Recently, I watched the first two episodes of the PBS American Experience documentary, The Abolitionists. It is incredibly humbling to learn that in the history of this country there has always been people who despite seemingly insurmountable odds, they have not only stood up against ignorance, exploitation, injustice and oppression, but they have actually put their own lives on the line.
It is also very instructive to be reminded about the outright sadistic brutality some of our fellow men are capable of, often driven by unquenchable greed and total disregard of the human suffering they cause.
Our history is replete with examples of what can only be described as acts of barbarism, with pillage, enslavement, multiple periods of genocide, racism, corruption, war profiteering, and many other evils.
In the face of this reality, a reality that can resurface at any moment, there has always been people who confronted this evil head on.
These people, who came from all walks of life, are responsible for every step towards social justice and equality for all, which we enjoy today. Every advancement related to workers' rights, women's rights, civil rights, equality under the law for minorities, voting rights, and many others, too long a list to write here, have been the result of mighty, multigenerational struggles. And none of it was voluntarily granted by the oppressors and tyrants of their times; they were forced to relinquish.
As you study American history, you will notice a certain parallels when it comes to the genesis of injustice and oppression; it is often driven by the economic interests of a corrupt and ruthless ruling elite.
In the mid-1800's it was the economic interests of the slave-holding South and many industries in the North (as you will learn by watching The Abolitionists), coupled with the influence-peddling corruption in State Houses.
In modern times is not that much different. The incredibly rapid erosion of our constitutional rights, the appalling and unprecedented income inequality, and all the negative results for the middle class, have been paid for by the same type of people that existed in the mid-1800's. The share the same sadistic avarice, the same unquenchable greed, the same psychopathic disregard for the harm the cause to society and the environment. They are predators in the truest sense of the word.
These people always use the same tactics; they manipulate the population; they exploit ignorance for their advantage. And as the result, they are able to manipulate certain segments of the population into doing their bidding.
An yet, people of good faith, people who always saw themselves as members of a community, of a society, people who would not countenance oppression and injustice against others, against all odds, have always resisted the imposition of tyranny, and they have helped move the country towards her promise of always striving to be a more perfect union.
One of the most consequential struggles in this never-ending battle was the American Civil War, which helped in not only preserving the Union, but in defeating slavery as an economic model. The Union defeated The Confederates under the leadership of president Lincoln.
But we all know that the story doesn't end there. The struggle for justice and equality under the law for African-Americans and other minorities continues...
There are also remnants of conflict, if low-level, between North and South. The bitterness of defeat, of humiliation, of the destruction of a way of life based on the economic exploits of slavery, and an unjustified sense of racial superiority, persisted in the South. The evils of of it were never actually extricated completed from the psyche of the former Confederates of the South.
It actually remains a scourge in our society to this day. Decades upon decades upon decades of the descendants of the Confederates spewing hate-filled rhetoric into the little ears of their newborn babies had a hideous lingering effect--to this date.
At some level, that's the reason why many of them still harbor a desire to revive the Confederate dream; yes, it is true that that hate-filled dream is not dead, not yet, but the reality is that that dream will never, ever be realized. It will never be realized because the North, the Union, Lincoln, won.
It will never be realized because in the same way we had the true sentries of democracy, of justice, of freedom, of the Constitution, of modernity, of enlightenment, embodied in each and every Liberal and Progressive, whether it be The Abolitionists of the mid-1800's, or the Freedom Riders of the 1960s, or ColorOfChange in the 2000's, or Occupy Wall Street, or hundreds and hundreds of other progressives and social justice organizations around the country, they will always be there on watch against tyranny.
And the thing is that these true sentries have always believe and have always preferred non-violent resistance; they do now, as they did in the mid-1850's.
Their sense of bravery, of mission, of doing the right thing does not for one second relies on a gun. It never has. Their morality, their principles, their sense of justice is something that resides deep within them, in their core.
And throughout history they have proven time and again that if they are finally forced to stand up to an oppressor through the use of arms, or force, they always win; always.
But they are also smart enough to understand the power of peaceful resistance; they understand the message of true valiant giants like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi.
So no, I don't worry about the increasing violent rhetoric from the so-called gun-nuts. That noise, all the vitriolic spewing of hate is just a manifestation of their multigenerational grudge for having utterly lost; for having had their worldview rendered obsolete.
As a society, we need to continue moving forward. Let's continue our march to the future. Regarding guns, through regulation and licensing and education, they will eventually dwindle to irrelevance, starting in more progressive-leaning communities, cities and states. Gay rights, women's rights, workers' rights, education, single-payer health care, it all continue the march forward, while the retrograde worldview of the Confederacy will retreat into the dustbin of history as its adherents squirm and yell and scream loudly, convulsing as their scourge on society is no more.
Yes, in the meantime there will be communities which will proudly embrace the messages being fed to them by the billionaire funders of propaganda, and yes they will proudly amass huge number of guns, and they will reject education and literacy, and they will teach abstinence-only sex education, and they will push forward deranged concepts associated with their world view... And because of it, they will suffer; they will remain ignorant, they will stew in their own poisonous sewage.
As the rest of society, the sane people, the people who believe in science, in education, in learning from history, in civility, and modernity, in literature, arts, music, will make their communities more livable, more appealing, more peaceful.
So ignore the saliva-spewing nonsense from these miscreants and move forward with the Liberal and Progressive agenda, full speed ahead, with gusto, without equivocation.
Scoff at their threats for history has demonstrated over and over again that people of good will always triumph, either peacefully or otherwise.
YOU DON'T NEED A GUN TO BE A MAN!