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An Un-Civil War: History Ignored…Is History Repeated

By Marc Kelley
Our story begins decades before the first shot will be fired in anger, decades before our people will reach their breaking point, and decades before corruption and political graft were viewed as a legitimate business. Many of our problems throughout history can far more often than not, be traced back to the hubris and arrogance of politicians. People who promise to protect us, to make our present lives better, and build a better future for the generations who come long after we are gone from this earth. These are the people who believe they have the ability to do and say anything they please. People who brazenly stand before us and lie to our faces, then laugh behind our backs calling us an ignorant rabble, incapable of abstract thought or critical thinking. They extoll their amoral belief the Founding Fathers hated democracy and believed government should be left to a select few of the educated and wealthy. 
Of course selling their message to the masses requires both a plan and a vehicle; and conveniently, America has always had a free and open press, which by virtue of the 1st Amendment is protected. Again, most Americans will tell you with privileges come responsibilities. Yet time and time again, it has been media propaganda which has been used to unduly influence our elections. Surely the media would not move to quash a story of corruption and graft by the politically connected. Surely the select few educated and wealthy elites who by virtue of their birthright, would not conspire and lie to the American people, simply to win an election. Not in America, regardless of the time period. Yet in 1862, when then President Lincoln (a Republican) was facing a brutal election process and searching for a way to unite a deeply divided American people, that is exactly what happened. Several months before the election of 1864, Lincoln realized if America was to be kept intact, a larger Union Army must be raised. An Army, large enough to decisively prevail over the South’s Army of the Potomac. Things had not gone well for the North, the Union Army had suffered heavy losses, recruitment was down dramatically, and the people of the North had grown tired of war. Many Northerners believed it would be best to simply capitulate to the South and accept the concept, leaving decisions regarding slavery to the individual states. Yet, Lincoln understood our country could not survive as a divided nation and believed a new message, with a new reason to continue the fight must be delivered to the American people. Lincoln then penned his Emancipation Proclamation granting freedom to all enslaved people.
However, Lincoln’s closest advisors discouraged announcing the proclamation until such time as a major Union victory was won on the battlefield. Many argued the position delaying the announcement was worth the lives which would be lost because it would increase the political capital they would need to cement their re-elections for another term. Swayed by his advisors, Lincoln would not make the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation for another four months. Only following the Battle of Antietam, which we now know as the bloodiest day in American history, costing our country 3,655 American lives, did Lincoln deliver his Emancipation Proclamation. The announcement proved effective and provided a renewed pride in the Union cause. Recruitment began to rise and America was once again talking about a “just war” and the need to see it through to the end.
Not to be out maneuvered by Lincoln and the Republicans, and in an effort to influence the election, the ever faithful media sprang into action and coined a new word which would become part of our vocabulary. The New York World newspaper, know as the leading voice of the Democrat Party, published anonymously sourced propaganda pamphlet in November of 1863, entitled, Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro. The newspaper’s publisher, Joseph Pulitzer purported the Republican Party advocated the intermarriage of Whites and Blacks until they were “indistinguishably mixed” and this concept had been added as a plank in the Republican platform. Even though it took several weeks for the truth about the pamphlet to be brought to light, this concept fueled hate and distrust of people in both the North and the South. Two weeks after President Lincoln was re-elected the New York World (predecessor to the New York Tribune) broke the story; the pamphlet was not written by the Republicans, but rather by members of the Democratic Party who were in collusion with the media with the intention of sowing the seeds of hate and division, and ultimately influencing the Presidential Election of 1864.
In reality, because of a corrupt and patently dishonest media, who is willing to trade what little is left of their integrity, for political favor and personal enrichment, we as Americans cannot even agree on what it is exactly that causes us to to be at each other’s throats. It matters not where you live, your socio-economic status, or even your political ideology, crime, violence, and dishonesty have become the status quo. Some will argue there is too much government and the people’s right to choose, should be left up to the states in which they live. Still others believe it is only the sheer population numbers which matter, and the concept of majority rule is sacrosanct. It is the inability of our politicians to tell the truth, the amplification of these lies by a corrupt media, and the heavy hand of a two tiered justice system, we find ourselves in 2022, fighting the same war as we did in 1860. Irrespective of one’s personal beliefs, it is this fundamental clash of ideology which inevitably results in friction, which if left to fester, becomes a malignant cancer. A cancer which must be excised or otherwise dispatched in order to protect the greater good and save the lives we hold so dear.
Now, some 158 plus years after Americans took up arms against our own brothers and sisters, ending the lives of 620,000 of our own people, we continue to ignore the lessons of history. We have not learned, wars are not fought by the politicians, they are fought by the common man and woman who seek not death and destruction; but rather, a peaceful life, a safe home, and the right to raise their children as they see fit. In 2022, we may not yet be in a 2nd Civil War, but make no mistake, we are certainly waging an UN-CIVIL War with our words and our actions.
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