Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Don't See Myself Blogging on This Topic Across Five Aprils

I suppose I shouldn't let April pass without making at least one comment on the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. This will probably be it, though. The great conflagration that took over 600,000 lives just isn't really my cup of tea when it comes to American history. I find the entire topic to be altogether depressing. I'll never forget leaving Gettysburg completely overtaken by melancholy - a feeling of depression that didn't leave me for days.

If you really want some excellent commentary on the War, generally with some great insights from a Catholic perspective, then I recommend you follow the posts on the subject by my friend Don McClarey at The American Catholic.

For my part, I will just leave it at my general philosophy about the conflict between North and South:

I am, by virtue of having spent most of my life in those states, both a Texan and a Virginian, although I am now exiled to the land of Grant and Sherman. Nevertheless, I would like to think that, had I lived back then, I would have opposed secession. But once the decision was made, my loyalty would have been to my home states.

Of course, slavery and secession were unjustifiable blights on America's history. But, in my view, so was Lincoln's decision to make war against the populations of those states once they decided they no longer wished to be associated with the Union. There is nothing sacrosanct about an America undivided, and such an exalted notion does not justify making war against the populations of the Southern states.

I do not deny (nor am I proud of) the fact that the Southern states seceded to preserve the systematic enslavement of their fellow man. But I DO deny that the average Confederate soldier (or even General Lee and General Jackson, for that matter) was fighting for the preservation of slavery - they were fighting because what they considered their "country" (i.e. the states of their birth) had been invaded.

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