Sunday, October 31, 2004

To Hell and Back

Here's another link, one I came across yesterday in my surfing, that I bring up because we are now within forty-eight hours of the 2004 election, the only poll that counts. I think it's fascinating that according to polls the predicted blue and red state outcomes in the electoral college are again following, with only a few exceptions, the old Mason-Dixon line. Indiana is solidly red; Maryland is solidly blue; otherwise the election comes down to the Union versus the Confederacy. Florida, like the Left Coast, is filled with transplanted Yankees, so it's a swing state. Eight states that fought to keep Old Glory in one piece, including New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, are reputedly in danger of becoming Dixie-Cans this year. If half of them do, we're looking at four more years instead of three more months. And if that happens it will be because the alleged losers of that struggle 140 years ago have more enduring memories of it than their northern counterparts. Majorities in Congress have always relied on the Dixie vote for their edge. When fully half of Democratic representation consisted of Dixiecrats, the party was terribly split, especially on issues like civil rights, and southern emphasis on state's rights tended to temper Yankee federalism. Lincoln's party won the ideological war, but lost the peace when it's view of Reconstruction, "malice toward none", failed to hold sway. So the Republicans became the party of big business and didn't really move to the right until FDR, out of necessity, put a lock on leftward leanings in America by turning the union movement into tax-paying businesses.

As to the topic at hand, I don't own a gun and I tend to favor gun control. I don't think that another disputed election outcome is apt to trigger a second Civil War, largely because I'm pretty well convinced that the first one is still going strong. If it is four more years, I think it's likely that in the next four years voters in the northern tier of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, the states from which most of the Union troops were drawn, will regret trusting their welfare to the Dixiecans because in their chagrin it will occur to them how much of their past they have unwittingly forgotten. But I think they have had some help in that regard.

My great great grandfather came to America from East Brandenburg, Prussia in 1856. He lived in America for less than a decade and the last six months of his life were spent as a volunteer, sacrificing his life on the border between Texas and Mexico to preserve the union. He crossed an ocean to come to America and died making sure that his children would inherit the dream of America he had pursued. I only learned who my great great grandfather was within the past two years and the information I used to rediscover his life came via the internet from a country that for most of my life has been two countries. One of the issues raised in this year's electoral campaign is whether there are now really two Americas, just as only a few years ago there were two Germanies.
I live overseas and I'm often asked what country I am from. If it is four more years, I won't have any problem telling people that I come from the "other" America, the one Prussian soldiers died fighting to preserve.

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