A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I heard over the weekend that America has not been as polarized since the War Between the States, or, as we southerners refer to it: The War of Northern Aggression or, (my personal favorite) -- The War for Southern Independence.
Leaving the nomenclature of the war aside, I have to agree that Americans are at each other's throats unlike anything I have ever seen and I am in my eighth decade of life.
As an amateur historian (I have no degree in history) I have spent a lot of time studying the period before the WBTS and I must tell -- you the comparisons and the parallels are so close as to be absolutely frightening.
Having said that, I also must tell you, I do not believe America, as a 50 state nation, can survive much longer.
Just to set the record straight... America was NEVER re-unified after the WBTS. Only on paper and in the minds of Utopians did that ever occur. The reality is that so-called Reconstruction only drove the wedge between the southern and northern states deeper resulting in a widening of the divide between us.
Even with our differences we managed to hold together until after the Second World War. Then, when GI's brought something called "moral relativism" (We call it Political Correctness today) back from Europe, the divide became a chasm and has since grown into a Grand Canyon sized gouge. It is, I fear, unbridgeable.
Understand: Today it is not the states that are divided, it is the PEOPLE who are divided. THAT is a far WORSE condition than the division of the states before the WBTS. At least in the 1800's geography played a role in suppressing a clash between the two for a few decades. Nowadays however, a man and his next door neighbor may be bitter ideological enemies and it makes not a wit of difference if those two neighbors live in New York City, or Charleston, South Carolina. The very air around them is, at best, noxious, at worse toxic and deadly poisonous.
Americans have never been a harmonious or homogenous people. We can't be. Our pedigree is nonexistent. We are anything but pure bloods, or thoroughbreds. We are mongrels, curs, mutts.
So how did we manage to hang together this long? Good question.
Here's my opinion: Up until fairly recently we had a common desire for freedom. That, I believe, was the bond that held us together.
That commonality no longer exists.
Too great a portion of the American people have decided that freedom is just too much work. Instead they have chosen to stop pulling the wagon and get in the wagon and ride. That created a tremendous amount of resentment which, I am afraid, has hardened into a burning coal of pure rage in the bosom of those left pulling the wagon.
Just this year we learned that half of Americans pay no taxes, at all, and slightly over half of all Americans are on the government dole to one degree or another. It is the other half, the working half, who resent the hell out of this and they are the people who will determine in the near future whether America lives or perishes.
They have had it!
They don't see any relief at the polls, as in generations past, because so many American work for the government these days that those who are not on the government payroll feel that elections are rigged in favor of the government.
If that sounds like a sentiment one might hear from a resident of a third-world country, you are exactly right. And many Americans from the working class believe that America is already on the road to becoming another third-world country.
For some years now there has been an undercurrent of rage in America. Just beneath the tranquil surface it has bubbled and expanded and now it is finding its way to the surface. It cannot be held back much longer. The pressure is too great.
America's leadership is not up to the task of bringing the two sides together. Frankly, I don't think anyone can. I am afraid we have reached a point that the scenario must be played out -- for bad or for good.
Our President, if not the most polarizing President ever, is certainly the most polarizing President since Lincoln. As long as he remains at the head of the American government, there is no hope of a truce.
And here is the hard truth: Nothing will stop the coming conflagration between Americans. America, I believe, must go through the crucible again. The dross must be broken lose and removed else we are all weakened by it. To do so means we all must go through the fire.
There is no predicting the manner, shape, or form the crucible will assume but I suspect we will not recognize it for what it is until we are well within the fire of the furnace.
I realize this is a "dark prophecy" and it is not a pleasant exercise committing such dire thoughts to the perusal and consideration of others. And if I were not convinced of their credibility, I would not.
But -- I AM convinced.
America, unlike much of the remainder of the world, does not value the wisdom of the aged. America is now, and always has been about youth. We cart our elderly off to "rest homes" and/or "nursing homes," replete with starkly white dormitories boasting Greek columns and burbling water fountains set in lush landscapes with rolling manicured lawns -- where they are expected to remain silent, out of sight, and wait ... for God to punch their ticket. We assuage out guilt for bursting the bubble of the "Golden Years" that, as it turns out, are "Leaden Years," at best.
Squelched in the silent, muted, voices of our elderly are volumes upon volumes of wisdom earned the hard way -- through the experience of trial and error, of mistakes made and corrected over decades layered upon decades. But to tap that reservoir of wisdom we must admit the existence of all those "old people" hanging out in God's Waiting Rooms all across the nation.
See -- those "Old People" -- they know. They have lived it all before. To them, none of what I have said above is new, or revealing, in any way. Its all there in a time capsule, a treasure trove of past, present, and future all locked away in their experience -- untapped, unwanted, and unacknowledged by their very own progeny.
The long and the short of it is this: America is about to crash. The depth to which she will fall is yet to be determined. There will be a massive internal struggle to decide what the surviving New America will be.
What that new country will be, I cannot predict. But rest assured of two things: One -- that any resemblance to current America will be purely accidental, and Two -- that the plans for the New America, including its "new" government, have already been been drawn up and are ready for implementation.
Like Cassandra, I do not expect to be believed. I have told you what I see in the near future for America. Others may well see something entirely different. It is the way of the human mind.
It is up to you to decide whether to get into the fight to help restore our beloved country, America, or stand on the sidelines and HOPE we get it right this time.
In the coming months and years America WILL BE CHANGED -- with or without you. The time of troubles is at our door.
What will YOU do?
J. D. Longstreet