May. 3rd, 2017

queenlua: (pic#9405713)
Trump's most recent ignorant blather is almost too idiotic to be worth discussing. Once again he has managed to outdo even the wildest satirst's dreams. News at eleven.

But I've found the reaction to be quite interesting.

The part of Trump's rambling that irked me the most was the "why couldn't the civil war have been avoided" comment—because it shows an almost mind-boggling ingorance of history. Leading up to the Civil War, there were endless compromises, and attempts at reconcilliation, and proxy conflicts. If the Civil War wasn't averted, it sure wasn't for a lack of trying.

But the knee-jerk reaction here in Coastal Liberal Land has been a bit different than mine. The two major strains:

1) Lots of snarky one-liner takes on Twitter and whatnot, with people angrily pointing out YEAH THERE WAS THAT WHOLE SLAVERY THING TRUMP IT COULDN'T HAVE JUST BEEN WORKED OUT. In a way, they're right. The states' rights interpretation of the Civil War is slowly dying the death it deserves.

At the same time, I think it's important to remember that the Union wasn't these heroic crusaders who'd finally decided the evils of slavery should be expunged once and for all. Lincoln was loath to bring the slavery question into the conflict; he was justly nervous that turning it into a "war against slavery" would alienate working-class whites in urban Union areas; his solution for dealing with the border states was just to militarily occupy them; the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in states he had no control and did nothing for slaves in states he could control; he had that famous bit about "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it". Implying that the reason the Civil War wasn't "worked out" was because the North universally saw a mighty injustice to be slain just isn't accurate.

(Here I once again include my appeal to actually fucking teach reconstruction in schools. That's the "working it out" Trump longed for, really. The south "lost" the war but managed to get a sympathetic president & fought against all the reforms and enfranchisement meant to lift up blacks blacks, leading to another century of Jim Crow de-facto caste system that suited those old rich southern landowners just fine. The problem wasn't that we didn't "work it out"; it was that we "worked it out" at the expense of the most vulnerable among us.)

2) A lot of folks seemed most furious at the mention of Andrew Jackson—which surprised me, probably more than it should have.

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