The Civil War began in South Carolina, as we are reminded by the Confederate marching son the Bonnie Blue Flag:
First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand
Then came Alabama and took her by the hand
Next, quickly Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
The song’s writer got the order wrong after South Carolina, which seceded December 20, 1860 and was followed by Mississippi, but that did nothing to detract from the song’s popularity. Southerners were able to get behind the spirit of the thing and accuracy could get behind poetry for the sake of promoting southern rights, just as today it is our fact-based world which must step aside.
As the song’s chorus says,
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
Southern rights are still marching in South Carolina a century and a half later where tea party senator Lee Bright preaches, “If the Tenth Amendment won’t protect the Second, we might have to use the Second to protect the Tenth.” He has also wisecracked, “If at first you don’t secede, try again.” The bill he filed for South Carolina to study the adoption of its own currency would be only the beginning.
According to Bright, Obama wants to be king, and and confusing the Bible for the Constitution, Bright says there is “No king but Jesus.” Apparently, being legally – and constitutionally – elected president against the wishes of the political minority is not only an affront to God but illegal in some bizarre fashion. The fact that Obama was elected twice has driven the last coherent thought from their brains.
As I have pointed out here before, there are more than two amendments in the Bill of Rights and there is more to the Constitution than these two amendments, not that you would know it from Republican discourse on the subject. The fact that you don’t like how things turned out doesn’t mean you get to throw the system out. Bright’s histrionic “I want peace. Listen, peace is sweet, but it’s not so sweet for the chains of slavery,” is a cry for anarchy.
Unsurprisingly, Bright thinks Lindsey Graham is too liberal (I hope you didn’t just choke as you read that). He intends to mount a challenge against him in 2014. According to Bright, the extreme conservative Graham “has gone off the reservation in terms of the conservative ideals I believe in.”
It might help to know just what those ideals are: as Right Wing Watch has pointed out, Bright “doesn’t just want to eliminate a host of core federal programs,” but seems to want to re-fight the Civil War. In February, Bright told the crowd that Obama would send federal troops into South Carolina:
We want to use the Tenth Amendment to protect the Bill of Rights, but if we have to, we will use the Second Amendment to protect them. We want to be a peaceful people, but we can’t sacrifice liberty for peace.
I’ve talked to plenty of soldiers, and these soldiers don’t much like what’s going on with Obama. I mean, these are our troops, these are our family members, and I just don’t think he’ll have federal troops coming down here. to South Carolina.
The crowd responded with cries of “Vote him out!” and “Vote with guns!”
Yes, I think it is safe to say Sen. Bright wants to have another go.
The problem is, of course, that we have already fought the Civil War and the ideals being pushed by Bright lost. In truth it seems disingenuous (at best) to be pushing any part of the Constitution when it is clear that the tea party generally seems to think the Constitution was a mistake in the first place, that we would have been better off with the completely unworkable Articles of Confederation. For example, World Net Daily recently argued that the anti-federalists were right when they “prophesied the end of freedom.”
Bright wants to nullify federal law, including the Affordable Care Act. In fact, he wants to put anyone who supports the law in jail for a year. His bill S 102, introduced in January of this year, is not only unconstitutional but little less offensive than his plans to ban public funding for abortion for rape and incest victims and rape crisis centers or his claim Tuesday at the “Lindsey Graham retirement party” that able-bodied food stamp recipients shouldn’t eat.
According to Bright, as Right Wing Watch relates, “President Lincoln’s Revenue Act of 1862 – which introduced a progressive income tax in order to fund the Union Army – ‘was when government started becoming God and taking over his country.'” (Notice the Confederate flags in the background as he speaks):
If that were even true, Bright would need only look at his own secessionist rhetoric to see why that move was necessary in the first place. Bright told gun rights activists, that he would,
…lay down my life” fighting the federal government: “We don’t want to have to use the Second Amendment, we’re a peaceful people. But we will not be the generation that lost our liberty. People ask me all the time, ‘I don’t know what I’ll tell my children, I don’t know what I’ll tell my grandchildren.’ Well, I’m not going to have that problem, because I’m not going to be here. I want to lay down my life for my liberty just like my forefathers did.
Fine, the gloves are finally off and they can begin openly attacking the U.S. Constitution instead of pretending they are upholding it. That would be a relief at last. But the fact is that we do have a Constitution, that it was ratified by each and every state, and that it is the law of the land, and let’s remember that as the law of the land it comprises 7 articles and has attached to it 25 amendments, also ratified, none of which allow Bright to nullify any part of it simply because he and his fellow secessionists don’t approve of it.
The Republicans love do-overs. Their entire opposition to President Barack Obama is based on the assumption they get to “un-elect” him after the fact and using the same “logic” they feel they can undo the constitution two and a quarter centuries after the fact.
We, as Americans, cannot let our hallowed institutions be discarded simply because a minority political group doesn’t like the results of elections and rulings. We could not let it happen in 1861 and we cannot let it happen in 2013. Bright may know some folks who would be willing to re-fight the Civil War, but he and his crew of traitors need to realize that there are many more Americans willing to fight to preserve the Union.
If at first you don’t succeed, you don’t secede, you try again. And again, if necessary. And if you keep losing, it is the will of the people, and things have happened exactly the way they were supposed to happen. Try accepting that, rather than re-fighting wars you have already lost. Not getting your way is not tyranny. It is democracy.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.