Much is being made of the Governor of Virginia declaring April as a month to celebrate the Confederacy. Having grown up in the South I am astounded by how much the media and blogosphere does not know about the Civil War, and by how much of what they think they know is wrong. No, I do acknowledge that slavery was a central issue in that war, but the amount of misinformation flying around is simply staggering.
We are all agreed that the Civil War cost many lives, threatened the integrity of our nation, and that it was not a good thing. I believe we have consensus on that.
That war ended more than 140 years ago, and now we are engaged in a new “War Between the States” that is far more deadly than that one and which, even more seriously than that one did, threatens the integrity of our nation, threatens to destroy us.
That war had two sides, it pitted one group of states against another group of states; this war pits one state against forty-nine, fifty times over. That war was fought with guns and artillery; this one is fought with money and power. Legislators sit in the halls of the national seat of government and bargain for the benefit of their individual states to the detriment of the nation as a whole. They give lie to the word “United” in the name of our nation.
Barry Goldwater once famously said that he was not the Arizona Senator; he took pride in being the United States Senator from Arizona. He conducted business in the Senate in the best interest of the nation. Asked one time why he was opposing the Apache helicopter, which would be built in his home state, he replied, “They could build the damned thing in my living room and I’d oppose it until they get the price right.”
Today we have legislators in Washington who plainly say that they have come to the halls of national government for one specific purpose, “To serve the people of my state.” A national legislator has no qualms at opposing legislation until terms are inserted into it that openly amount to bribery, and even take pride in having done so. The “Louisiana Purchase,” the “Florida Carveout” and the Nebraska deal in “health care reform” come to mind.
A national legislator is elected to represent his constituents' principles in governing for the national interests, not to cater to the comforts and greed of those who elected him. They are elected to serve the people of the nation.
It’s not just the legislators, it’s the people who elect them. Barry Goldwater was reelected by an overwhelming margin after that helicopter incident, not once but several times. He was loved and admired in his home state. Today he would be ridden out of town on a rail for saying anything like that. How dare he not bring home the maximum amount of federal money?
Who was it with the famous “united we stand, divided we fall” quotation? The “U” is gone from “USA” today. We are divided, one against forty-nine fifty times over, and we are in serious danger of falling.