Friday, March 17, 2006

Civil War in America

Margaret Kimberley at AlterNet:

Every year the Sons of Confederate Veterans use the North Carolina statehouse to celebrate their annual Confederate flag day ceremony. It has become more common in recent years for some white Southerners to openly wax nostalgic for the days when their ancestors fought and died to preserve slavery.

It is easy to see a connection between present-day yearnings for a return to Dixieland and renewed efforts to threaten voting rights. It is less obvious to see similar connections with trends elsewhere in the country. South Dakota is a long way from South Carolina, but that state recently joined the battle to turn back the clock on civil rights and return to the bad old days when white men ruled and everyone else was subservient.

The right to abortion became the law of the land with the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. In the absence of that decision being overturned by the court, the action of the South Dakota legislature gives the finger to the United States Constitution and anyone who believes in it. South Dakota has fired on Fort Sumter. Congressman John Conyers stated, "Victory in the South Dakota case will give conservatives renewed momentum to challenge all the other freedoms we hold dear."

The 21st century Confederates are succeeding because no one is willing to stand in their way. The Argus Leader, the largest newspaper in South Dakota, announced it will not take an editorial position on the new law. Spineless editorial page editor Chuck Baldwin made this amazing comment about his decision to gag himself. "Rather than change anyone's mind, we would create another controversy."

Translation: The powerful have spoken, and I'm not bucking the system.

Civil rights and civil liberties are in grave danger. They will disappear if there is no willingness to fight for them. Preserving them will mean having to fight against some of our fellow citizens. We can fight with nonviolent methods, but there has to be a fight. The only alternative is to find ourselves back in the days when everyone knew his or her place and didn't dare step out of it.

That's exactly why we're here. All that's required for the wingnuts, government and civilian both, to succeed is for us to do nothing. Over my dead body.

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