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Anyone worry about RW reverence for the Civil War?

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ProfessorPlum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:41 PM
Original message
Anyone worry about RW reverence for the Civil War?
I have a lot of right wing people in some branches of my family, and one thing I've noticed about them which strikes me as odd, and more and more as disturbing, is their absolute mania for the Civil War.

A lot of these folks don't seem to have any interest in other academic pursuits, but they can go on and on about Antietam and Pickett's Charge and Mathew Brady. Most of these folks are Northerners, too, but their imaginations are just completely fired up by the Civil War, as if it was the most fascinating thing ever.

Now, I enjoy history quite a lot. But the Civil War has never struck me as particularly fascinating. I like reading about the Roman Empire and that time period, and also WWII and Vietnam and of course recent history.

What creeps me out is the feeling I have that it isn't so much the whole "history" aspect of the Civil War that they like, but the thought of Americans having free license to kill each other. That they have this romantic vision of a time "when the shit goes down" and they will be able to start blasting other Americans again.

Does anyone else ever have this feeling?
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. No. n/t
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The_Casual_Observer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. The civil war is simple to understand, blue & grey. Made to order
for simple minds.
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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. They like to read about battles
that other people had to fight. Pure chickenhawk mania.
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sharp_stick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
4. Worry, no.
Right wingers love to kill people and they love to hear about killing people. Hell, drive around the countryside on almost any weekend in some areas and they dress up and pretend to kill people in "reenactments".

I don't know why these nationalist nutjobs like death so much, maybe because they believe some invisible guy in the sky is there to rescue them?
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ProfessorPlum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Yeah, see the reeanctments creep me out, too
It almost seems like conditioning so that when it comes time to take up arms against their countrymen (again), they are used to it.
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realisticphish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm a civil war buff
mainly because a.) you can visit battlefields, etc, here. and b.) the war is VERY complicated. The fact that it was an internal conflict makes it fascinating to me
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NWHarkness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. No, I don't
What I do feel is that many Americans don't feel the pull of history the way Europeans, for example, do. They don't know their own family history in many cases, let alone what happened long ago in their city or state.

The Civil War is one touchstone they can recognize and relate to. It's not a matter of wanting another war, but that it is a rare instance when they feel connected to history.
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Howardx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
7. my dad is a total civil war buff
secular humanist, democrat since the 80's. its not limited to the right
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
9. Not very much reverence for the Civil War in my family
We had three family members that were in the Civil War in some of the worst, bloodiest fighting of the whole thing (7th Wisconsin Volunteers, IIRC). Almost all of them who made it back were basically nuts for the rest of their lives. I've seen the pictures from a reunion of sorts they had around 1880 or so. All of them still seemed to have that thousand-yard stare.

I do wonder about others' often extraordinary interest in it, however. There was certainly nothing romantic or glorious about it.

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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
10. The unavoidable clash of incompatable belief systems is always fun.
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vssmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. There was a saying during the draft riots of the Civil War,
"Its a rich man's war but a poor man's fight."

Tell them that and mention that it may well apply today!

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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
26. It's the same for the Iraq War
A rich man's war and a poor man's fight.
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ProfessorPlum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
12. From the looks of the replies
I seem to be the only one.

OK, sorry for mentioning it.

I guess I'll be oddly creeped out by something else for a while. . .
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
13. Yeah I think you are a bit off there...
I have been a long-time Civil War buff...used to reenect...and if you look very carefully you can see me in the movie Gettysburg ;-)

I think it largely depends on where in the country you live, what the politics are like in the area you live etc....I had alot of liberal friends that were reenactors as well (alot on the other side as well)

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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
14. Neo-Confederate Land
"Most of these folks are Northerners..."

Yikes, growing up in the Alabama, some family members would hardly talk about anything else except the "War Between The States" (they never called it the "Civil War").

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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. *shrug*
Most of "those type" that I know like WWII also. That's why they all watch the History Channel ("the 'H' is for 'Hitler'").

The civil war is interesting to me for a few reasons:

1) The photographic technology was at a phase that left the visual documentary material we have very stark and beautiful
2) The soldiers were for the most part fairly literate and somewhat well-read, which leaves us with well-written letters home to narrate over a maudlin fiddle solo
3) The opened as the climax of Napoleonic strategy and tactics (Shenandoah, Shiloh, Gettysburg), and closed with the advent of modern strategy and tactics (Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Hampton Roads).

That's why I'm interested, at least, though I'm not one of those guys who paints miniatures and sets up diarams or anything. Really. There's no diarama in my basement...
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
16. I don't have that feeling.

But I have also noticed that Conservatives seem to love the Civil War. I think it may have something to do with it being so easy to visit the sites.

Personally, I always found the Civil War the least enjoyable war to study. I find incompetence really irritating, and the US Civil War may just have been the most incompetently fought war in history.

Sensible Tactic: fighting with spear/sword and shield, place soldiers in as solid mass as possible so they protect each other's flanks and rear. When attacking, individual soldier places shield between self and the man in front of him while striking at the enemy in front of the soldier on his left instead of trying to strike over, under or around his own shield at the enemy directly in front.

Stupid Tactic: fighting with firearms, place soldiers in as solid mass as possible so they offer as large a target as possible to the enemy. Not only does this make your soldiers easier to hit, it has the added benefit of increasing the odds of a single shot striking multiple targets. And, of course, maximizes the number of casualties suffered by artillery strikes.

Stupid Strategy: try to drag out a war as long as possible against an opponent whose capitol lies within easy striking distance of the border and who lacks a standing army at the onset of the war but has greater resources with which to build and equip one. Yeah, that's the ticket. The longer we can make this war go on, the bigger and better the other guy's military will get which should work to our advantage because, uh, well, I dunno, but if it's good enough for General Lee, it's good for me.

Stupid Strategy: after breaking the Confederate lines at Antietam, forcing Lee's forces into several independant pockets, each trapped by the Potomac and with no way out, continue holding 50% of your forces in reserves. Ignore the fact that you have a copy of Lee's plans and know exactly where all of his forces are disposed. Keep those 50% back because, well, you know, maybe ANOTHER Confederate army is out there of which you, Lee and nobody else is aware.


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DemocracyInaction Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
17. Absolutely not
In fact, real Civil War buffs have their heads OUT of their ass instead of in them. The crap spooned fed to this nation for over 140 years is called "the Lost Cause" mentality. That's the war of "Gone with the Wind" and Faulkner's southland, etc. When you actually get off of an intellectual lazy ass and put hours and hours into researching this war you see "same shit, different century" that would blow your socks off. It IS the sad, mind washed over the decades, ignorance that is, as we speak, destroying this country. The Republicans have cranked up and used this undercurrent of hate to their advantage. The problem in this nation is that people don't take the time to research anything......they just fake it, punt it, and are on a downward spiral of ignorance. In fact, through my studies I've come to at least be able to have civil discourse with those who are totally opposite in their political views that I am and still respect them as human beings.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
18. Lots of people are fascinated by the Civil War. I am and I am a pacifist.
I don't think you can draw any conclusions about political leanings based on being a Civil War buff.
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ArnoldLayne Donating Member (871 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-17-06 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
19. I'm pretty far to the left and I admit I am fascinated
by the American Civil War. I like to visit Gettysburg as often as I can. I especially enjoyed walking the entire length of Picketts Charge a little over a mile also known as Longstreets Assault last year. It gave me a emotional experience to walk across Seminary Ridge to the Emmitsburg Road. Then cross over the fence along the road and look and then go up Cemetery Ridge towards the stonewall at The Angle and The Copse of Trees where about 10,000 Northern soldiers waited on the 13,000 Southern soldiers who more than half were killed and injured before those that survived retreated back to Seminary Ridge.
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mim Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-18-06 06:53 AM
Response to Original message
20. Civil War fascination
Edited on Thu May-18-06 06:57 AM by mim
Personally I've never minded other people's Civil War buffery, as long as they didn't bore me with the details. It seems a grown-up extension of boys playing with toy soldiers. I suppose the fascination with that war in particular (as others have noted upthread) is that it's close to home, both geographically and emotionally. It pitted American against American and you don't have to cross the ocean to visit the battlefields. NWHarkness, you've put your finger on it.

But if you do remember the Civil War, at least be bright about it and root for the right side. What has always bothered me is nostalgia for the Lost Cause, especially among non-Southerners. In particular I think of movies such as Gone with the Wind and The General, and the "Rebel Lady" episode of the Donna Reed Show.
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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-18-06 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
21. Reminicing about the last time Repukes did something
for blacks in this country . . .
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mim Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #21
28. Those were the days
Republicans before they were Repukes.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-18-06 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
22. You're probably right about the people you're talking about
Though some Civil War buffs are probably just history buffs.

I debate on another board with a Southerner who has the wildest romantic ideas about the Confederacy. It just wanted states' rights, the blacks were in favor of it, the North just wanted the South's wealth, etc. He posts stuff from all these weird places, claiming Lincoln was an evil wanna-be dictator and even blames Lincoln for communism. Claims the South treats blacks better than the North, that there existed such things as blacks who held whites as slaves, etc.

Just loony.

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lynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
23. I don't see any connection between those who study the Civil War -
- and their politics. I am in Virginia where the majority of CW battles were fought. We have TONS of CW related activities and reenactments. I know many people who participate and study the CW and there are as many Democrats as Republicans.

What does rather creep me out is the fascination that the British have with the American CW. They even have an American Civil War Society UK and reenact our CW battles in England! Check it out > http://www.acws.co.uk/
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
24. The Civil War was a watershed moment in both American and World
History for many reasons.

It is the culmination of one set of conflicts, stresses and societal notions that go back to the English Civil War, and the beginning of another different set of conflicts, stresses and societal notions that continue to effect us to this very day.

It is also a turning point in how war is waged, not just here, but around the world. The Civil War was both the climax and the death of Napoleonic style warfare, and also the birth of modern style warfare.

And it is a war that forever changed the nature of this country, our government, and society as a whole.

And yes, there are many many people out there who continue to be obscessed about the Civil War, but that isn't limited to either conservatives or liberals. However I believe that conservatives and RW Christians have embraced the mantle and ethos of the Old South, and have spread those concepts and mindsets throughout this country, especially amongst Southern Baptists and other evangelical sects. In fact, looking at matters this way, one could argue that really the South won the Civil War, albeit took them 140 years to do so.
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ileus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
25. The civil war really wasn't that long ago
I think the fascination is that the war was fought by people with common belief systems, not over different governments or religions. It's "our" history well documented and both sides still have their claim of the reasons for the war. I've bought several Civil war era coins just because they can be bought on a budget and there's history in each piece.
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jrandom421 Donating Member (367 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-19-06 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
27. It's NOT the Civil War
According to many old aquaintances from Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, it's not even the War between the States. It's "The War of Northern Aggression." A few old timers sometimes speak fondly of that "peculiar institution" known as slavery.
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mim Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. Another old term for the war
... was the War of the Rebellion. Or the Slaveholders' Rebellion.
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