Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keeping Today's Activism in Perspective

In Carl Sandburg's, "Storm Over The Land" (which I'm presently reading), his 1939 work taken mainly from the four volumes of "Abraham Lincoln: The War Years", he describes, with dramatic suspense, the dark hours leading up to The Civil War.

He writes, "When the original six States established the Confederate Government at Montgomery, Jefferson Davis was introduced to the crowd as its President and a constitution was adopted. Southern United States Senators and Congressman stood up in Washington and spoke farewells, some bitter, some sad. United States postmasters, judges, district attorneys, customs collectors, by the hundreds, sent their resignations to Washington. The mint for coining United States money at New Orleans, and two smaller mints, were taken over by the Confederate States. Of the 1,108 officers of the United Sates Regular Army, 387 were preparing resignations, many having already joined the Confederate forces. Governors of seceded States marched in troops and took over seventeen forts and ports that had cost the United States $6. million, marine hospitals and arsenals, customhouses, and lighthouses at scores of points."

In 1861, there was reason for grave concern. In 2009, author John Avlon wrote, "Wingnuts: How The Lunatic Fringe Is Highjacking America". While I think Avlon is certainly "onto something", today's "wingnuts" and "teapartiers" obviously pale in comparison.

My ancestors, many of whom probably felt their efforts noble in 1861, probably wouldn't appreciate being compared to "wingnuts". I didn't intend that. Sometimes we are just on the wrong side of history.

Today, I believe most of us are pulling the wagon in the same direction. Some are just using different grips from others. And Sandburg's description of another time certainly has a way of putting it all in perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive