Citizen-Times, 2/2014

I was Internetting my way through Sherman’s March to the Sea, to see how close the March came to my ancestors, when one sentence stopped my eyes in their sockets. Sherman’s personal escort across Georgia was the First Alabama Cavalry, a Union regiment.

What? White Alabamians protecting Sherman? Who were these guys?

A recruitment flyer (from the Internet) tells their story:   “Loyal Southerners, Come to Your Country’s Call!   To put down Treason and Rebellion and hand down to our Children, unimpaired, the Rich Legacy of the Glorious Union achieved and sealed with the blood of our forefathers.”

These guys saw through the scam of the Confederacy.   “Planters and so-called gentlemen” had pushed through secession and were successfully whipping up war fever.   First Alabama men went against the anti-Union enthusiasm all around them. They knew they would suffer retribution, during and after the war, but they went to secret recruitment sites in 13 counties to ride under the “Old Flag.”   They were men of discernment and courage.

When I read this, I said out loud, “That’s what we need this year in N.C.”

The Confederacy was an experiment with no hope of long-term success. It existed entirely for the benefit of the wealthy. States’ rights hamstrung Jefferson Davis. (Georgia threatened to secede from the Confederacy.) Poor whites, who fought their war, would be infinitely worse off in this piecemeal plutocracy. The Confederacy was a suicidal theory, and First Alabama guys knew it.

Republican experiments in N.C. today are likewise suicidal. Their theory of small government, not proven anywhere, benefits the wealthy and big business, short-changing everybody else. Our schools, healthcare and environment will likely be devastated beyond remedy if their experiment continues.

In the election of 2014, N.C. needs people of discernment and courage to save our future. Republicans have rigged the election system, though extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, so they’re guaranteed reelection – barring a massive backlash.

And that backlash must necessarily include people who have voted Republican in the past.

These people may be in a church community where everybody assumes that because Republicans oppose abortion and homosexuality, they can be trusted to make decisions fair to all. But can they? For example, there’s no election fraud that calls for voter IDs. There’s no Democratic plot to outlaw gun ownership.   New tax laws shift burdens away from the rich. We can afford Medicaid expansion.

It will take thousands of courageous people to ignore what everybody around them is saying and examine facts for themselves – like how a for-profit company that will privatize our schools gave big to key Republican campaigns.

Let’s hand down to our children the rich N.C. legacy of equal benefit for all, rich and poor.