Whew, what a relief.
For decades, I’ve feared I was the only one still fighting a war, nursing a grudge, against an enemy that didn’t even know the war was still going on – or, in some cases, that it ever was.
My decades-long battle-in-my-mind has been waged against those cool, popular dudes from high school who inspired loyalty from girls and envy in guys, had neat Afros that stayed in place and whose ears didn’t resemble the open doors of a 1957 Chevy.
Larry Pittman’s war is being fought against an even more apparitional enemy – Abraham Lincoln and the Union army.
Pittman, the revisionist reverend and Republican state representative from Concord, unleashed at ol’Abe this month a volley of vitriol unseen in these here parts since the attack on Fort Sumter.
Pittman, in case you missed the national news or the late-night talk show yucksters who’ve once again zeroed in on us – Can’t y’all find another state to pick on? – frothed on Facebook that Abraham Lincoln was a philosophical bedfellow of Adolf Hitler.
“Lincoln was the same sort (of) tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional,” he wrote on Twitter.
Even our current president, during his campaign, referred to “the late, great Abraham Lincoln.”
Sure, Pittman’s diatribe demonizing Lincoln makes me feel good to know I’m not the only one who is – when it comes to fighting imaginary foes – cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
There used to be occasional stories about Japanese soldiers wandering out of the woods, unaware that World War II had been over for years. Most of them have probably died off by now or are delivering for Papa John.
Twenty years ago – pre-social media – the very wrong Rev. Larry Pittman’s thoughts about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War wouldn’t have brought so much negative attention to North Carolina.
That means it’s just Barry and Larry from now on, battling foes that long ago ceased to exist.
Pittman obviously spends a lot of time on matters antebellum. He is one of the three Mensa members in the legislature who earlier this year proposed a bill that would drop a provision in the state constitution prohibiting secession.
You don’t reckon he’s laying the groundwork for us to secede from the Union, do you?
Several years ago, I interviewed members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who insisted that slavery would have ended on its own without the war – it was becoming too expensive to maintain, they maintained – and that thousands upon thousands of black soldiers fought for the Confederacy.
Well, I told them, Clarence Thomas had to descend from somebody.
It was also possible, according to a noted historian – OK, just me – that some slaves confused the Confederacy’s crossed-swords insignia on their hats with the X from Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” movie.
Preferring to rely on a historian who isn’t me, I called Joseph Glathaar at UNC. Glathaar, who was a technical adviser on the African American History Museum in Washington, said that until the very end – until it was obvious that the Lost Cause was a lost cause – “it was illegal for blacks to fight for the Confederacy. There may have been a few fair-skinned blacks who passed for white who fought, but their numbers would’ve been miniscule. ... Why would they fight very late in the war when the handwriting was on the wall and they knew the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed?”
Glathaar also debunked the notion that slavery was no longer profitable. Slavery, he said “was too profitable” to die a natural death. The value of slaves doubled in the 1850s. If you had a slave that was worth $1,000, it became worth $2,000. That’s an incredible increase. ... Saying that slavery would have died on its own is a little ridiculous.”
Twenty years ago, the very wrong Rev. Larry Pittman’s thoughts about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War wouldn’t have brought so much negative attention to the state or had people around the world thinking we’re all a bunch of backwoods, weed-bending hayseeds here in North Carolina.
Oh, his views would have been just as odious and embarrassing and wrong, but few people would have heard them. He’d have compared Abe to Adolf while knocking down a few cold ones at the country club with like-minded pals, and few people would have ever heard of his words or him.
Now, though, with the worldwide web giving a worldwide platform to anyone with a keyboard, comments not meant for general consumption can take wing and fly like a bird across the seas.
By a show of hands, how many of us, prior to the invention of social media, have said something while slurping Milwaukee’s Best in the parking lot of the Quik Stop that, the next day, made you think, “Whew, I’m glad no one else but my drunk buddies was around to hear that”?
With social media and people’s willingness to share with the world even what they had for breakfast, unfortunately, our most ignorant thoughts are unleashed upon the world, unable to be recalled.
What’s worse than Pittman comparing the man who saved this country to Hitler is that few Republican politicians condemned his remarks. I reckon they don’t want to alienate the secession vote.