Bob McDonnell’s Bum Rap

April 7th, 2010 at 8:54 am David Frum | 82 Comments |

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Has anybody out there actually read the Bob McDonnell Confederate history month proclamation that is causing such a fuss?

Here it is, in full:

Confederate History Month

WHEREAS,  April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS,  Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every  region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and

WHEREAS,  it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s  shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present; and

WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today; and

WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, “…all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace.”; and

WHEREAS,   this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Now, I yield to very few in my dislike of the Confederate cause. Grant’s verdict that the Confederacy was the worst cause for which men ever fought has been rendered obsolete by the terrible events of the 20th century. It must still count among the top 10.

That said:

It’s hard to imagine a more anodyne remembrance of the Confederacy than this issued by McDonnell. It does contain the eyebrow-raising language that the Confederates “fought for their  homes and communities and Commonwealth.” None of those things were in danger in 1861. Beyond that, however, it’s a bland invocation of the importance of studying history. There are no adjectives of praise for any Confederate leader, and the proclamation fully endorses the outcome of the war:  the return to allegiance to the United States.

Compare this language to the florid language of Gov. Jim Gilmore’s final Confederate history proclamation:

A PROCLAMATION IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE SACRIFICES AND HONOR OF ALL VIRGINIANS WHO SERVED IN THE CIVIL WAR

WHEREAS, the Civil War was a defining event in American history and our Republic’s greatest internal crisis, the outcome of which transformed our country from a confederation of states to a unified Nation based upon the principle of e pluribus unum; and

WHEREAS, Virginia soil served as the dominant theater for military campaigns throughout the War, from the establishment of Richmond as the Capital of the Confederacy in April of 1861, to the battles at Manassass, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Fort Monroe, the Siege of Petersburg, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse, and finally the fall of the Last Capital of the Confederacy in Danville in April of 1865; and

WHEREAS, the Civil War was a fratricidal conflict that divided families, relatives and friends, where brother fought against brother, and where over 3,500,000 Americans, including over 400,000 African-Americans, both free men and slaves, fought or participated in a war which saw over 600,000 of their fellow countrymen, including over 40,000 African-American soldiers, killed; and

WHEREAS, Virginians, both Confederate and Union, distinguished themselves in their service, fought with bravery against overwhelming odds, and sacrificed their lives in defense of their deeply held beliefs; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting to recognize the historical contributions of great Virginians who served the Confederacy with honor, such as General Robert E. Lee of Westmoreland County, who sacrificed all of his family’s material belongings to stand with his native Virginia in secession and who led the proud and mighty Army of Northern Virginia through many arduous battles from Richmond to Gettysburg, and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson of Clarksburg, who died with the respect of his soldiers and his State in defense of his convictions, as well as thousands of other Virginians, military and civilian, who fought and sacrificed for the Confederacy; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting to recognize the historical contributions of great Virginians who served the Union with honor, such as Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, a son of Norfolk who fled slavery to become the first African-American soldier to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor at the siege of Fort Wagner where he was struck by three bullets, and General William R. Terrill of Covington, who commanded his troops through one of the War’s bloodiest battles at Shiloh, brother of Confederate General James Terrill, both of whom died in battle, as well as thousands of other Virginians, military and civilian, who fought and sacrificed for the Union; and

WHEREAS, our generation’s recognition of this historical era necessarily acknowledges that the practice of slavery was an affront to man’s natural dignity, deprived African-Americans of their God-given inalienable rights, degraded the human spirit and is abhorred and condemned by Virginians, and likewise that had there been no slavery there would have been no war; and

WHEREAS, the four years of Civil War was suffered by both North and South to protect what each side believed to be threatened rights and imperiled liberty as bequeathed to them by our founding fathers – the one for liberty in the union of the States, the other for liberty in the independence of the States; and

WHEREAS, the meeting between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant on that Spring day April 9, 1865 in Appomattox, Virginia, set the Nation on its course toward reconciliation and rededicated Americans to the proposition that all men are created equal and that only a nation so dedicated can long endure; and

WHEREAS, the numerous battlefields, monuments, museums and other historical sites to be found in Virginia allow our citizens, and indeed people from all over the world, to remember, study and appreciate the men and women of that unique time in the history of our Commonwealth and Nation; and

WHEREAS, we honor our past and from it draw the courage, strength and wisdom to reconcile ourselves, and go forward into the future together as Virginians and Americans; and

WHEREAS, remembrance of the profound sacrifices and honorable service of the men and women of Virginia who served both Confederacy and Union shall unite Virginians of all regions, races, and creeds forever more;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, James S. Gilmore, III, Governor of Virginia, do hereby recognize April 2001 as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Month for Remembrance of the Sacrifices and Honor of All Virginians Who Served in the Civil War, and I call upon our citizens to appreciate the sacrifices of all Virginians, regardless of what side they served, in the great conflict that changed our country forever and laid the foundation for the great Nation we are today.

Yes, Gilmore has more to say denouncing slavery. He also offers more praise for those who waged war on behalf of the Confederacy – and more acknowledgement of their cause as they perceived it. It’s certainly a more interesting document than McDonnell’s. And yes, there was always the alternative of saying nothing, the alternative adopted by Virginia’s two most recent Democratic governors. But isn’t that objectionable too? McDonnell’s proclamation looks like the work of an administration eager to cut short this ritual of recrimination and say nothing that would offend anyone.

Maybe that decision was not a good answer. Maybe there is no way to avoid offending someone on this subject. But a declaration of culture war and Confederate nostalgia, this proclamation isn’t.

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82 Comments so far ↓

  • rbottoms

    If secession is so odious, should we not observe Washington’s Birthday as a celebration?

    I personally don’t celebrate the birthdays of any of our founding slave owners. Washington and Jefferson both practiced this evil, but even evil men do good things. The Constitution is a Good Thing separate and apart from the slave holding bastards who wrote it.

    Washington was part of the rebellion that established this country. Jefferson Davis and his Stormtroopers were engaged in tearing it apart to defend the treatment of men as property, less important than the cattle with whom they shared living quarters.

  • S.L. Toddard

    Something to consider: it is a historical fact that Lincoln, like most men of his time, was a white supremacist. It is also a historical fact that the War Between the States was the conquest of one nation in which slavery was legal by another nation in which slavery was legal. Lincoln himself never freed the slaves in the Union with the Emancipation Proclamation – that proclamation only alleged to “free” the slaves in the CSA, a nation over which Lincoln had no authority. It would be like the president of El Salvador issuing a proclamation making toenail-clippers illegal in Canada. Lincoln himself made it quite clear countless times that his object was not the abolition of slavery, it was to force the Southern states to remain subjected to Washington’s authority, i.e. “the preservation of the Union”. He, of course, failed miserably in that task, as the voluntary union-by-compact he was elected to lead did not survive his presidency. What was once a federal union of free, sovereign and independent states became, under (and after) Lincoln, an involuntary union held together by coercion, by force, quite contrary to the principles in the Declaration of Independence, not to mention the principles of ’98.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “Washington was part of the rebellion that established this country”

    The treason, you mean. The Founders were traitors to a man by your logic. What odious creatures, no? Should we not mourn on the 4th of July, and spend it condemning these traitors and their monstrous ideas of “self government”? You and the other imperialists here who oppose self government, you reject the idea that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”, correct?

  • rbottoms

    Something to consider: it is a historical fact that Lincoln, like most men of his time, was a white supremacist.

    So? He freed the slaves. That’s why blacks were Republicans, until all the racists in the Democratic Party decided to become Republicans after Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. So we left the GOP and have been voting 90% against the GOP ever since.

    To ensure we never come back members of the GOP go out of their way to insult us (Bob Jones U. visits), denigrate us (MLK Holiday opposition), and stereotype us (The ACORN Pimpgate).

    Screw the GOP.

    You will never, ever get my vote nor will you get the votes of virtually any other black person in this country probably ever.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “to me a belief that secession was legal; the president doesn’t have a sworn duty to protect the territorial integrity of the US; and that US troops were illegally occupying fort sumpter on April 10, 1861, when Beauregard issued his ultimatum; all belongs with alien abduction and elvis sightings in the annals of crankdom”

    But you have failed utterly to demonstrate that secession is unconstitutional. You cannot cite any article that empowers the president to prevent secession, nor can you cite any article that outlaws secession. This demonstrates that you have no argument whatsoever as to why you hold that opinion, and this is because it’s not your opinion – you are merely regurgitating someone else’s opinion, and one which you do not fully understand. I, on the other hand, have cited the specific amendment that delegates to the states the power of secession.

    Your argument is “I believe secession was not legal because I believe secession was not legal”. That is not an argument, actually. It’s a plea of ignorance.

  • ottovbvs

    S.L. Toddard // Apr 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    ” Lincoln himself made it quite clear countless times that his object was not the abolition of slavery, it was to force the Southern states to remain subjected to Washington’s authority, i.e. “the preservation of the Union”. He, of course, failed miserably in that task, as the voluntary union-by-compact he was elected to lead did not survive his presidency. What was once a federal union of free, sovereign and independent states became, under (and after) Lincoln, an involuntary union held together by coercion, by force, quite contrary to the principles in the Declaration of Independence, not to mention the principles of ‘98.”

    ……it may be time for a Severe Crank Alert

  • S.L. Toddard

    “You will never, ever get my vote nor will you get the votes of virtually any other black person in this country probably ever.”

    Me? I’m sorry, sir, but you seem to have confused me for a Republican. I am not a Republican, in fact I am the opposite – a conservative.

    And frankly I don’t really care about your vote. The black vote goes invariably to whichever party promises to redistribute the most money from those who earn it to those who don’t. As such, the black vote will never go to whichever candidates I support, as they generally advocate that what a man earns should be his to do with as he pleases.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “it may be time for a Severe Crank Alert”

    That is usually the next step, isn’t it? Once one has not only failed to win an argument, but failed to even MAKE one while exposing his own gross ignorance the only ploy left is puerile name-calling.

    This is where we are, and where we will remain unless you cobble together something resembling an argument: you have failed utterly to demonstrate that secession is unconstitutional. You cannot cite any article that empowers the president to prevent secession, nor can you cite any article that outlaws secession. This demonstrates that you have no argument whatsoever as to why you hold that opinion, and this is because it’s not your opinion – you are merely regurgitating someone else’s opinion, and one which you do not fully understand. I, on the other hand, have cited the specific amendment that delegates to the states the power of secession.

    By all means – broadcast to everyone that a “crank” has exposed your ignorance.

  • ottovbvs

    S.L. Toddard // Apr 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    ……..Go and lie down old man……you’re obviously succumbing to monomania

  • EdCoughlin

    In Texas v White in 1869 it was established, firmly, by the Supreme court that the union was “perpetual” and secession ordinances were “absolutely null”. The only way membership could be revoked was through revolution or through express consent of the other states.

    Incidentally we DID have a confederation of states from which any state could secede called the Articles of Confederation. It included language that allowed for loose affiliation and ready exit under certain circumstances.

    Alternately all of that language was removed entirely from our Constitution at the point if its drafting. The federal system established by our constitution was fundamentally different.

    As Andrew Jackson put it “Succession like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms and can only be done through gross error”

    You can secede through revolution, but you have no constitutional right to and the federal government has every right to stop you through force since it is an act against the Constitution, also known as treason.

    Pretty sure the onus is on you SL Toddard to find any justification that the states CAN secede since the Supreme court, multiple times, has clearly interpreted the Constitution as not allowing for that right at all.

    Incidentally a supreme court decision is the law of the land, so it doesn’t need to be explicitly in this or that article. Only an act of congress overturning their findings against secession or a new case on which the court reversed itself would make it Constitutional any time in the future. Good luck with either of those.

  • rbottoms

    The black vote goes invariably to whichever party promises to redistribute the most money from those who earn it to those who don’t.

    We despise the GOP in general, conservatives in particular for their insulting and demeaning point of view. My vote goes to the party that runs the country best and engages in stupidity the least.

    That leaves the GOP out on both counts.

  • Red Phillips

    “you’re welcome to your beliefs but just don’t expect me to take them seriously”

    And ottovbvs, don’t expect conservatives, who are after all about conserving things, to take your beliefs seriously until you are willing to actually defend them on constitutional, historical and philosophical grounds.

    A case can be made for the “tight compact” (for lack of a better term) theory of the American “founding.” In fact, I am almost certain I could make your case better than you can. But the problem for you is that the vast majority of the evidence supports the “loose compact” theory. But you are not even bothering to make the weak case that exists for your interpretation. You are simply stamping your feet. “Secession is illegal because I said so.” Well sorry Buddy, but that ain’t a serious argument.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “In Texas v White in 1869 it was established, firmly, by the Supreme court that the union was “perpetual” and secession ordinances were “absolutely null”

    Indeed, in 1869 federal judges did establish that the federal union was “perpetual”. It is no surprise – the federal gov’t has never ceased to gather to itself more and more power at the expense of the states and the people. That is why the rightful final say as to whether the federal government has acted unconstitutionally should not reside with the federal government itself, as Jefferson argued. Nonetheless, this decision came, of course, *after* the states had seceded (and been conquered). At the time of secession the only authority on the legality of secession was the 10th Amendment.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “We despise the GOP in general, conservatives in particular for their insulting and demeaning point of view. My vote goes to the party that runs the country best and engages in stupidity the least.

    That leaves the GOP out on both counts”

    We are agreed on that, at least.

  • Red Phillips

    Ed, at least you get credit for attempting to make an argument in favor of your version of history and constitutional interpretation. Too bad you did so by referring to Texas v. White, the supposed trump card of Union apologists everywhere. First of all, note the date of Texas v. White, 1869? Hmmm… what had just happened before that? And note who the Chief Justice who wrote it was, Salmon Chase, a former Treasury Secretary under Lincoln. Not exactly an impartial observer. But what matters is not what a biased Supreme Court decided in 1869. What matters is what the intent of the Founders was when they crafted the Constitution and what the understanding of the states of what they were getting when they ratified it was. This requires examining the notes of the Constitutional Convention and the various state Ratifying Conventions and other contemporaneous records.

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  • ottovbvs

    Red Phillips // Apr 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    “Secession is illegal because I said so.” Well sorry Buddy, but that ain’t a serious argument.”

    …….I’m broadly familiar with the competing arguments as would be anyone whose read a few books about the origins and causes of the civil war but have no interest whatever in rehearsing them because it’s a totally totally sterile debate (although you and others seem obsessed about it) and what we think is in any case irrelevant because we weren’t around at the time……those who were, namely the properly elected Lincoln administration and the one that preceded it (during the last two months of whose term it was that the first seven states actually voted to quit the union) considered secession illegal…….it may be a regurgitation but I’m willing to take their word for it……If you’re willing at a distance of 150 years to countenance actions that involved the breakup of the USA that’s fine by me but I regard such views as both weird and symptomatic of a lack of patriotism and moral judgement.

  • Red Phillips

    Supporting original intent and trying to “conserve” the nature of the Union as originally established by the Founders is indeed “symptomatic” of something, this little thing some of us like to call conservatism.

  • ottovbvs

    Red Phillips // Apr 7, 2010 at 5:09 pm
    “this little thing some of us like to call conservatism.”

    …..so we must “conserve” the union by allowing its break-up over the issue of slavery….sounds entirely logical

  • EdCoughlin

    If the founders wanted to keep a document that allowed succession they would have. The Articles of Confederation were done away with for a reason.

    As to the dismissal of supreme court precedent in Texas v. White the argument “I don’t like that justice” or “that justice seems bias” does not undo precedent. It isn’t like because Clarence Thomas was appointed by Bush Sr. his vote in Bush v Gore doesn’t count.

    A court found by a clear 5-3 majority that the states do not have the right to secede, pretty cut and dry. You don’t get to say “well this or that justice’s vote doesn’t count” because of jobs they held prior to being on the court. A decision is a decision, and the idea that white v texas would ever be overturned is rather far fetched.

    Further in Article 4 there is a clear obligation the federal government has under section 4 clause 2 to protect the United States from invasion and domestic violence. “The United States shall protect each of them [the states] against invasion and on Application of the Legislature or the Executive against domestic violence.”

    Thus when Fort Sumpter was attacked the union had the clear authority to protect the states that remained in the union from the domestic violence the confederacy sought to bring to the union.

    Also if you think that most founders originally intended the union to be easily fractured you’re crazy. If they intended that they wouldn’t have removed all the language that allowed such actions and had appeared in the articles of Confederation in which the states rather then the federal government was the supreme authority. They clearly intended to reverse authority from the states to the federal government and they did.

    All you white supremacist types are, of course, free to separate yourselves from the union by moving somewhere, anywhere, else. Please take the opportunity, I’m sure 98% of Americans would appreciate not being inundated with racist and/or traitorous crap.

  • Red Phillips

    No ottovbvs, the Confederacy was preserving the nature of the Union as originally intended. That is why its Constitution was so similar to the US Constitution. It was Lincoln who was trying to transform the nature of that Union by force of arms.

  • Red Phillips

    Ed, I didn’t argue that Supreme Court decisions are meaningless. I think it is telling that when someone who takes your position wants to “settle” the issue of secession they go to a 1869 SCOTUS decision rather than the Constitutional Convention. What I would argue is that NOTHING in the Constitution says that the SCOTUS has the final or even primary authority on deciding what is and is not constitutional.

    There were clearly proponents of a tight compact and a loose compact at the Constitutional Convention. The problem for your side is that the tight compact people lost the debate. What they went in there hoping to get they did not come away with. This is even more apparent at the state Ratifying Conventions where the Constitution only passed because it was sold as a loose compact.

    The real trump card in this debate is that three states expressly reserved the right to secede in their ratification documents. This is a clear fact of history. Get used to it.

    Also, see my response on the other thread, but neither Toddard nor I have said one thing “racist” so you trotting out that old canard is a sign of desperation. Most white nationalists have a view of the proper nature of the nation state that is MUCH closer to your view than mine.

  • EdCoughlin

    The tight compact group may have lost the debate (if it is as you claim) but the certainly won the war.

  • Red Phillips

    So Ed, are you arguing that might makes right? This has really been a revealing discussion. I hope many read it.

  • ottovbvs

    Red Phillips // Apr 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    ……Alas you take no account of reality

  • EdCoughlin

    Red Phillips,

    Might doesn’t make right in all cases, but it is still true that to the victors go the spoils.

    I live in California. Why can I live here and be an American not subject to Mexican law? I can do that because America won the Mexican-American war decisively after Mexico attacked Texas. Very few would now claim that California should be part of Mexico other then the most vocal of the far left Latino groups. No matter what they say, California will almost certainly never go back to Mexico not because might makes right but because the victors in that war got to draw the borders.

    Does might make right in the case of the Civil War? Might happened to be on the right side of things, but really it was victory that made the rules what they are. If the South had won maybe nullification would still exist as an option for states and secession would be a viable states rights alternative. They lost though, so the winner got to set the future rules. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, after all we accept competition determining the future rules in almost everything, why not statehood?

    The difference between a concept of victory and a concept of might is that might can enforce wrong ideas for a time, sometimes decades (look at the Sadam Hussein regime) but it is never lasting without some inherent justice in the ideas behind the power.

    Victory tends to gravitate towards those who deserve it, who have right on their side, and as such is self perpetuating. A good example is, indeed, the civil war. Keeping people in bondage is wrong but was doable through enough fear and might. The victory of making all Americans free and equal was right and thus requires no fear or might these days since it is more or less self perpetuating by this point.

    Victory found the Union despite early setbacks because they had right on their side, not just might. That right has become more or less self perpetuating which is why it is only a tiny minority in even the most conservative states that want to secede again. I would argue that is, by this point, more due to an understanding of the just victory in the civil war rather then any kind of fear of federal might.

  • LiberalHottie

    Victory gravitates toward those who deserve it?

    OK, so we are getting a bit off topic here, but are you going to contend that, for example, Communists won in Vietnam because of the virtue of their cause, or their moral rectitude?

    Or will you argue that for those who didn’t deserve it, the victory will only be temporary, and they eventually will be defeated? If so, when?

    And what about the Alamo?

    Please read with tongue inserted firmly in cheek; this is hardly worth engaging in a serious debate.

  • EdCoughlin

    LiberalHottie,

    Look at Vietnam, we actually in a way won that conflict.

    Initially they won, partially because, yes, we didn’t deserve to win. We were fighting on behalf of a south vietnam government that wasn’t much better then the north. The lack of support of the people was probably the biggest reason we lost. The north really wanted, the south couldn’t care less. It’s a lot like our current wars in that way. It wasn’t that the north won because they were in the right as much as we lost because we were in the wrong.

    We did win long term though, even if some don’t see it that way. Look at todays Vietnam. For a while after the war they were brutal to the south and stupid in their Communism but since then they’ve aimed for international reintegration, opened their markets and now have one of the highest growth rates in all of Asia along with a market economy.

    Vietnam is now, though not free, in many ways more free then China and overall a reasonable country in that part of the world. As a bonus we were freed from what would have happen if we had “won” which would be a long and nasty period of nation building. Vietnam won the battle, but the right form of government, a market based system ever more accountable to the people, won the war in the long term.

    That is why I say, long term, victory often migrates towards those in the right. The Chinese have a similar concept called the “will of heaven” where heaven tends to favor those who win, and a leader who has massive failure is seen to have lost heaven’s favor. When we act incorrectly we are punished for a myriad of reasons (as we have been time and time again in Iraq and Afghanistan just like in Vietnam) while when we act justly we are rewarded (the huge prosperity and international goodwill that followed just wars like World War 2).

    Almost all illegitimate regimes have fallen within a few decades. There are a handful of exceptions like North Korea’s government, but few can act unjustly for more then a while without consequences. Nazi’s, USSR Communists, Fascists in Italy, The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Sadam Hussein in Iraq and many many more had their time, sometimes as much as dozens of years, but it came to an end because at base it was not legitimate and not formed on an enduring just victory (Communists forced moderates out through betrayal in the revolution, Hitler had the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge the genocide, Sadam the gassings and illegitimate wars etc. The longer the regimes went on the less clearly they were connected to the will of the people (part of why they avoided free and fair elections and/or freedom of speech).

    Contrastingly the US was formed out of victory in a just war and has existed securely for nearly 250 years now with a single Constitution and form of government while other countries change again and again. More recent governments in other parts of the world formed by legitimate means out of victory military or political have had similar runs (look at Britain since the post Cromwell era, France since WW2, Japan since WW2 etc). This legitimacy is often refreshed by continued victories at the ballot box in free and fair elections and thus victory sustains such regimes in perpetuity.

    Imagine if the US stopped elections today, declared todays leaders “leaders for life”, legitimacy would erode and eventually even police state might wouldn’t be enough to hold unrest in and a new more legitimate government would take hold as always has happened in illegitimate regimes (even if it takes decades) and always will happen.

    That is also why the South could never win the Civil War, they just didn’t have justice on their side. Even if they had fought off the Union slavery and the way of life they fought to protect would have been slowly removed through the inexorable march of justice. Could you imagine a world in which slavery was banned the world over except in the Confederacy in 2010? I think not.

  • LiberalHottie

    You’re pulling my leg, right?

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