One thing that has rarely changed is the South has always viewed America differently than other parts of the country especially the Northeast and the states bordering the Great Lakes. My good friend E. H. has suggested to me that I read a couple of books – which are not available at the libraries because the libraries are closed – one tells about the different cultural areas of America and the other about a trip through the South prior to the Civil War. I’ve ordered them and will let you know the highlights.
I laugh when I read that some people suggest the Republican Party today somehow has a connection with Abe Lincoln beyond the name Republican Party. Between 1875 and the election in 1900 of McKinley the South had voted pretty solidly Democratic because, precisely because, they had a great disdain of Lincoln. There was one time in 1872 when one of the old Confederate States of America cast its vote for Ulysses S. Grant – the Union general responsible for their downfall – which seems at first thought a mistake. How would a Confederate State vote for a victorious Union general one would ask? It turned out that the Army was still in that state ensuring all got the franchise – by all I mean men since women were not considered capable of voting – which meant that black citizens could also vote along with the Carpetbaggers and Scallywags who were really Union men.
Today the South still votes pretty much in a block but they are no longer vote as Democrats. When the Democrats pushed the Civil Rights legislation which gave our black citizens the rights of the white citizens the Southerners went to the Republican Party the home of Richard Nixon with his Southern Strategy, Pat Buchanan with his similar ideas, and so on until we ended up with Trump – the one who believes America is great again if we go back to the antebellum days. Where’s Scarlett and Brett?
When the railroads first traversed America many people dated things by saying “it was before the railroads came.” I expect soon we’ll be talking about the anteTrump America wishing for the good old days. Reading an anteTrump book written in 1955 I came across this which is pertinent to today.
The author wrote, “In truth we may well sympathize with the Populists and with those who have shared their need to believe that somewhere in the American past there was a golden age whose life was far better than or own. But actually to live in that world, actually to enjoy its cherished promise and its imagined innocence, is no longer within our power.”
That’s what the Trump folks are yearning for: the time before the Civil War, or as they prefer to call it “The War Between the States.” They live in the myth of a Deep State which to my mind if it existed it surely would not have let Trump become president. It’s like the unmasking of Traitor Flynn, as a Globe writer noted the unmasking could not have been directed toward Flynn (who sat next to Putin at a Moscow dinner) because before you unmask (that is learn the identity of) you don’t know who is sitting behind the mask.
I know the ears of the Trump camp are closed to logic. They would rather live in the land of the aggrieved Tweeter in Chief. He’s been in office three years and is blaming his failures on his predecessor who, along with his prior opponent and future opponent he wants to put in prison. Oh yes, has anyone used the new word of the day required of all the unthinking Trump clan: Obamagate. I’ll have to check back.
Anyway It’s 1861 again – the Trump clan having lost the first go around wants to take another shot at winning – but they should keep in mind there are others who like the man who was “the third child of six of John and Mary Meenagh . . . , Irish Catholic immigrants from the parish of Killinkere in County Cavan, Ireland” ready for whatever they think they can throw at us.