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Taking The Civil Out Of Civil War

June 12, 2020

A good logo can permanently mark a brand.

Wars end some things, but they do not change what loses, they change the losers’ status from threat to defeated. Since World War 2 wars have not been salvational, but they have often had strange results. A unified Vietnam. The realization that certain weapons never existed in Iraq. Legalized marijuana.

But World War 2 had its share of unintended consequences. Britain won, but ceased to be a world power. Europe lost its religion. Russia rose to control a huge portion of the world after helping to free it. But the brand of Nazism was destroyed.

That brand had one of the most effective logo’s ever, the ancient Swastika and World War 2 literally blew it up, along with Japan’s Rising Sun.

But some wars end without ending the reason for the war, just crushing the power of one side. England had any number of wars before becoming fully Protestant. As each religion dominated, the other religion still existed, until Catholicism was left to mainland Western Europe. And Ireland.

You could say that slavery was the central reason for the Civil War. Or States Rights. But you could never say that the Civil War was fought against racism. Racism never lost the war, it was there before the war, before America, and is fully there these 155 years since.

Like Nazi Germany, the South had a powerful logo – The Stars and Bars. Unlike the Nazi’s Swastika, the Stars and Bars never left those who lost the war. Like the guns the losing rebels were allowed to keep, tolerance of the losers was part of ending a Civil War, between Americans, rather than ending a threat. The reintegration into the Republic fully accepted the cultures of all the states – including the Stars and Bars.

But this year things have changed.

The symbol of a lost cause is now, after 7 generations, is fully seen as conveying the loathsome disgust that facilitated the death of 500,000. Slavery was stopped, but what caused it, like the losing soldiers’ guns, was left with the defeated.

The weird Dead Ender logic of flying the Stars and Bars was never understood by those who were not of the south. The cheap brand of “Rebel” has had a life fully 160 years after its reason for existence was ended, but now that logo will be now be buried like the Swastika because of what it also conveyed – racism and dehumanization.

Will burning flags or toppling sculptures or removing plaques end the evils of hate? I doubt it. But humans act when their values compel them to. That is why there are wars. The values of the south were distilled into their extremely successful logo over a century after their loss in the Civil War.

It is now clear that the Civil War was more about war, like the war that ended Nazi power and logo if not their own history of inhumanity. The desire to have “One Nation Under God” became a framework to maintain the reason why slavery ever existed in the losing half of the War Between The States. “Reconstruction” did not change the South, it was a temporary occupation that ended after a generation.

A unified America helped end Nazism. Had the South won the Civil War, that might not have been the case. But until this year the loser in the Civil War was not a loser where they lost the war, they were victors in maintaining why they fought the war, their culture, a culture that made racism just as natural as life.

So natural that while slavery has been gone everywhere for those 7 generation, that “Rebel” logo and racism is everywhere, with only heinous realities raising their ugly heads to reveal that hatred is everywhere.

The Civil War ended in 1865. But the war with our inhumanity may not end any time soon.

One Comment leave one →
  1. kim permalink
    June 14, 2020 7:10 pm

    I think we’re at another one of those ‘fixed points’ in history that even Dr. Who couldn’t change. History is taking a corner, whether for better or worse, we don’t know. But this is a revolution (without the loss of too many lives, I hope) and we’ll see what is around the bend soon, I hope. I hope it’s full of light, not darkness.

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