North versus South Stars and Bars Again
The appearance of the Confederate Flag at the Capitol, during the breach, has once again lit a fire under liberals. The main topic is, “they were all traitors and should pay for their treasonous acts.” Pretty much sums it up doesn’t? But before we get into the heart of the issue, let’s go back in time a bit.
When the new world was discovered there was an immense amount of strife across the globe whether it be political or religious. In 1517 Martin Luther set the world on fire with his 95 point thesis calling out the Roman Church, which as we know, wasn’t received extremely well by Pope Leo X. In fact, he took great offence to a one-man revolution. How dare he attack the Holy Power and Authority of the Roman Catholic Church. His punishment, excommunication. He was labeled an enemy of the church and an insignificant protestor who should be taught a lesson. Thus, the word protestant. How many reading this fall into that category? Turns out hie wasn’t so insignificant and men like John Knox and John Calvin followed his lead into a new age of the teachings.
And then you have Henry the VIII who in 1527 decided the laws of marriage shouldn’t apply to him since his wife, Catherine, just couldn’t give him what he wanted; a male heir to the throne. The sitting Pope had a different idea. In layman’s terms, “you made your bed, now sleep in it.” What a novel idea. Yeah, not the answer Henry was looking for. So he said, the hell with it and formed the Church of England with him as the head of the church. Pretty radical action, don’t you think? While you wouldn’t exactly call him a protestant, the moniker fits.
Backing up a bit more, enter Christopher Columbus, 1492. What did he stumble upon, the Americas? And so the debate begins. Columbus didn’t discover America, the Vikings did, or the Mexicans did and finally, what about the Indigenous people who had been roaming the countryside for centuries. To them, it wasn’t a new world, but to those in Europe it was. From the beginning of time and history, humans have always been searching for new lands and riches to conquer and claim for their empire. Think about the Space Race of the 60’s. Why was it so important during the Cold War to be the first one to reach the moon and conquer space? Simple; new territory. While it sounds a little absurd today, whoever controlled the moon could dominate the earth with a military base from where the conquering country would be able to spy on its enemies. I’m not kidding! Alright, let’s get back on track.
When the church realized the movement wasn’t going away, they frantically searched for ways to remain relevant and in power. The message, ‘Join the Catholic Church, or else.” Or else what? Simple-execution. Not a very rosy picture is it? Thus, what Columbus came across became an escape route for the persecuted. And it only grew as empires struggled to retain power, fight off enemies while levying taxes on those who had nothing else to give. What would you do if faced with those decisions? They began packing what meager belongings they had, if any and got the hell out of Dodge!
The power brokers and entrepreneurs saw a golden opportunity. New lands. New opportunities and of course, an accumulation of potential, unprecedented wealth. Talk about the flood gates opening! But they also brought their ideas and customs to the New World and one was slavery. Why? Hell, it worked for thousands of years. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Moors, Persians, Asians, Africans all saw it as a means to enrich their empires, build fantastic tributes and monuments for historical posterity and cement their legacies in the annuls of history. When you gaze upon the Pyramids, Parthenon, Coliseum, aqueduct systems, do you reflect on the pain and suffering tens of thousands of enslaved people sacrificed building these majestic, engineering marvels or do you decide it’s a great place for a photogenic moment you can’t wait to share with friends and family?
So, in 1607 the London Company decided it would be a good thing to set up the colony, Jamestown. The first results weren’t promising to say the least. In fact, it was a disaster as 1319 of the initial 2000 perished from disease and war with the Indians. It was so bad; the London Company went bankrupt opening the door for the crown to take over the company and plant their flag in the New World. And now the fun begins. They found out the soil, in what would become the state of Virginia, was perfect for a cash crop-tobacco. And man did the money start stuffing the coffers! I wonder what other crops can be raised? What about rice, sugar cane and cotton? Hmm. Let’s give it a try.
Life plodded along at a steady pace as the colonies grew and grew. They set-up their own forms of government. Life was good. In a way, this was the birth of the new nation. Everything was fine and dandy until the French Indian or Seven Years war occurred. The British decided it was only fair that the colonists pay their fair share for the protection the crown had provided, thus the Stamp Act, followed by the Townsend Act. These pieces of legislation were not particularly embraced by the subjects. These actions, and what Americans decided was a bit of an over reach from England would lead to the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Let’s say the crown took a dim view of these actions and decided it was time to teach those rebellious subjects a lesson. The Coercive Act was passed which shut down Boston Harbor gave England full power over governmental affairs and reduced public meetings. Can you see the formation of our current Constitution?
While the North fumed with outrage, the South begrudgingly held firm since their main customer was Great Britain. Don’t want to rock that boat, now do we? It took the shelling of Falmouth, Massachusetts and Norfolk, Virginia to form an alliance and decide to do what their ancestors did and revolt. Not everyone in the South was in agreement with the action, but if they could join the cause yet keep the trade routes open, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. Also remember, northern sentiment about slavery was shifting, while the South said, “It’s none of your business.” In today’s terms, everyone who stood up to the crown was committing sedition and treason, all of them! Interesting lineage we come from, isn’t it? And while we gained our Independence it didn’t mean we were united. Sound familiar? Result-American Revolution.
As word spread that one could become filthy rich well what do you think would happen. A bonanza of fortune seekers, naturally. One problem, those that settled up in the northern colonies found out the soil wasn’t conducive for such agricultural endeavors. It took a while for the North to find an industrial base it could rely on and would support an economic base. It came in the form of textile mills. Coal also became a much-desired commodity for the obvious reasons. Thus, the formation of the split between North and South. Southerners who believed in the ways of the crown, when it came to labor, relied heavily on the booming slave trade
As time moved forward and the Untied States grew, so did new opportunities. But first, we need to get rid of the Spanish in Florida/Mexico and France. Through wheeling and dealing and a conflict or two, these goals were achieved.
With the United States its own country, prosperity and wealth increase as did tempers. The Northern states were taking a hard stance against slavery. England decided in 1834 that it was time to end the lucrative trade. The South was having none of it. Unlike the North, which had an ample supply of manpower to fill its factories and shops, the South was still clinging to chattel slavery for its work force. The South took the same action as the colonies did in the 70; s. “Don’t tell us what to do or how to do it.” Isn’t that the same message that was sent to the crown? They did what they thought was right as did their ancestors who left the Old World for the New and took a stand against their masters. Again, sound familiar? Result-Civil War.
Why didn’t Andrew Johnson ban the Stars and Bars? He had a golden opportunity but chose not to act. Why? The word heritage comes to mind Why did Johnson let the Southern States go back to business as usual after 600K died? Why? Grant tried to right the ship, but Americans by that time, both North and South were tired of reconstruction and hearing about the war. They chose to move on.
Germany didn’t change their flag after World War One, but hell yes, it was banished after World War Two. One word-Holocaust! Why hasn’t the Union Jack been replaced. It did, after all, represent the purveyors of slavery. I don’t hear any outcry for its removal, do you? Why didn’t Truman/MacArthur ban the Rising Sun? After all, they attack us without provocation and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and pow’s for their own amusement.
As one can see, those who came to America and still live her, are a rebellious bunch, no matter how you slice it. It’s in our DNA.
To wrap this up, why can’t America unite after one hundred and fifty-nine years? We were able to mend the wounds from a country that we declared war on, not once, but twice, and came to their aid, not once but twice. That would be England. How is it Germany was able to re-unite? They had two diametric views-Communism/Capitalism. They banded together, put aside their differences and joined for the common cause and have become the economic engine of Europe.
While the United States is the greatest experiment in democracy the world has seen, why in the hell can’t this country come together? We did in 1776, 1812, 1914, 1941 and 2000, But it never lasts. Why? Targeting the Stars and Bars and Confederate Statues only fans the flames of unrest. I have many friends whose great grandparents fought on both sides during our Civil War. Am I to condemn those with a different view because of the side they supported? That is a definite, Hell No! Am I appalled that they honor their ancestors who fought for what they believed was right? Again, hell no. I support their opinion and their freedom of speech as outlined in our Constitution. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with them but I respect their opinion. The real culprit today are politicians, media and social media. They push their own agenda and care not for the consequences for they believe they are immune to any backlash. They have long stopped working for the public. Investors and lobbyists are who they represent. This is why I don’t have a dire problem with the Stars and Bars, but when the government starts telling citizens what they can and cannot do, one only has to look at our history and see happens when those seeds are sown.
I’ll add this for context, I am a Damn Yankee and have been referred to as such since I moved to Texas. I heard all the names and would answer, “We won the War,” and we moved on. When will America do that?