I was very impressed by blogger Doug Muder's piece in The Weekly Shift revealing his analysis that the U.S. Civil War has never been brought to resolution and that today's Tea Party is actually a Confederate Party. That movement may be the tapping of a deep reservoir of hatred and feelings of oppression and mistrust of the Federal government. Unions also invaded the South and attempted to take power away from the plantation owners. Their gains, like the gains of the Union Army, have been erased. War has no victor. It is a uniquely evil force that perpetuates violence and hatred rather than resolving what is believed to be "moral" or "political" differences.
Today, a substantial proportion of the South and the Tea Party believe that the Civil War was an action to destroy the legitimate rights of the Southern States. They assert, like the Confederacy, that it was not about the immorality and degradation of slavery. What was lost on the battlefields of a horrifying Civil War was largely reversed through Jim Crow and the Klan. Nixon's "Southern Strategy," the rise of the John Birch Society to replace the Klan. the growth of "conservative" think tanks, ALEC and the NRA's radicalization are closing a circle we don't want to acknowledge.
It is scary to think how history may be manifesting the unfinished agenda of the Civil War with a national (especially Southern) obsession with guns and self-defense, the essence of the new NRA. Defiant open carry and resistance of Federal gun control laws and land use policies are a legacy of the neo-Confederate ideology that spread throughout the U.S., stubbornly grounded in racism and xenophobic anti-communism, rather than being terminated in the Civil War. How do we understand "stand your ground," massive incarceration of black men and police profiling and gunning down black men in the streets and in our stores? No, we never did become "one nation, indivisible, under god - or otherwise. There were unspeakable traumas that have yet to find healing.
Why are we not taking seriously the Tea Party desire to do away with the Federal government? Are we really just in denial? How long can this strong movement be ignored? Will it end politically, or are we on the verge of new hostilities for which we, as a nation, are completely unprepared? (Doesn't insurgency always catch the majority off-guard?) Or, is this the reason why our Federal government has undertaken unprecedented data collection, surveillance, drones and built up our nation's military and police forces? You don't form "one nation" through fighting a massive Civil War. Other countries have found that out - and it is always the "hard way."
One other part of the puzzle is the obsession with abortion. This makes no sense, except as a movement focused in the South to fight off yet another invasion of "morality" by the Federal Government. Washington is telling the South that it has no right to do what it believes to be moral and necessary, eliminating the rights of poor people to control the size of their family and to use abortion to allow poor families to rise from poverty. Perhaps the old social order wants them to remain in poverty.
Like slavery, like segregation, the North is showing dominance over the South, assuming that it's okay, that the Civil War established a national government to insure the equal rights or all Americans, including those of mixed or full African heritage. Some people are still talking about reparations for slavery and institutional racism that prevented many black people from rising out of poverty. The insurgent Confederates are indirectly (always indirectly, and even unconsciously) warning us to "think again." As Muder states, they often do say that we don't understand history correctly. The wounds of the Civil War are deeper than we'd thought and they have not healed.
Perhaps, the North and our Federal Government, need to bring the Tea Party Republicans to the table and determine what it will take to calm the insurgency. The Federal government has already somewhat conceded gun control, but that only fueled the discontent. It has already somewhat conceded abortion rights, but that has only redrawn the battlefield map. It may be time for a more serious truce and a movement towards a better understanding of where things went wrong, where we are all at today, and how we can work together to craft a less damaged and divided union.