Friday, June 29, 2007

Another Civil War

(Originally posted September, 2005).

My youngest brother sent this letter off yesterday, and I had to share it:

September 1st, 2005

Mr. President,

My brother called yesterday with a serious question. His employer has asked him to volunteer for two weeks helping in the rescue efforts in Louisiana. To do so would require him to leave his three very young children at home, one of which has just started Kindergarten. He wanted to know my thoughts, and I suggested that if it were me I would have to give it some very serious consideration, and he has every reason to go, and only one reason not to.

Then he remarked, “Well, you know they are our southern brothers”. Yep. We talked without speaking. Take the boy out of the south, you know, never the other way around.

The same evening, my wife commented during the evening news, “Bush sure has had some bad luck, with 9/11, Iraq, and now this”. Has there ever been a President who witnessed such a variety of domestic strife, she asked. She is not historically inclined.

Of course, I said. Abraham Lincoln. The War Between the States.

Oh, but only to have Lincoln as our guide during the events in Louisiana, Iraq, Crawford, New York, or any other place in the last five years where you have better served the interests of the few instead of the many. In a time where you have confused the line between stubbornness and persistence, and refusal of the obvious found you re-elected, we have apparently forgotten altogether what Lincoln worked so perfectly to protect.

There is another civil war in our country today…not where shots are fired or blood is spilled, but equally dangerous and course altering. It exists between rich and poor, business and worker, provider and sick, progress and nature, veterans and mothers, energy and consumer, black or brown or white, gay or straight, religious or cynical, educated or illiterate, powerful or peon, red or blue, etc, etc. Ignore at your own peril, Mr. Bush. Ignore at our peril.

But you cannot ignore our history…

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, 1838—speaking on the burning of a Negro by a St. Louis mob

My Brother