Truth said, “Our rich rob the poor and the poor rob each other.” Our rich think they can be hogs at the trough, hide their money on little islands and countries, and continue to live in Versailles-like homes, without contributing to their society. Remember that French aristocrat who said, “Let them eat cake!”? Those people in the streets protesting Trump’s election are not carrying pitchforks---yet.
Only two of our states, California and Oregon, have increased school funding since 2008. Twenty-three states are below 2008 levels. Only 5% of our high school dropouts go on to college. Why does Canada send 33% of its dropouts to college? We should find out. In the 2016 election the less educated a state’s population, the more likely they were to vote for Trump. Only six of the top 16 states with the highest percentages of people who only completed high school voted for Clinton (Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, and Washington). The other ten voted for Trump. The top 16 states with the largest percentages of people with bachelor’s degrees all voted for Clinton. The top 18 states with the highest percentage of people with advanced degrees all voted for Clinton. A recent study of math and reading tests taken over five years in 11,000 districts found that average academic performance levels in the richest and poorest school districts were more than four grade levels apart. Good Heavens, money does make a difference!
President Trump: Our First Narcissistic, Psychopathic Neanderthal
Trump’s profanities, crudities, nastiness, hatred of the press, paranoia, and malevolent imitation of the physically handicapped on the campaign trail puts him in a new category for presidents. He is the first president to be endorsed by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. I wonder if he will go or send a representative to the Klan’s “Victory Rally” in Pelham, North Carolina in celebration of his election. There will be a parade in white sheets and pointy hats with dozens of Confederate flags. My God, what is this country coming to? Corky and I lived in North Carolina for two years and never saw this kind of activity—although it went on. We were exposed to Jim Crow laws for my black troops and families constantly but we never saw the Klan march in the streets to “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”
Trump has created such toxic speech and mannerisms throughout the campaign that now we see Nazi symbols surrounding the message “Make America White Again,” and elementary students yelling “Build that wall, build that wall” at Latino kids. Administraters in high schools have had to place hall monitors to keep Trump supporters from yelling “ten feet higher, ten feet higher” at fellow Latino students. Or the Chinese student in New York City who had been born in America who faced the charge from a Trump supporter: “Go back to your country, you chink!” A psychopath with a very short attention span can be dangerous to your mental and physical health. Trump’s offenses have lengthened the Civil War.