Category Archives: Civil War

Quote of the Day — Lincoln & Emancipation: The First Version

On this day [Sept. 22] in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, a document that put the Confederacy on notice of his intention to free their slaves. They had until January 1, he said, to lay down their arms; after that, any slave within a rebelling state would be “then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

Although he didn’t make a point of it, his proclamation — both this preliminary one, and the official one he made at the first of the new year, when the deadline arrived — did not free all slaves; those living in border states, for example, would remain enslaved. Nor did Lincoln have, of course, any way to actually enforce a liberated slave’s freedom; other than promising to no longer aid in the capture of fleeing slaves, his promised emancipation relied entirely on the Union eventually winning the war.

But continuing to fight was exactly what Lincoln hoped to avoid with his announcement. Continue reading Quote of the Day — Lincoln & Emancipation: The First Version

Confederate Monument Removal: Win Some, Lose Some


Lawsuit over Confederate monument dismissed

Isaac Groves — Sept. 15, 2022

Burlington Times-News USA TODAY NETWORK

The Confederate monument in front of the Alamance County Historic Courthouse will stay where it is after a superior court judge, in that same courthouse, dismissed a lawsuit from the NAACP demanding its removal – at least for now.

“It is abundantly clear whatever decision I make will likely be appealed,” said Judge Don Bridges.

The state and local NAACP, several other groups including business owners, individuals, and clergy members call the monument a danger to public safety and protecting it a waste of taxpayer money. They filed a lawsuit in Alamance County Superior Court in late March of 2021 against the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, alleging that keeping the monument in a prominent place violates the state constitution by denying Black residents equal protection under the law, promoting racism and wasting public funds.

The suit asked the court for an injunction to remove the statue and a judgment declaring state law does not prohibit the county from removing the monument and prohibiting the county from moving it to another location on county property.

The Monument

The county’s monument to local Confederate war dead is a statue of a soldier atop a pillar about 30 feet above the street. It has been on Court Square since 1914 in front of what is now the only public entrance to the Alamance County Historic Courthouse. It’s been the focus of demonstrations for and against it for years, but the summer and fall of 2020, after the killing of George Floyd in 2020, became nothing short of intense.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office estimated it spent at least $750,000 in officers’ time on 39 demonstrations in 2020 – a figure the suit used to support its argument against spending public funds to protect the monument.

2015 Law

The Alamance County Commissioners have been advised they do not have the authority to move the monument under a 2015 state law limiting when local governments can move “objects of remembrance.”

The NAACP suit claimed the county interprets the public-safety clause in that law too narrowly, treating it only as a way to move monuments before they fall and hurt someone.

But, according to the suit, the state Attorney General’s office interprets it broadly and the Governor’s Office determined that UNC-Chapel Hill was acting within the law when it removed Silent Sam after protesters tore it down and removed monuments from the capitol grounds after protesters vandalized them.

The county spent about $30,000 on a fence around the monument to prevent any such vandalism in 2021, which a hit-and-run driver damaged in June.

Plaintiffs also argued the monument created a risk of violence pointing to a number of incidents between protesters, counter protesters and law enforcement through 2020, many of which worked their way through local and federal courts.

The presence of a monument to the confederacy in front of the courthouse also sends a negative message to Black residents who must pass it on the way to seeking justice under the law, the NAACP argued.

Judge Bridges, however, said the monument protection act, as it is often called, was obviously intended to protect statues like this one, and the commissioners clearly relied on that statute when they chose not to take any action to remove it. The plaintiffs did not, Bridges said, choose to challenge the law itself or the General Assembly that made the law.

“If the statute is valid,” Bridges said, “then the county commissioners are entitled to follow it.”

Bridges said the issue wasn’t strictly political but came close enough that a court should be wary of digging too deeply into it.

“It is better addressed by the public at the ballot box than in the courtroom,” Bridges said.

 

Some Non-Elizabethan Weekend Images

This blimp is three shirts to the wind . . .

 

Covering up? Or bringing issues together around a central focus . . .

 

What’s that? I can’t hear y’all over the sound of chains and the cries of their lost children . . .

 

Looks like the spitting image to me, with the right color suit too . . .

 

A cannon aimed directly at all who challenge 45 .. .

 

Somebody’s singing the Michigan Fight Song . . . Or maybe the one from Kansas.

Quotes of the Day

Patti Davis, recalling the passing of her father, Ronald Reagan:

“My hope is that people remember this about the royal family: In the end, though they breathe rarefied air, they grapple as we all do with life and death, with the mystery of what it means to be human. When darkness falls, and they are alone, they sink into the same waters that everyone does when a loved one dies. And they wonder if they’ll make it to the other side..”

Jamelle Bouie quoting Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “‘A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people,” [Lincoln] said. “Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.”

“You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government,” Lincoln added, “while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend it.’ ”

SERGE SCHMEMANN: Part of [the Queen’s] appeal was the extravagant — some might say excessive — pomp and ceremony that accompanied her every royal appearance. While Scandinavian countries deliberately decontented their monarchies until their kings and queens could barely be distinguished from normal citizens, Britain proudly maintained the full medieval monty: gilded carriages, bearskin helmets, liveried footmen and volumes of tradition.

It was marketing, to be sure; the royals are central to Britain’s brand and identity. But Queen Elizabeth was prepared to treat it all, from wearing a five-pound crown while reading a canned message in Parliament to feigning delight in some tropical ceremony, as the service to which she dedicated her life. . . .Though democracy left her no real governing power, she was ahead of her time in championing equality and diversity in the Commonwealth and, by most accounts, she made her views discreetly known to successive prime ministers, whom she met weekly.”

Eugene Robinson: “I once had the opportunity to attend an investiture, the palace ceremony at which the queen conferred knighthoods and other honors to the great and the good. It was the first time I had seen her in person, and what struck me was how tiny she was.

This woman who had been a larger-than-life presence on the world stage since before I was born — the first prime minister who served under her was Winston Churchill — was minute, dwarfed by her regal accoutrements and surroundings. Her voice was thin and soft, her words hard to follow.

Yet she did have a presence that dominated the vast room. On reflection, it occurred to me that this aura of authority and command was not emanating from the queen herself. It was being projected upon her by the audience.

And so it is with all the anachronistic stature and privilege the British royal family still enjoys in an egalitarian age. Elizabeth’s character, stamina and skill persuaded her subjects to suspend any possible disbelief in the divine right of a mostly German family to reign over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Will they have such faith in Charles? In William?

“Après moi, le déluge,” King Louis XV of France is thought to have said, decades before the French Revolution. After Elizabeth, the British monarchy will find itself in rising waters and struggle not to be swept away.”

Seattle: Later that day, the congresswoman [Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington] was driving from her house to an event in Seattle, celebrating the introduction of a trans bill of rights. [Rachel] Berkson, her district director, was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat, Jayapal pulled out her phone and played some of the voice mails she’d received.

A man’s voice filled up the car.

“ … Your f—in’ day is coming. God damn, as soon as the president’s installed, like on Nov. 4 or 5, we’re f—in’ coming after all you motherf—ers. You’re gonna be scrubbing f—in’ floors for the rest of your life, you f—in’ wh—.”

Another man, a trace of a smile in his voice.
“ … Get ready for the worst year of your life. It’s gonna be turmoil every day. This is gonna be fun. This is gonna be fun. Your life is gonna be miserable. And we’re gonna get rid of that corrupt Biden, and that socialist Kamala, and the rest of the group, and you’re going right along with them.”

His voice deepened.
“You stupid f—in’ b—-. Get ready for turmoil. You’re gettin’ it. You’re gonna get exactly what you deserve, b—-. Have a nice day, b—-.”

Then another man.
“ … I’m gonna send you some knee pads, you f—in’ b—-. You worthless f—in’ c—.”
“ … We’re coming. And we’re really pissed off.”
“ … You are an evil b—- and you need to die and I hate you and I will never vote for you again.”

Jayapal stopped the recordings. Berkson, in the front seat, was one of the staffers who screened the messages. She decides what to forward to Capitol Police, and what to bring to Jayapal’s attention. As she drove, she started to cry. “Sorry,” Berkson said. “I honestly don’t think about it that much.”

At home later that night, Jayapal listened again to the threatening voice mails that [Rep. Adam]  Kinzinger and [Eric] Swalwell released this summer. She thought about how violence begins with the ability to dehumanize the subject of that violence. And she spent that evening replaying the voice mails that had been left for her. There was one calling her an animal. “The unleashing of it everywhere creates this space for other people to be unleashed as well,” she said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)

She thought about her decision to talk about what happened. What would she and [her husband] Williamson be saying, to themselves, to each other, to their loved ones, if they did?

“I don’t really want to admit that we’re in danger,” Williamson said, “because that’s not a place I want to occupy.”

“But at the same time,” said Jayapal, “it’s important people understand how ubiquitous this is, and how much a part of our psyche it is taking up.”

She thought about why she had never shared the voice mails before.
“Why didn’t I?”

“Is it like, ‘Oh you’re supposed to take it?’”

“Or you’re not tough enough if you release it?”

These were questions the congresswoman couldn’t answer.

Instead, she asked, “Have we somehow conditioned ourselves to think this is what we should expect?”

Tom Ricks thinks we can avoid a civil war. That could be huge.

[NOTE: I respect Tom Ricks. When it comes to war, he knows his stuff. His Wikipedia entry explains that he

is an American journalist and author who specializes in the military and national security issues. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as part of teams from the Wall Street Journal (2000) and Washington Post (2002). He has reported on military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He previously wrote a blog for Foreign Policy[6][7] and is a member of the Center for a New American Security,[8] a defense policy think tank.

He’s retired now, with a big shelf of trophies, beyond the temptations of ambition. Ricks also seems level-headed, and not in anybody’s ideological pocket.

Tom Ricks, with his 2007 book that told it like it was about the U. S. Invasion of Iraq.

Of course, he doesn’t know the future, any more than you, me or the rest of us; and Ricks readily admits that. But if his experience, his studies —and his gut — tell him to be guardedly, not-out-of-the-woods-yet — a-hard-slog-is-still-ahead — hopeful, I’m listening. There’s still plenty of tough work to do. But I’m listening.

Washington Post:  Why I’ve stopped fearing America is headed for civil war




Opinion by Thomas E. Ricks

September 5, 2022

Thomas E. Ricks’s latest book, “Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968,” will be published in October.

Five years ago, I began to worry about a new American civil war breaking out. Despite a recent spate of books and columns that warn such a conflict may be approaching, I am less concerned by that prospect now.

Back then, I wrote in a series of articles and online discussions for Foreign Policy that I expected to see widespread political violence accompanied by efforts in some states to undermine the authority and abilities of the federal government. At an annual lunch of national security experts in Austin, I posed the question of possible civil war and got a consensus of about a one-third chance of such a situation breaking.

Specifically, I worried that there would be a spate of assassination attempts against politicians and judges. I thought we might see courthouses and other federal buildings bombed. I also expected that in some states, right-wing organizations, heavily influenced by white nationalism, would hold conventions to discuss how to defy enforcement of federal laws they disliked, such as those dealing with voting rights.

Some governors might vow to fire any state employee complying with unwanted federal orders. And I thought it likely that “nullification juries” would start cropping up, refusing to convict right-wingers committing mayhem, such as attacking election officials, no matter what evidence there was.
 Continue reading Tom Ricks thinks we can avoid a civil war. That could be huge.