One hundred sixty five years ago today the Civil War between the southern states and the northern states in the Divided States of America came to an end. This was the war to end slavery, bring about equality between the races and unite the divided states into one nation of one people. It is estimated the war resulted in the deaths of over 620,000 men, women and children. But it did not result in equality between the races.
Nor did the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.
Nor did the passage of any of the Civil Right acts of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Two years before the ending of the Civil War Lincoln spoke at a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to commemorate those sacred grounds as a national memorial. He addressed his speech that afternoon to the founding of the Declaration of Independence signed and approved eighty-seven years earlier.
Today I believe it is important to review some of his words delivered that day:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Where are we today as a nation? Will the States of America ever be United again?
Are we any closer to equality for all? How many more Black men and women are going to be murdered simply for being Black?
Where is Lincoln’s New Birth of Freedom? Did I miss that era in my study of history?
Did those 620,000 men, women and children die in vain? Did Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Eric Harris, Phillip White, Tony Robinson, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery die in vain because racism runs rampant in the institutions of America?
Where is the government of the people, by the people, for the people? All I see is a government of old white men, reduced and restricted voting rights, and a wider gap between the one percent and the rest of the people. I see an incompetent president more concerned with his tv polls and stock market than the almost two million cases of the Covid-19 virus and almost 110,000 total deaths from that virus in the nation he promised to protect and to uphold the Constitution.
The Divided States of America needs a Revolution of Conscience. If it fails again to fulfill those promises forged by the documents and laws of the nation concerning equality in every realm for all its citizens, there will be a long, hot summer ahead in the streets and cities of this divided nation.
I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value! I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore. *