What Were We Fighting For?

Although 150 years have passed since the start of the Civil War, Americans are still divided over what exactly sparked the conflict and which side was more sympathetic, according to a new national poll.

"In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Tuesday, roughly one in four Americans said they sympathize more with the Confederacy than the Union, a figure that rises to nearly four in ten among white Southerners.

When asked the reason behind the Civil War, whether it was fought over slavery or states' rights, 52 percent of all Americas said the leaders of the Confederacy seceded to keep slavery legal in their state, but a sizeable 42 percent minority said slavery was not the main reason why those states seceded.

"The results of that question show that there are still racial, political and geographic divisions over the Civil War that still exists a century and a half later," CNN Polling Director Holland Keating said.

When broken down by political party, most Democrats said southern states seceded over slavery, independents were split and most Republicans said slavery was not the main reason that Confederate states left the Union."

Why am I not surprised? In the South you still see Confederate flags on bandanas, T-shirts and the backs of trucks. You'd never see Germans wearing swastikas shirts (unless they're Neo-Nazis). And the rationale is always the same: "It's a part of our Southern heritage."

No, New Orleans jazz, Cajun food and Mardi Gras are a part of our heritage. Proudly wearing/displaying a symbol of a culture that auctioned off and used human beings like cattle, separated them from their families, raped their women and degraded them at every possible turn, all under the guise of "God's will," should not be celebrated. It should remembered as a human rights tragedy that should never be repeated.

Even if you wanted to say the war was all about states' rights or the South's economic dependence on cotton, the issue still goes back to--wait for it--slavery! Southern states were fighting for their right to own slaves, and slave-picked cotton drove the South's economy. And while we're at it, let's not act like the North was some Promised Land for black folks, flowing with jobs and money. Northern states also benefited from the cotton trade, and discrimination was alive and well among northerners. Racism didn't magically stop at the Mason-Dixon line. In reality most of the Union army(and Abraham Lincoln) weren't idealistic abolitionists hell-bent on wiping out slavery: they were simply trying to preserve the Union and ending slavery was the best option.

Yes your Confederate great-great grandfather/uncle/cousin may have fought bravely in the war for a variety of reasons; but he was still fighting to hold onto a way of life that viewed me as three fifths of a person. So don't be surprised if I don't feel like showing my pride.


The Nubian Ibex said…
Ok one portion...the racism in the north...AND STILL A FUCKIN LIVE TODAY! Dont even get me started on the things i hear these northerners saying about blacks being caught in italian neighborhoods. They didnt care for blacks that damn MUCH up there either. People forget that several northern locations had slaves.