Ben Franklin, upon leaving the Constitutional Convention held at Philadelphia in 1787, was approached by some citizens asking him what type of government the delegates had formed. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Wise Ben understood that politicians can be blindsided by success. Moreover, this founding father knew that political systems are often more fragile than walking on eggs.
Many events have threatened our republic since America gained its independence from England in the Revolutionary War nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago. Perhaps none have been more perilous than the Civil War (1861-65), in which some 624,511 Americans died during a bloody struggle over states’ rights and slavery, and today’s Cultural War in which leftist loonies are trying to turn America into a socialist nation.
Unlike the 19th century physical confrontation of the Civil War in which opposing sides fired muskets and cannons at each other on rural battlefields at Shiloh, Chickamauga, Chancellorsville, Manassas, Antietam and Gettysburg, today’s Cultural War is being waged predominantly in urban arenas such as Portland, Los Angles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Muskets and cannons have been replaced with despicable language, rowdy demonstrations and a defiant disregard for law enforcement.
This 21st century conflict pits a secular world view in which there are no absolute truths against the Judeo-Christian principles of America’s founding. These festering differences include:
A godless society vs. one nation under God.
Socialism (bigger government) vs. capitalism (limited government).
Anarchy vs. rule of law.
Higher taxes vs. lower taxes.
Overregulation vs. deregulation.
Open borders/illegal immigration vs. secure borders/legal immigration.
Illegal sanctuary cities vs. respect for existing laws.
Activist judges who view the U.S. Constitution as a changing document vs. judges who abide by the original intent of the U.S. Constitution.
Restriction/confiscation of guns vs. 2nd Amendment protection.
Intolerance of free speech vs. 1st Amendment protection.
Climate change hysteria (“New Green Deal”) vs. common sense environmental laws.
Free, single-payer health care for all vs. paid health care options based on free market competition.
Abortion-on-demand vs. sanctity of life.
Same-sex “marriage” vs. traditional marriage.
If you’re a Civil War student, you know that this fight began philosophically in the early 19th century. It took many years before these heated disagreements turned into armed conflict. Today, liberals and conservatives are engaged in a war of words despite some occasional physical assaults. However, I fear that a “Fort Sumter moment” is lurking.
That Union fort was fired upon by Confederate artillery on April 12, 1861, in Charleston, South Carolina. A philosophical quarrel, one that had been brewing for decades, became a physical war. Four horrific years later, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. The American Union was preserved, peace was restored, prosperity would eventually follow and, in retrospect, justice prevailed.
Now, this Southerner prays that today’s philosophical battle for the heart and soul of America won’t become another physical war. God help us if it does.