Monday, November 26, 2012

Thank you, Mr Spielberg

“The whole fabric of southern society must be changed, and never can it be done if this opportunity is lost. Without this, this government can never be, as it never has been, a true republic.” –September 6, 1865 (Thaddeus Stevens) 1

The new film, “Lincoln” (which I haven’t seen, it’ll come to Mason, eventually), will  have Us talking about these things for the next year, at least.
How fortuitous, that such topics as Slavery, Lincoln, the all-but-forgotten Thaddeus Stevens 2, and the Unfinished Civil War, will be on the Collective Mind of America,  in these first years of Mr Obama’s second term.
These things will, perhaps, draw out the NeoConfederate Sympathy, that lines the dark underbelly of the Right…the Racism, loudly denied, despite all of the Evidence; the whole mess of “the South will Rise, again”…entailing the Revenge Fantasies of the American Right; “Heritage, Not Hate”, and other similar nonsense; and the Politico-Historical Reality of the past near-fifty years, of an actual resurgent South, begun with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”….which has had the effect, in the real World, of Dixifying the whole country.
That the Civil War is Unfinished may come as a shock to many of my neighbors.
Consider that, if it had been finished, decisively, there would have been no Jim Crow, no Segregation, and no need for the Civil Rights Movement, a Century after  Lee Surrendered.(the South Lost…try to remember that.)
Even now, fifty years after that dark time of fire hoses and dogs, set upon Black Americans…and a hundred and fifty years after the “end” of the Civil War, there are Public Figures still calling for repealing parts of the Civil Rights Act…of Undoing the Fourteenth Amendment….let alone screaming about Secession whenever they don’t get what they want.
An uncomfortably large portion of Americans speaks in Coded Language about Race, and we all know what they mean…but when the rest of us call them forth about their  Not-So-Hidden Racism, it is they who accuse us of “Playing the Race Card”.
The Unfinished Business of the Civil War is a large part of the Surreality we are surrounded by, in 21st century American Politics.
I hope that this film is as good as the few clips I’ve seen would indicate…We need to have these discussions. The Racists must be confronted, and called out, at last…then, perhaps, We can move forward.

2  Thaddeus Stevens is one of my minor heroes…minor, not because of his stature, or influence, but due to my arbitrary ranking system, and the relative dearth of information, here, in Texas.I am very happy to see this man, finally, portrayed in film as the Giant he was.

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