15 Apr 2011

American Civil War, a view from across the pond

Political America has been on occasions compared to a football pitch. Not a regular pitch with 22 players fighting a turn at the ball for the camera to shine a light on their point of view, but one crammed with hundreds of players, each with something to say. Each believing their message to be the most important. Each knowing the game has only 90 minutes and when it’s over there is no point in playing on until the lights are back on and the game resumes.

Now, I ain’t no expert on Yankee speak or Southern ways. But what I do know is Uncle Sam can work for those who take to the pitch because they keep on showing up game after game after game.

However sometimes as we know, players turn nasty. The civil war 150 years ago should have taught “We the People” just how nasty a “Divided House” can get.
The slaughter was horrendous but the outcome gave certain possibilities for a united America to become comparable with mighty Rome. Was the price worth it. Only the fallen can give such approval. We can but only guess their answer.

A symbol of US unity flys over the Boston skyline 1988, a town synomymous with the birth of America 

Some say in America today a rot has set in, a belief, that America can split up based on the friction lines of 1835-1865 to become cosy enclaves for a variety of interested groups.
A spreading Spanish speaking America is annoying those who look back at Wasp power. Some bible belt Americans from the former Confederacy states don’t accept diluting Christianity as a daily influence guiding lives. And some in the multicultural north eye marriage with eligible Canada, a new mighty force with resources and markets to exploit. According to observers, American politics is becoming nastier and polarized.

But this is not 1861 and should the great man himself be around today he might well re-enforce the spirit of a united America, but a repeat of the division which taints some memories to this very day he would surely avoid at all costs.
America’s greatness lies in its ability to accommodate all those players on the pitch. Is the pitch becoming over crowded. Dividing it up, makes for smaller farms with bickering neighbours. Building extensions to the family home creates more work and room for all.
It’s a new world since 1861. Global is here to stay, warts and all. This is not America’s time to ponder division but time to play the last post on the Civil War. Honour all who gave their lives for America and look forward to centuries of destiny.
Rome was far from perfect, but it lasted so long because it mattered that it should last. Its decline is steeped in division and loss of direction. Divorces begin in the home and it is in the American homeland where healing is needed. The Civil War can become the Civil marriage. It just takes time out to plan a pitch strategy. The game goes on.