CSA 2.0

It would be hard to look at the swath the GOP is trying to cut through the decades of culturally identifiable social legislation without using descriptions evoking a particular past. In fact, the party's overall personality is starting to take on the characteristics of a grimacing antebellum puritan, bible in one hand and red-hot poker in the other, ready to administer God's wrath to all its enemies.

Add the element of barely concealed racist undertones (denied to comic excess by the rampaging right-wing reapers) and you have a political movement that indeed resembles the one which tore the country in two nearly a hundred and fifty years ago.

From the draconian approach towards women's health issues and the virtual elimination of social safety nets, from the aggressive attack on workers' wages and the eradication of their rights, the path being taken by the modern GOP would ultimately lead to so wide a chasm between the few rich and the many poor that a de facto (not to mention sly) reboot of what amounts to slavery would be subtly inculcated into a population already manipulated into toiling to its own disadvantage, thus recreating a shrewder, camouflaged version of its infamous predecessor The Confederate States of America.

As it stands today, the Party of Lincoln would never admit Lincoln in its party.

Obviously, we've come a long way from slaves toiling in the fields (though we seem to tolerate the outsourced and/or underage workers toiling in sweatshops to produce our precious cellphones and sneakers). But the rattling of sabers and the teary oaths of loyalty to preserve the purity of conspicuously Caucasoid ideologies feels only inches away from the political movement that produced rebel yells on bloody battlefields across 35 states.

Cries of secession by southern governors, cartoons and jokes portraying Obama in the most egregiously racist and hateful caricatures being circulated at the GOP's highest levels; characterizations of their democratic/liberal opponents as godless traitors, appeasers, lily-livered apologists; declaring that God is on their side and their side alone---all of this is more or less standard fringe bile. That bile, however, has overflowed into the mainstream of thought and deed.

But what conjures up ghostly strains of "Dixie" most is the constant assertion by the GOP (and its rightwing corporate media masters) that it in fact embraces or condones none of these overtly contemptible things. Like its CSA predecessors invoking state's rights as the main cause of the Civil War---and not Lincoln's opposition to slavery---the GOP cloaks its intentions in language that assuages the patriot's ear and swells the Christian's heart. It is a poison pill that relies upon deceit to carry its true message of instilling fear, causing division and ultimately obtaining power.

Just watching Fox News cunningly spin events to fit its patently anti-Obama theme is like listening to Axis Sally smugly disseminating morale-crushing propaganda to war-weary American troops; the passing of legislation proffered by the rightwing members of the senate and the house which seeks to marginalize the poor and the infirm by denying them access to services and benefits, to inculcate religion into public education and into the public commons, to grant corporations equal status with private citizens and give big business license to pollute the land and water unmolested by regulations, to characterize its ideological opponents as irreligious and amoral liberals---all these feel like efforts to restore what the CSA felt it lost in an "unlawful attack against its sovereignty", regardless of the war's outcome and the nation's slow and sometimes painful maturation into a unified democratic republic.

This is a second civil war being waged but with far more artfulness and patience than the first. Instead of pitched battles turning meadows and fields red with spilled blood, it is the fabric of our society being stained with greed and disinformation; instead of preserving the peculiar institution of African-American slavery, it is the cruel pursuit of policies which deny access to education and strip citizens of their dignity, thus giving rise to a "slave" class.

By launching a premeditated attack on citizens' rights by stacking the courts, highjacking the media, obstructing government and otherwise sabotaging the health and functionality of the nation, there should be little doubt: we are in the midst of our second civil war.

Steven Weber