If there’s one thing you can rely on regarding history, it’s how it will inevitably repeat itself. Take the Civil War, for instance – a time in our nation’s history that many of us learned about in grade school and probably have forgotten.
My wife and I just watched a six-part documentary on the Civil War. We were dumbfounded by the similarities facing American society today compared to some 161 years ago when the war began.
The Confederate States (who succeeded from the Union after Lincoln was elected) consisted of 11 southern states: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The battle between the Union and Confederate armies has become the deadliest and costliest battle ever fought on United States soil – leaving 620,000 Americans dead and millions more debilitated.
The start of the Civil War in 1861 was triggered by two realities that are eerily familiar to present-day life in America.
One, southern states disagreed with the legitimacy of the 1860 election, which awarded the 16th Presidency of the United States to Abraham Lincoln.
They knew if Lincoln were elected, slavery would be abolished, and progressive changes to the young nation – including a westward expansion and revisions to taxation laws – would alter how white, wealthy Americans had become accustomed to living.
Two, southern states did not believe that African Americans deserved the same benefits and freedoms as their White counterparts – no surprise given that white supremacy was incredibly dominant in the United States, especially in the south during that period.
Today, states like Texas, Florida, and others are pledging their continued allegiance to the Confederates of the past, where white, wealthy men controlled what was acceptable, unacceptable, and everything in between. Confederate General Robert E. Lee may have surrendered in April of 1865, but a new crop of politicians is channeling the Confederate ideology of hate today.
There was a time when Americans had to kill their own meat, grow their own vegetables, and harvest their own wheat – today, we simply go to the supermarket in town. Payphones used to be on every street corner with phone books as a helpful directory – today, we have computers capable of starting our cars, changing our thermostats, and navigating us across the country right in our pockets. In the year 1900, an average American could expect to live until 49 years of age – in 2022, that number has climbed to 79 (an increase of 30 years).
Advancements in manufacturing, production, technology, and healthcare, have revolutionized the way we live. Few (if any) are willing to go back to a time in our nation’s history when the circumstances and advancements of the past do not align with today’s more sophisticated and demanding lifestyles.
White supremacy simply does not align with today’s more sophisticated and demanding lifestyles. We are a nation of progress, innovation, and solutions. Dragging the United States backward is not an act of bravery and courage but an act of cowardice by individuals who don’t possess the knowledge to understand the difference.