Ta-Nehisi Coates Continues to Kick Confederate Dreamer Ron Paul, His States-Rights Libertarians, and His Republican Party Up and Down the Avenue
I must say, this is a thing of beauty to watch. TNC:
Compensation - Politics - The Atlantic: When Ron Paul claims that Lincoln "shouldn't have gone to war," he is deploying a convenient and erroneous frame which necessarily holds that the inciting aggression was not in raising an Army, seizing federal property and arms, urging revolution among ones neighbors, and then firing on a federal fort, but in democratically electing a president with whom slave-holders disagreed. Throughout the War, Lincoln attempted to bring about a peaceful and magnanimous end. He pitched compensated emancipation, and was rebuffed, not by the Confederates, but by slave states still loyal to the Union. When Union armies brought states back under federal control he urged easy paths to regaining citizenship. And in his final inauguration speech, even in seeing some justice in the War's carnage, still he spoke of concilliation:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
A month later, he was dead. Again, the reasons are a matter of history:
I have ever held the South were right. The very nomination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, four years ago, spoke plainly, war -- war upon Southern rights and institutions. His election proved it. "Await an overt act." Yes, till you are bound and plundered. What folly! The South was wise. Who thinks of argument or patience when the finger of his enemy presses on the trigger? In a foreign war I, too, could say, "country, right or wrong."
But in a struggle such as ours, (where the brother tries to pierce the brother's heart,) for God's sake, choose the right. When a country like this spurns justice from her side she forfeits the allegiance of every honest freeman, and should leave him, untrameled by any fealty soever, to act as his conscience may approve. People of the North, to hate tyranny, to love liberty and justice, to strike at wrong and oppression, was the teaching of our fathers. The study of our early history will not let me forget it, and may it never.
This country was formed for the white, not for the black man. And looking upon African Slavery from the same stand-point held by the noble framers of our constitution. I for one, have ever considered if one of the greatest blessings (both for themselves and us,) that God has ever bestowed upon a favored nation. Witness heretofore our wealth and power; witness their elevation and enlightenment above their race elsewhere. I have lived among it most of my life, and have seen less harsh treatment from master to man than I have beheld in the North from father to son. Yet, Heaven knows, no one would be willing to do more for the negro race than I, could I but see a way to still better their condition.
An avowed white supremacist, Booth signed his last letter, "A Confederate doing duty upon his own responsibility."
History is identity. When we erase the painful portions, we lose texture, color and we are reduced. Patriotism, in my eyes, has always been about the strength of seeing those rough spots, of considering your home at its worse, and remaining enthralled, nonetheless. That is how we love our daughters, our husbands, our mothers. That is how we make family.
I have come to a fairly recent regard for Lincoln. He rose from utter frontier poverty, through self-education and hard work, to the presidency and the upper reaches of American letters. His path was harsh. His wife was mentally ill. His son died in office. He was derided in newspapers as ugly, stupid, a gorilla and white trash. For his patience, endurance, temperance and industry in the face of so many troubles, Lincoln was awarded a shot to the head.
Now in some sectors of the country for which Lincoln died, patriotism means waving the flag of his murderer. The party he founded supports this odious flag-waving and now gives us a candidate who would stand before that same flag and peddle comfortable fictions. What hope is there when those who talk of patriotism brandish the talisman of bloody treason?