Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A commenter provides a history lesson; civility, too

A JinC Regular, Jack in Silver Spring, recently commented in response to "disparagement of this country." I'm putting most of the comment here and adding a few comments of my own below the star line.

Here's Jack in Silver Spring - - -

First of all, no place is Utopia except for the garden in Heaven (and even that got ruined). This country is a great country, probably the greatest in history.

As for the Founding Fathers, they did as best they could with what they had. Had they not made the compromises they did, there would have been no United States of America.

Absent the Constitution, with all its warts, the country would not have lasted. As it was prior to the Constitution, it was coming apart. More than likely, there would still be slaves today in the South (and who knows where else).

Secondly, a little war was fought from 1861 through 1865 over the matter because of the obstinacy of the South in coming to terms with Lincoln. Some 600 to 700 thousand men died in a country 38 million. That is a staggering number.

I will concede that after the war mistakes were made, the most egregious being the Supreme Court's 1896 decision in Plessey vs. Ferguson which eviscerated the 14th Amendment, and allowed separate and (un)equal to be the law of the land. That folly was fianlly corrected in Brown vs. Board of Education and in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

I will note in passing that Dwight Eisenhower tried to pass a Civil Rights in 1957, and it was voted down (now get this) by the Democrats.

Finally, I might add that blacks in the post-World War II period made enormous income gains, despite discrimination and retained intact families. It is only in the post Civil Rights Act period, after 1964, that those gains have abated and black families have disintegrated. Don't blame the country for that. Look inward.

Finally, this country is peopled by immigrants. My mother was an immigrant, my father's parents were immigrants, and my wife is an immigrant (an escapee from that dystopia called communism). They all came here penniless, and somehow they made it.

Whatever faults the Founding Fathers may have had have been subsumed in the larger American community that was meant to be a melting pot for all (until multiculturalism came along, and now we have hyphenated Americans, instead of just Americans).

Moreover, whatever faults they may have had, they left us a wonderful Constitution and a wonderful economic system, otherwise no one would have risen above poverty and immigrants would never have come here in the first place.

Justice58 - whatever faults this country has, be very thankful you are here and not elsewhere. In most other elsewheres, we could not have this debate.



Jack describes America as I know it. I agree with everything he says except the possibilty there'd still be slaves in the South today. I doubt that.

I believe what so many people in the 1850s North and South believed along with Lincoln: "this government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free."

As for the development of blacks in the post-Civil rights era, that's a complex matter. I often find myself wondering how we've gone in the last 60 years from having civil rights leaders such as A. Phillip Randolph, Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall to the present generation of civil rights leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.

Finally this, one of the reasons I put Jack's post on the main page is because it's an example of what most of you know and do, but some few forget: you can make a strong, fact-based response civilly.


Anonymous said...

John: I have always appreciated Jack's comments. I am glad you chose to acknowledge his comments and his style. Says a lot about you.

Anonymous said...

John -

Thank you for the compliment. I am truly humbled. And my thanks to anonymous at 3:08 for his kind words.

Jack in Silver Spring

kbp said...

Thanks John

Would it be a civil response here if I reclassify Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton as entitlement rights leaders?

Seriously now, my hats off to Jack!

His comments are always good, as are the majority of all that read your blogs.