They told us that the Union had won the civil war. They taught us wrong.
The South won the war.
Yes, Gen. Robert E. Lee went to Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 and told his soldiers to “roll up the flagBoys.”
But that flag went nowhere. On January 6, 2021, insurgents agitated him inside the United States Capitol.
Yes, we ratified the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery – some of us sooner than others: Mississippi did not achieve this until 2013.
And the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments promised equal protection under the law and the right to vote, which sounds great, except that many Republican-run states (including Florida) are doing everything they can to restrict the access to ballot boxes, especially for people of color. .
The current Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that women are not full citizens, but harbor bodies for fetuses. Today, some states are rushing to criminalize abortion while others are rushing to enshrine it in law.
America has had its best moments: World War II, the civil rights movement, the election of a black president. But these days, it seems like we’ve given up on this whole thing of diverse and pluralistic democracy.
We are a divided house again, not yet quite the North and South of 1861, but more and more separated in blue and red, those who look forward to forging a more perfect union and those who remember a time when power belonged to those who were white, male, straight, and Christian.
Secession is back on the menu. Alaska has an independence party pushing the nation. Some in Northern California would like to secede from Southern California while other Californians, tired of reactionaries in Washington, believe the entire state should secede from the other 49.
The Republican Party of Texas wants a statewide vote on secession – again – from the union.
Some of the white nationalists wielding tiki torches shouting “Jews won’t replace us!” in Charlottesville were members of the Southern Leaguean outfit dedicated to creating a “Christian Republic” out of the Old Confederacy, a nation in which “white culture” would be protected and people of color would only be allowed to stay if they knew their place.
Even if large swathes of these disunited states fail to officially divorce from the rest of the country, they have already seceded psychologically and politically.
Here in Florida (which first left the union on January 10, 1861, just after South Carolina and Mississippi), the Governor and his legislative vassals have destroy two congressional districts where black voters had a reasonable chance of electing a representative.
Ron DeSantis and the rest of Florida Trumpist Republicans don’t bother to hide their racism. Five Proud Boys – never subtle about their contempt for women and minorities and their desire to destroy the legal government of the United States – are members of Miami-Dade’s Republican executive.
There is only one step between the PB’s and the Christofascists of the Southern League. One of the Florida League officers, a Jacksonville native named Michael Ralph Tubbsalso belongs to the so-called “Knights of the New Order”, who swear, “I dedicate my life from now on to furthering the welfare of the white Aryan race”.
In neo-separatist states, the right doesn’t want Aryans, uh, nice white kids to learn that slavery has been built into the American system of government since its inception. Or that racism still permeates our financial and legal systems.
And we must rescue them from teachers bent on making them gay or indoctrinating them into communism by instead indoctrinating them into right-wing lies.
DeSantis’ favorite school curriculum includes these truth-challenging gems: America had slavery, sure, but other countries were MUCH worse. Trust us. And although Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Monroe, etc. all owned slaves, they were actually anti-slavery.
This separation of church and state “trash” (as a representative high school dropout. Lauren Boebert of Colorado says) is not what the Founding Fathers meant. The Founders were all Christians, even when they were deists.
We have Hillsdale College, a small conservative Christian school in Michigan, to thank. Hillsdale has a thwarted relationship with facts, as evidenced by its support for dangerous nonsense such as claims that the January 6 uprising was a hoax and Vladimir Poutine is a “hero”.
DeSantis and his “education” experts – who are just as persuasive in the field of American history as his surgeon general is in the field of immunology – insist that their agenda is not “ideological “.
It is “patriotic”.
The deep red areas of the West, the Midwest and, of course, good old Dixie, increasingly share traits with the Confederacy, from banning books to hostility to the United States Constitution – except for the Second Amendment, of course.
Some of the more MAGAT-y MAGATs have even threatened to overturn federal laws they don’t like. Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor, tweeted“When I’m governor, Arizona won’t recognize the unconstitutional gun laws in our state. We just won’t. What are the feds going to do? Steal here and arrest a sitting governor? Call my bluff.
John C. Calhoun would be proud.
The new separatist America views democracy with suspicion and sometimes wonders if too many people have the right to vote. In the days of our infallible Founders, only white owners could exercise the right to vote. Trump Svengali steve bannon and some of the other Fox “News” dictator groupies are wondering if maybe we should go back to those good old days.
They would rather you, the citizen, not worry about your pretty little head of government. Don’t have an Instagram account to verify?
During its next term, which begins in October, the Supreme Court will hear a case based on a wacky legal idea long hidden in the darkest recesses of constitutional radicalism.
The “independent legislature theory,” beloved of the Republican fringe, argues that state legislatures could pass voter suppression laws and consecrate districts to gerrymanders without fear that state courts could stop them.
If the justices buy into this constitutional quackery, which they might do by this time next year, the legislatures could choose their own presidential voters lists, regardless of which candidate actually wins the state. You, the voter, would be refused your ability to choose who goes to Washington.
America will be two countries; if you live in a Republican-run state, you won’t control your government. Your government will control you.
Remember when those of us who wanted to empower the people were shocked and appalled by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County vs. Holderwho basically gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965?
The court was then much more moderate. You can bet that with five, sometimes six, radical justices who have taken away women’s control of their own bodies, crippled the federal government’s ability to deal with the climate crisis threatening the planet, decimated separation from the Church and of the state and blocked attempts to regulate who can possess weapons of war, they will have no trouble taking away our right to elect the candidates of our choice.
Republicans seceded from democratic values.
They have lost trust in voters.
Our union is in danger and we have one year to save it.
Diana Robert report via Florida Phoenix.
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact the editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected] Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.