Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Texas "Secession": The Most Inappropriate Protest in American History?

Secession, eh?

I get it. It is a statement, right? Great. People in Texas don't like President Obama. It will never become reality, for really real. I get it.

No joke.
But, you know, a while ago, I made a joke on someone's Facebook thread about Lincoln's assassination. I thought it was harmless -- a remark about him faring badly on a night at the theater. Well, my friend's friend (someone I did not know) flipped out about my not showing respect for the man who is arguably our greatest-ever president. The thing is, I have always had tremendous respect for Lincoln.

At first, my reaction was: This guy is over the top. He's crazy. How could he flip out like this? Lincoln has been dead for so long... I even "rode" him a little for being ridiculous, for a few lines.

Then, he referenced many of Lincoln's trials; the death of his boy; the overwhelming number of men he had to send to their death in order to preserve a nation. This guy talked about Lincoln's assassination (and presidency) as if it had just happened the week before. And you know what? I realized, before long, he was completely right. No one should ever joke about Lincoln's death. I commend this guy for his perspective, even though he might never read this. And I commend him for having taught a grown man a lesson.

If we let the Civil War start to seem like a distant memory -- something that is just a chapter in a history book -- we are committing a heartbreaking error; maybe a back-breaking error.

How, in God's name, can we throw around the idea of secession? 625,000 men died over the idea of secession. It doesn't matter how long ago it happened. It was -- and is, still -- horrible. It was the darkest period in America's history.

If ghosts can rise from the grave, now is the time. I wouldn't be surprised to see more than six-hundred-thousand specters descend on Texas on hot midnight breeze.

We can protest in America. We can make statements. We can bitch and moan. It's what we stand for, as a nation: a right to show dissent. But if we see a reference to breaking the Union as a cheap way to draw attention to our dissatisfaction, we're spitting in the faces of all who lived and died for the construction of America as we know it.

If this petition is for real, it is heinous. If it is a way to make a statement, it is the worst, most tasteless joke I have ever heard. I hope poor Mr. Lincoln can't hear any of it.

I'm not a flag-waving boot-thumper, but the mere use of the word "secession" sends spider cracks through my heart.

And hope fades, still more.


  1. Hey Chris, you ever read Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog over at the Atlantic? He talks about the legacy of the Civil War and slavery in modern America quite a bit, and if you haven't read his stuff you might find it interesting.

    1. No, 'nora, I haven't. Sounds like something I would gobble up -- I'll check it out. Thanks.