A LITTLE OFF THE TOP

DAN JACKSON

The first Civil War was hot for four years. It ended in 1865, but it was a cold war, gradually building long before that. 

It started in 1619 when the

appropriately-named White Lion privateer brought kidnapped Africans ashore.

It would be 246 years before emancipation. It would be 246 years of untold suffering at the hands of commerce.

The second, albeit cold civil war started as soon as the first ended. 

Plantations weren’t simply going away.

Commerce of cotton and tobacco demanded attention.

Sharecropping lasted until the 1930’s, snagging poor whites along the way, and eventually falling apart at the hands of labor unions ... and technology. 

Seventy more years of suffering at the hands of the white power structure.

A third civil war was brought on by Mr. Jim Crow and ran concurrently for a while with the second civil war.

Segregation of the south began in earnest around 1880 and soon moved north. It would not end until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965.

Eighty five more years of strife for people of color.

The fourth civil war was a one sided affair between African Americans and the justice system.

It began around 1916 with the great migration of southern people of color to northern cities, looking for work.

The inability of cities to properly train and prepare their police forces, and the subsequent murderous disasters that would result, has lasted for a century.

The culpability of local, state and federal governments exacerbated the situation with mandatory prisons sentences.

As a result, we’ve been in a century long war with ourselves and we have no clear cut exit strategy. This war rages on.

The fifth civil war began with the election of Barack Obama.

Just as the end of the first Civil War begat sharecropping and Jim Crow, the election of the first African American President begat a resentful racism not seen for decades.

White males specifically realized their lock on society had officially come to an end.

The most powerful nation in the world was no longer dependent upon a “lily white” alpha male.

These same white males found willing bed partners in fear mongering between what once was disparate groups.

Religious zealots, Second Amendment mad dogs and conspiracy theory drowned rats found willing confederates among white supremacists.

This recipe of bitter stew is not the melting pot of America’s past or future. It is the leftovers of what once was. It has gone rancid and must be thrown away.

But still it has been stirred and served hot these past four years by a president, short on policy, short on intelligence but long on putrid rhetoric.

And so many among us have licked that dish clean.

Rural America doesn’t even know how to push away from the table.

We have long sought strong, and dare I say, white, militaristic leaders.

We don’t seem to have a palatable option.

And so this war ebbs and flows with first the election of the white savior, Donald Trump.

And then four years later we have a rejection of this same demagogue.

Where will it go in two years? In four?

We may have finally found the last of the civil wars.

A civil war not solved by armistice, not solved by labor unions, not solved by laws, and not solved by a single election, but a war of our souls, ending only when we as individuals make the effort to see the entire picture.

This war must be fought with the most vigor.

Because this war must be fought within our own consciousness.

We must make the decision to believe in our fellow man, and to not forget the suffering, the true suffering of the last 400 years.

Only then, when this is the state of being, will this war grind to a close.

Think, my fellow white people, think and you will become.

Think.

 

DAN JACKSON is a self-employed Paris businessman. His email address is danjackson@alittleoff.net..

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