Thursday, May 01, 2008

Politics is war without bloodshed . . .

. . . while war is politics with bloodshed (Mao Tse-tung)

The United States is not the only country that has weathered a civil war. Ours cost more than 600,000 lives, including those buried in the National and City Cemeteries in Natchez, MS. I was reminded of this on our recent holiday in Natchez.

It remains strange to me that the cause of the war is still vehemently argued. While the majority opinion is that slavery was the cause, a vocal minority still lays the blame on tariffs or the right of succession or the concept of states' rights in general.

Although I had relatives on both sides, I am a firm believer in the majority opinion - particularly because the articles of succession of most of the Confederate states make strong statements about "our peculiar institution."

143 years later, there are still arguments, but these men have had their say. Every marker says "Unknown Soldier," but sometimes the unknown are the most eloquent - in numbers, if nothing else.

National Cemetery, Natchez, MS

City Cemetery, Natchez, MS

The battle flags are placed on the graves of Confederate soldiers on Confedreate Memorial Day, a day still recognized by 13 Southern states. In Mississippi, Confederate Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in April, which coincided with our visit.

This practice is taken as highly offensive by certain segments of our society. I do not agree. I do not fault the common soldier fighting under either flag. POLITICIANS fought for or against slavery. The common soldiers fought and died because POLITICIANS could not resolve their disagreements in a civilized manner. Condemn the politicians, but allow the commons soldier to rest in peace.