One hundred and fifty years ago in April the American Civil War ended. Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the Confederacy surrendered unconditionally to Ulysses S. Grant General in Chief of the Army of the United States of America.
The war between the states began on Jan. 9, 1861, when a South Carolina Artillery Battery fired on the steamship Star of the West as it attempted to resupply US Troops at Fort Sumter located in Charleston Harbor.
The attack sparked war that over the next four years took the lives of over 650,000 Americans.
On Jan. 8, 2011, from exactly the same spot where the Star of the West was attacked by traitors in 1861, the State of South Carolina once again celebrated the bombardment 150 years after the fact. One of the re-enactors manning the cannons a student at the states military college, explained, We should remember our heritage.
Really? OK let us revisit the heritage not only South Carolina but much of the South finds so glorious and worthy of celebration! Start with a statement by Alexander Stephens, vice-president of the illegitimate Confederate States of America, outlining the philosophy later written into the Confederate Constitution.
The cornerstone (of the Confederacy) rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the White Man; that slavery ... is his natural and moral condition.
Yes, indeed, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas and all you neo-confederates, let us celebrate your belief in the inequality of man and the right of one human being to own another as you would a dog or some feeder cattle.
Pure unadulterated evil no more, no less! But No No! This is not what the celebration is all about, protested the newly elected governor of Virginia when it was pointed out he had neglected to mention slavery in his official Civil War Proclamation.
My liberal friends tsk-tsked the governors oversight as ignorance and let it pass. But this was not an oversight! Such activity is in fact conservatives and Republicans carrying out a very well-thought-out organized agenda to discredit the national government and purge the Souths continuing support of states rights of any association with slavery and inequality. Before 1964 the American South was solid Democratic in every election. Kennedy, Johnson and the Democratic Party successfully passed far-reaching civil rights legislation beginning in 1965.
Following the 1968 elections the South had become the solid racist Republican South. Richard Nixons 1968 Presidential Campaign was based on his Southern Strategy anti-black, anti-union and anti-civil rights.
The poor Southern Red-Necks went for it hook, line and sinker.
Just as their fore-bearers did 150 years ago when they were convinced to act as cannon fodder for slave-owning rich white plantation owners. Americans cannot afford to ignore what our Civil War was really about. It was fought over the very basics of what America is all about the equality of every citizen under the law. And that is a concept under attack today as much as it was in 1861.
So this year I am going to celebrate the surrender of the Confederate Traitors by honoring the memory of two-heroes two average Americans from the Midwest who fought for our country in the Union Army and for the rights and humanity of all Americans. They were:
Pvt. Franklin Foley of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, Company I, and Oliver John Boyer of the 78th Ohio Infantry.
My great grandfathers!
Bill Johnston is a retired staff organizer of the United Food and Commercial Workers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.