President Lincoln did the right thing after the last shots of the War were fired: He offered grace, forgiveness, mercy, and a very great deal of tangible support to the South. Unfortunately, the South remained unrepentant, petulant, selfish, and very badly racist. There were completely graceless losers.
That’s especially true when you think of the fact that, by Lincoln’s great kindness, they were not losers at all. Had there been no freeing of the slaves at that point, can you imagine the horrible bloodshed that would inevitably come very soon with the rapid expansion of the numbers of slaves? Inevitable or not, the rebellion would have been terrible.
Because of the intransigence of the South, because their hatred of Africans was even greater than their love of their dear South, Southerners have done everything possible to resist the resolution of the War.
And today we continue to pay a dear price for their hatred. Racism keeps hatred and prejudice flourishing in America. And the two themes of the War continue to haunt us: States’ Rights and racism.
And now we are complicating our stories even further. It will take us several decades to recover from the damage already done by the Tea Party and other far right movements who want so badly to take us backwards to pre-War days. How much damage has Trump done by being a traitor to America, preferring Russia and other dictators to our Constitution and to democracy itself? And who can measure the harm done by the Republicans in Congress, who have also proven to be traitors by selling out to big money interests?
Our only hope is that the Lord will raise up a whole new generation of leaders who are men and women of integrity, competence, and wisdom. We need leaders who will value knowledge and resist ignorance. (I’m thinking here of Trump’s picks for lifetime seats on judicial benches. Several of them have been incredibly ignorant. Yes, perhaps the worst of them have withdrawn in humiliation but that leaves us with the question, How in the world could anyone in the White House think there was a single reason for such ridiculous nominations.)
And how in the world did we end up with a Congress dominated by those who are so stunningly blatant in their lies about who is being served by their so-called “tax reform”? We have sold our government to the wealthy and it will take a long, long time to begin a recovery. The Republicans are hoping history’s lessons won’t apply this time and there won’t be an outright rebellion of the lower 90% against the upper 10%.