Tag Archives: Civil War

Pollyanna? No, an idealist

One of the harshest criticisms I have received over many decades offering commentary on issues of the day came from a colleague of mine.

He called me a “Pollyanna.” I cannot remember the specific issue that prompted the dig, but it likely had something to do with the political climate of the time and my wish for a return to a kinder time. I guess my critic/friend didn’t ascribe to the same ideals as I did then … and still do today.

I might invite the Pollyanna brickbat once again by declaring that no matter how desperate the current environment appears, I am going to rely on my faith in the U.S. Constitution … yeah, the same Constitution that Donald Trump said we should suspend.

For starters, the Constitution is far stronger and more durable than the insane rants of a disgraced politician. Moreover, we have been through many crises that rival or even exceed the current tempest brewing over efforts to reject election results, or return Trump to the White House.

We endured two world wars, and in the past 75 years two other wars — in Korea and Vietnam — that tore at our fabric. We went to war in the Middle East, prompting yet another crisis of confidence.

We have endured presidential assassinations dating back to President Lincoln’s murder in 1865, presidential scandals — one of which forced a president to resign — the Great Depression and a Civil War.

What has been the common denominator, the one political structure that survived? The U.S. Constitution. It has held the nation together, albeit while showing plenty of wear and tear around the edges.

It will continue to hold us together. No matter how hard the MAGA cultists/traitors seek to undermine it, the Constitution will endure. So will our democratic republic … and so will the electoral process that is taking its share of heavy hits from those who have declared war on our founding document.

This is not the feel-good wish of a Pollyanna. It is the assertion of an old man, a veteran who went to war for his country and a patriot who remains committed to the glorious idealism that our nation’s founders envisioned.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Do they really mean ‘civil war’?

What in the name of certifiable insanity is happening along the rightward fringe of political discourse, with individuals and groups yammering about the prospects of “civil war” if certain events don’t go the way they want them to go?

There well could be multiple indictments coming from at least two states, and the U.S. Department of Justice over the conduct of the most recent former president of the United States. Donald Trump’s cult followers are vowing to take to the streets. They will exact revenge if their leader faces criminal prosecution.

Some of ’em have said they expect a civil war to erupt. What the … ?

Hey, we all know what happened when we had a Civil War in this country. Six hundred thousand Americans died on battlefields throughout much of the eastern United States. The war ended. President Lincoln vowed to bind the wounds that tore us apart … only to be assassinated.

Now some among us are predicting a return to that horrifying chapter in our national history. And why? Because the Justice Department is doing its job in accordance with federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Oh, and then we have two states — Georgia and New York — looking as well into possible criminal behavior. They, too, are operating legally and ethically in the search for the truth.

Oh, my. These threats frighten the daylights out of me.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

All together now: No secession for Texas!

Let’s all say this together, shall we? Texas cannot — under the law — secede from the United States of America!

Texas tried that once. It didn’t work out. We joined several other southern states to go to war with the United States because slave owners wanted to maintain the right to own fellow human beings as property. The Civil War came to an end in April 1865 and Congress wrote a law that prohibited secession. Period, man!

That didn’t dissuade the Texas Republican Party, though, from delivering a resolution at the end of its conference in Houston this past weekend that calls for a statewide referendum aimed at “achieving Texas independence.”

I have declared already that the Texas GOP has gone ’round the bend. This resolution only strengthens my argument.

The secession argument keeps rearing its disgusting head whenever right-wingers get pi**ed off about something, or anything! They want to remove the state from the clutches of federal control, believing foolishly that the state can solve its own problems.

“It is now time that the People of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future,” state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, said in a statement announcing the resolution at the GOP conference.

The Texas Tribune reports: “The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune in 2016. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

Yeah, a “very big role,” indeed.

The Confederacy committed the ultimate act of treason in declaring war on the U.S. government. The Civil War cost the nation more than 600,000 lives in the bloodiest conflict in its history.

President Lincoln’s second inaugural speech in March 1865 — a month before he would be assassinated — declared his intention to heal the wounds that ripped the nation apart. “With malice toward none and charity for all,” he said, the nation must move forward together.

Now we hear from the lunatics of Abraham Lincoln’s own Republican Party wanting to secede once again. Why? Because they don’t want the feds setting the rules all Americans must follow.

Do you see what I mean, therefore, about how nuts today’s Republican Party has become?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Honest Abe: unelectable

This is the face of an unelectable politician and, no, it is not because he isn’t particularly “telegenic.” It is because his ideas within his beloved Republican Party have become grist for the trash heap.

Consider the very notion that the man I consider to be our nation’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, is no longer the voice and face of a party that once called itself “The Party of Lincoln.” President Lincoln held the nation together during its darkest period, during the time when Americans fought each other over slavery and that thing one side referred to as “states’ rights.”

Then, as the Civil War drew to a close and as President Lincoln delivered his second inaugural speech after winning re-election in 1864, he said he would bind the wounds that divided us, that he would proceed with “malice toward none and charity for all.” An assassin struck a month later and denied the president the chance to deliver on his promise.

The party under which he ran for president twice has become something the president wouldn’t recognize. He certainly would not condone the tone it has taken in recent years. It has been hijacked and twisted into a form that bears no resemblance to the party of the so-called “big tent.”

Donald John Trump’s control over the party starting with the 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign has taken it on a destructive course. It’s not that the party is destroying itself. It is that the ideas it promotes has gained new followers who are wedded to the hideous notions espoused by its leader.

The Grand Old Party has become a cult whose followers are infiltrating the ranks of candidates throughout Congress and into statehouses, county courthouses and even into ostensibly non-partisan city halls and school board meeting rooms.

Imagine a Republican with the chops of Abraham Lincoln seeking public office today. Imagine how the 16th president himself would fare were he to become a candidate.

Abraham Lincoln likely couldn’t be elected as a Republican because his party would lack the good sense to nominate him in the first place. The future of civil discourse and debate in this country deserves better than what lies ahead.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Cancel culture? Really?

As a general rule I don’t usually quote “Star Trek” actors to buttress a point I want to make, but this one attributed to Mr. Sulu seems to ring so very true to me.

GOP politicians in Texas and everywhere else keep raising hell about “cancel culture” politics they allege are espoused by progressives. You know how it goes: Someone finds a phrase or a term to be offensive, so they set out to blot that from our vernacular; “cancel culture” has resulted in the bringing down of Confederate memorials honoring traitors who sought to topple the U.S. government during the Civil War.

The right wingers among us just can’t stand that notion.

And yet … they seek to ban books that teach students about racism in our nation’s history, about slavery and about certain damning chapters in the building of our nation.

Isn’t that more than just a little hypocritical?

It sure looks like it to me.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gen. Lee? Traitor!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gen. Robert E. Lee keeps creeping back into the news and onto social media platforms.

The late Confederate army officer still has his fans 150-plus years after his side surrendered to the Union Army to end the Civil War.

For the life of me I am having trouble understanding the infatuation with this fellow.

I will acknowledge that coming of age in Portland, Ore., far away from the actual fighting of the Civil War that I didn’t have a full understanding and appreciation for what transpired prior to the start of the shooting. I knew about Lee’s loyalty to Virginia. I knew that he had been given a choice: remain an officer in the United States Army or defect to the Confederacy, which had seceded and formed a “nation” of its own.

Lee chose the latter. He said “to hell with my country,” or something to that effect. He decided he would be loyal to his state. Some folks find honor in that. I do not. He committed an act of treason. Lee was disloyal to his country and ordered the men under his Confederate command to kill soldiers who were fighting to preserve the United States of America.

How can there be any honor in that? I find it impossible, the older I get, to see how this man continues to hold some sort of spell over those who worship his memory.

Public entities are seeking to remove vestiges of his presence. They want to take down statues erected in his honor. They want to turn these artifacts into museum pieces and explain this fellow’s true place in U.S. history, which in summary form is that he fought to destroy the United States of America.

That is honorable? I think not!

Irony abounds in this political debate

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As I watch and listen to the contemporary political debate, I am struck by the profound irony I see and hear almost daily.

It slaps me in the puss, punches me in the gut, gnaws at my innards.

Here’s what I mean.

I listen to those on the far right fringes of our nation’s political spectrum proclaim their “patriotism,” their “love of country” and their devotion to the Constitution. Then I see the occasional image of these “patriots” standing under a Confederate flag. Or they lambaste the movement known as “Antifa,” which — as you might know — is a sort of short-hand for “anti-fascist.”

The irony? Well, the first ironic notion is obvious, given that the Confederacy stands as the nation’s most profound enemy of the state. The Confederate States of American seceded from the Union and went to war to protect the institution of slavery within those states.

In recent times, of course, many of us has awakened to what the Confederacy really represented: treason against the United States of America. Statues of Confederate soldiers have come down. Americans have rioted to protest their removal. A president of the United States tried to make excuses for their riotous behavior by referring to “fine people … on both sides” of a riot that included Klansmen and Nazis.

That dovetails into the second profound irony of this real-time debate. Antifa has become a four-letter word. It is used in some circles as an epithet meant to demonize those who speak out against police brutality or seek justice for those who have been mistreated by rogue cops.

The root of the term Antifa, though, is what brings this irony into sharp focus for me. Let us never forget that The Greatest Generation of Americans went to war against fascism. The German Nazis who, along with their Italian partners, sought to subjugate Europe under the heavy hand of fascism. They were joined by their tyrants in Japan, who dragged this country into the world’s bloodiest war. My own father was one of those young Americans who left the comforts of their home and went to war against the fascists.

Yes, Dad was an Antifa member.

I simply cannot let this irony go without offering this comment on its hideous nature in this current political debate.

It sickens me.

Secession? Are they serious?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s close being declared official, that the Texas Republican Party has lost what passes for its mind. Hey, maybe it already is an official declaration!

Get a load of this: the Texas GOP has signed on to a proposal to allow Texans to vote on whether the state should secede from the Union and form an independent nation.

The Guardian reports: In a talk show interview, the party chair, Allen West, argued that: “Texans have a right to voice their opinions on [this] critical issue.

“I don’t understand why anyone would feel that they need to prevent people from having a voice in something that is part of the Texas constitution,” the former Florida congressman said of the Texas Referendum Independence Act. “You cannot prevent the people from having a voice.”

Texas Republicans endorse legislation to allow vote on secession from US | Texas | The Guardian

Allen West is out of his mind. He has gone around the bend. His butter has slipped off his noodle.

What are we to expect from a one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas specifically to hijack the state GOP. Oh, I should also mention that he resigned from the Army after being accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners of war during the Iraq War.

Now he is lending his voice to the craziest notion since, oh, the last time Texas seceded from the U.S. of A., in 1861, when it joined the Confederate States of America, which then lost the Civil War, the bloodiest armed conflict in our nation’s history!

This secession issue has been around ever since. It keeps cropping up during Texas legislative sessions. Kinda like the way fire ant mounds pop up after a spring thunderstorm.

The Texas Tribune reported in January that secession is illegal.

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

You don’t have to take my word for it; a lot of brainiacs have said that any notion that Texas can secede is the stuff of lunatics.

When in the name of political sanity is the Texas Republican Party going to pull its head out of its a**? Ever?

Listen up: Texas cannot secede!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Is it OK to presume that every state legislative body has a wacky caucus in its ranks? If so, then Texas isn’t alone in the legislative wackiness that presents itself from time to time.

Consider this from a Republican state representative, Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg, who has pitched a resolution calling for a statewide election to determine whether Texas can secede from the Union.

Yes, the secessionists have returned! Oh, my. When does the madness stop? Don’t answer that. I know that it will never stop. It will never end.

The Texas Tribune reports what many of us know already, that the state cannot secede legally. The Civil War took care of that, right?

Texas seceded once already, joining the Confederacy in trying to break apart the United States of America. It went to war against the government, against fellow Americans. The issue? Slavery. The Civil War ended correctly, with the Union prevailing.

The Tribune wrote this about Biedermann’s idea:

“It is now time that the People of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future,” he said in a statement announcing the legislation.

The bill d oesn’t appear to have much of a chance. And even if it did, experts say, Texas can’t just secede.

“The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune in 2016. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. We joined the Union in 1845, adopting a resolution that contained language that said the state could partition itself into four parts if it wanted. Indeed, a former Texas Panhandle legislator, David Swinford of Dumas, once pitched the notion as recently as 1991. I asked Rep. Swinford whether he meant it as a serious proposal … and he did not say he was joking. 

Secession, though, is a non-starter. The Tribune cites a bit of wisdom offered by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “The answer is clear,” Scalia wrote. “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”

Confederate flag also represents treason, oppression

Donald J. Trump just cannot bring himself to acknowledge what a majority of American southerners now admit … that the Confederate flag symbolizes racism.

Oh, no. Trump declares the flag is a symbol of “Southern history.” Well, yeah. It is that. The history, though, includes the Civil War. I know Trump has heard of it.

The war began when the Confederate States of America decided it wanted to form a new country. To do so it had to separate from the United States of America. Then the rebels fired on the Union garrison in Charleston, S.C. harbor. The war was on!

The conflict killed more than 600,000 Americans. Yes, I include the Confederate forces as “Americans,” even though they committed a treasonous act by taking up arms against the federal government.

Why did they go to war? Because their states wanted to keep human beings enslaved. They wanted the right to “own” humans as property. It’s been referred to euphemistically as a “states rights” issue. It is no such thing. The CSA wanted to retain the right to oppress human beings.

They fought the Union forces under the Confederate flag that Donald Trump — the man who has no understanding of history and its complexities — says represents “Southern history.”

The Confederate flag well might symbolize “history” to many Americans. To many others it represents hatred, oppression and enslavement. It is no coincidence that contemporary hate groups — the KKK, instance — flies the Confederate flag while spewing hate speech aimed at African-Americans.

Is that worth honoring? Hardly.