Sunday, February 20, 2011

past glory, our shame

the south shall rise again!
someone keeps the confederacy's flag flying in richmond's historic shockoe cemetery -- as seen in the photo. the person buried here is of no great historic importance in her own right, as far as i can tell, but she was the daughter of a commander in the confederate navy, and the sculpture is made in such a way as to hold a flag. as one is torn to shreds, it is quickly replaced.

it seems like the confederate "ideal" of states rights are also continually being renewed in the south, through the tea party and its national sponsors, the koch brothers.

today, however, states rights means something very different than it did during the time before and during the civil war.

during the "nullification crisis of 1828", south carolina refused to collect a tariff on imported manufactured goods -- a tariff imposed by the national government in support of fledgling domestic industries. south carolina threatened to secede from the union, and was only prevented from doing so by a compromised gradual reduction of the tariff.

today, when states like virginia and arizona attempt to pass "nullification" laws, they echo the belligerency of an earlier era, but without the clout to carry out their threats (which they don't make explicit, anyway). which of these states could realistically survive as independent political entities?

the most obnoxious "red" states are freeloaders. they receive outsized federal largesse in proportion to the tax burden they carry. still, they feel put upon by the federal government, and their representatives will not level with these penis-heads about what egregious, unbearable hypocrites they are.

they aren't the worst, though. that would have to be the oligarchs themselves, people like the koch brothers who are diligently funding projects to subvert and eventually destroy american democracy. unlike the secessionists during the civil war, they don't have a program of replacing the union with something. their goal is to simply wreck the polity, and then the economy, in some misanthropic, malignant program to destroy several hundred years of human effort.

during that time, we achieved a modicum of progress, while at the same time flirting with self-annihilation. as if releasing the nuclear genie wasn't foolish enough, the next step is to poison the planet, so that the small steps we're made as a species to justice and equality can be fully and permanently eradicated.

dunno about you, but the idea of someone sitting in their climate-controlled bunker, counting his gold bullion, sounds like the type of dystopia i definitely don't want to be party to. especially on the receiving end!

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