Categorized | News, Opinion


Colbert King has this op-ed (if you can call it that – I call it psychobabble for history.  It is too bad that this is the history so many get in the United States today) on the Rise of the New Confederacy in the Washington Post.

King compares the shutdown of the government (blamed by King on the Republicans of course) to the secession of the Confederate States from the Union in 1860 and 1861.  He calls the Confederacy “state-sponsored rebellion”.

I suppose that characterization depends on your point of view perhaps but what cannot be contradicted by King or anybody else is that every Confederate state left the Union because their representatives voted the views of their people that they should no longer be a part of the American Union.  They took an extreme and foolish step for bad reasons:  Slavery and white supremacy.  But the Southern states did act in the manner they believed was legal.  It was not an insurrection hatched in an attic.  It was not a “rebellion” unless the people of individual states cannot legally vote to leave the Union.  But I am sure it is rare to find that thesis taught in our public schools today.

King does not quote the Constitution to support his thesis that the South acted illegally.  He quotes Lincoln:

The rebels launched a grisly war against the Union. In his inaugural address, Lincoln warned the Confederacy: “You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.”

Who really started the war?  Yes the South fired first.  One more foolish act.  But the troops at Sumter were resupplied prior to the firing by the Confederates.  And it is clear Lincoln had no intention of either trying to negotiate the seceding the states to come back or to peacefully allow the people’s will in the Confederate States to be carried out. Was the South goaded into war?  Many in the North did not believe it was appropriate or wise to fight to preserve the Union.

Who is right:  Lincoln or the South?  It’s a terrible question because there are only two answers:  Either Lincoln is right or the South is right.  If the North is right, then we no longer have a fully constitutional government “…of the people, by the people and for the people…” that King’s hero said the Gettysburg dead died for.  But if the South is right to secede, then Lincoln is no hero but rather a tyrant and several of his leading generals are war criminals.

And who made the war grisly:  It wasn’t the South that burned Georgia and South Carolina or the Shenandoah Valley.  It wasn’t the South that raped and pillaged their way to “victory”, a terrible victory that did nothing to make race relations better or to reunite the Union they sought to restore.  King cited 620,000 deaths in his attempt to blame the South for it.  But the New York Times, a newspaper King surely reads and would tend to follow, says the death toll was 750,000 at least.

All this history psychobabble is prologue for King’s claim that the tea party wing of the GOP is the New Confederacy!

The New Confederacy, as churlish toward President Obama as the Old Confederacy was to Lincoln, has accomplished what its predecessor could not: It has shut down the federal government, and without even firing a weapon or taking 620,000 lives, as did the Old Confederacy’s instigated Civil War.

What I recall is that the GOP House sought to defund the Obamacare bill.  They then compromised to extend the deadline for a year and keep the government going but the Senate (read Harry Reid) said no.  So who’s shutting down the government?  I am sure King would agree with me that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the law of the land and supported by prior Supreme Court decisions (Prigg v. Pennsylvania for one example) ought to be defunded.  Would it be right to shut down the government to do it?  I wish the Congress had done so.  But King lingers…

Not to worry, Old South, the New Confederacy’s spirit is on the move.

In June, the Supreme Court got rid of fundamental legal protections against racial discrimination in voting.

Legislation aimed at suppressing votes is pending across the country, notably in the Deep South.

Hold on to that Confederate money, y’all. Jim Crow just might rise again.

I do not recall the Supreme Court saying blacks could not vote.  All they did was remove a punitive law that discriminated against certain parts of the nation as violators of voting rights after many years of generally good behavior.  While some voter ID laws bother me as too over the top, here’s the question neither side in the dispute wants to confront:  Is it right to protect the right to vote by requiring some sort of ID?  I think it is reasonable as long as every voter can get the ID.  I’ll be glad to agree with King if he can show that every voter cannot get proper ID.

I think it is irresponsible to say “…Jim Crow just might rise again.”  I know a certain amount of overblown rhetoric is customary in politics but this is grossly irresponsible.  What evidence is that any state or other government of this Union seeks to bring back Jim Crow separation laws?  If there is no proof, such racially incendiary positions ought to be avoided.

What Colbert King is angry about is reducing the size and reach of government.  He identifies by state about 60 Members of Congress who he says wants to do exactly that – and King writes that they lack compassion and are glad to identify with the tea party.  I am pleased to see he does not claim these men and women are racists.  Rather is is their view on government King objects to.  I wish Colbert King would go undercover and meet tea party people.  I know many tea party people and there are no more racists in the tea party than any other group and may be less than some!

Today we have the indefinite detention of the NDAA, NSA spying, the USA Patriot Act, entitlement programs with no end in sight, rapacious EPA regulations and most notably an overreaching commerce power that the Supreme Court held any activity is interstate commerce.  People can agree or disagree about the size of government.  But let’s not pervert history to accomplish political goals.



About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Gene Lefty says:

    “Your post is exactly why people should be, and are abandoning the Republican Party”. As long as the far Right is around, the Democrats have little to worry about. Is it any coincidence, that the rise of the far Right, corresponds with the demise of the Republican Party in Virginia? I think not.

    Could it be that the far Right is actually shrinking, however, PC’s and changes in media ownership rules, have served to amplify a minority? Is this minority given a platform solely to quench the media’s constant thirst for conflict, to be spun at their ratings discretion? And ultimately, the people’s constant desire to fight and destroy something?

    The mainstream media has become little more that 24 hour a day criticism of something, anything. and, or, everything.

    Just look at the recent storm in the Gulf. Apparently European forecasts had it downgraded well in advance. USA mainstream news, weather, spun it into a nail bitter for ratings and profit, until you could look out the window and see the sun shining. Anyone who believes anything spit out by media is lacking.

    Regarding voter ID’s and voter suppression.

    Republicans have an obsession of some type, or perhaps paranoia would be a better word, that a significant amount of cheating is going on at the polls.

    Well, how long before our court system gets involved in one of the Republican Party’s other obsessions, GERRYMANDERING?

    Could it be that the same people who oppose ObamaCare, would have been the same ones who opposed an end to slavery?

    Why one would want to continue to debate anything as inhumane, disgusting, and immoral, as slavery is beyond me.

    Regarding Constitutional Law and Slavery, since when does the Constitution outrank the Bible, and sound Biblical teachings?

    The only rules Republicans play by are the ones that they write as as they go.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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