|Robert Gould Shaw memorial, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (National Gallery of Art)|
The South was never going to win the Civil War.
If you consider the resources of the North, the moment the first Confederate cannon fired on Fort Sumter, the South’s doom was sealed. A week later, the Chicago Tribune ran a prescient editorial explaining why.
“It is a military maxim of modern war that the longest purse wins,” it begins, outlining the North’s advantages in manpower, manufacturing, maritime strength and, most of all, money. “The little State of Massachusetts can raise more money than the Jeff Davis Confederacy.”
The conclusion may have been foregone, but it took four years and 620,000 American lives to play out.
It’s still unfolding. The Confederacy lost the war, but never gave up the fight — its baked-in bigotry, the proud ignorance required to consider another human being your property, marches on, from then to now. Manifesting itself plainly in the Trump era, his entire political philosophy being the slaveholder mentality decked out in new clothes, trying to pass in the 21st century. They even wave the same rebel flag. Kind of a giveaway, really.
The Lost Cause marches on, as we will see Wednesday, when Congress faces another ego-stoked rebellion: Donald Trump’s insistence that his clearly losing the 2020 presidential election in the chill world of fact can be set aside, since he won the race in the steamy delta swampland between his ears.
No way. Not as long as there are Americans, like the Chicagoans rushing to sign up to fight in April 1861, who are true patriots and willing to stand up for democracy.
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