America’s 2nd Civil Struggle — from 1865 to current

The United States has been embroiled in what many have called the Culture War for at least the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan actually said to a full house of Evangelical Christians, “I know you cannot support me, but I want you to know that I support you. ”

The roots of such a rift go back even further, characterizing the opposing forces in the struggle for women’s rights from voting to equal pay, for the departure and marriage of LGBTQ rights, and for civil rights starting with reconstruction.

It is the struggle for civil rights that we want to focus on. We believe that in the 155 years since the end of the 1st American Civil War, a 2nd Civil War has been going on in America between those who support justice and equality for African Americans and those who fear the loss of power to white supremacy indicates.

The evidence for this view is extensive, and only here will we be able to scratch its surface. We want to make it clear that this war against blacks and the whites who have joined them has many components. What makes it a civil war, and not just a culture war, is that since it began in 1865, not only has there been nonviolent aggression that has been emotionally and psychologically destructive on every front, but also:

■ Economical – the obscene prosperity gap

■ Housing – Blacks rejected the GI bill and numerous racist lending directives

■ Education – Schools are now more segregated than before Brown versus Board of Education in 1954 and positive action is under attack

But the civil war was also undeniably violent from the start. The violence we are referring to has its origins in the acceptance of the lynching, intimidation of the KKK, the 26 known massacres of African Americans from New Orleans in 1866 to Charleston in 2015, and the continuation of the brutal murders of George Floyd up through today, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Walter Wallace and others more recently.

In light of our recent election, it is also worth noting that (in the words of Jelani Cobb in a New York play called “What Black History Should Have Teach Us About the Fragility of American Democracy”) “the lynching campaigns and terrorism “That the disenfranchised blacks in the south in the following decades (the civil war) were not only expressions of racism, although they were also; They were an attack on the mechanisms put in place to stop one of the nation’s worst habits: a cheerful expression of defiance to a government that dared to uphold democracy. ”

It is safe to say that in 2020 it was again black Americans who were enabled to defy the Trumpist empowered white supremacists who upheld our fragile democracy. It is the blacks who have withstood all the threats to their lives from the Second Civil War, who despite all odds – including the impact of the pandemic on their community – continue to survive, and to whom we turn to save the remnants of our salvation Democracy.

To fully appreciate the importance of realizing that a second civil war has occurred in this country since the end of the last civil war, it is not just a willingness to study the true history of America. We clearly need to make way for the New York Times 1619 project, which will convey the central role of enslavement in our country’s history for entry into our schools, colleges, and universities, but it’s not just about the past horrors of Jim Crow, Black codes, segregation, police brutality and all the nonviolent methods used to prevent blacks from gaining access to their rights to “life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness”.

It is our work as whites that James Baldwin spoke of, even though he included all Americans, “We must tell the truth until we can no longer take it …” Once you know what you have been taught, it is full of omissions and lies We hope that you cannot keep silent, that you cannot bear to let this war go on for another day.

Tragically, as it is now in 2021, our election tells us that more than 74.2 million people both deny that the whole story of our past has learned nothing else. This has to come to an end if we are to have the chance to offer justice and equality to everyone.

Allen J. Davis lives in Dublin, New Hampshire. Tom Weiner lives in Northampton.

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