THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
When you wake up this morning, look at your watch, and when you eventually see the hands of the clock strike one pm, think back 150 years and ask yourself this question: Which side would you have been on? At One PM, on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, walked into the home of Wilmer McLean, in Appomattox, Virginia, and surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War.
To think that our grand experiment of a democracy might have failed, well, those are some heavy thoughts. We talk about American Exceptionalism today, but 150 years ago, our country was coming apart at the seams, and but for the strength and vision and leadership of a great President, Abraham Lincoln, that experiment may have failed.
The "Civil War" ended, the experiment didn't fail - but are we still fighting that war?
President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and by its words, it proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states that were still in rebellion. The Union won the war, the slaves were freed, but would it be fair to say that, 150 years later, some people still haven't gotten the news?
There is a connection between yesterday's post and today's - and it has to do with how some in our society view the black man in the year 2015. Yesterday it was the video of Walter Scott being shot in the back by Officer Michael Slager. Today we were introduced to the video of a mentally ill Lavall Hall, walking aimlessly down the street in his underwear, with a broomstick in his hand, as he is shot multiple times by a Miami Gardens Police Officer. Lavall's mother had called the police for help. They knew the history of Lavall Hall. On the video, the mother can be heard begging the officers, "please don't hurt my child".
Here is the video released by the Hall's family lawyer:
Over the span of the last few months we have read about, and sometimes seen, video of black men, unarmed black men, being shot and many times killed, by white police officers.
Back in 2007, ColorLines and the Chicago Reporter investigated fatal police shootings in 10 major cities, and found that there were a disproportionately high number of African Americans among police shooting victims in every city, particularly in New York, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
ProPublica reported that "Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to an analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings. The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police."
The Atlantic's headline in today's lead story is telling: "The Civil War Isn't Over". In the article, they recognize the end of the Civil War as happening 150 years ago today, but they go on to state that: "The questions at the heart of the war, though, still occupy the nation, which has never truly gotten over that conflict. The great issues of the war were not resolved on that April morning at Appomattox. In this sense, not only is the Civil War not over; it can still be lost."
Our Declaration of Independence may have been founded on the proposition that all men are created equal, but as Lincoln reminded us four score and seven years later, "the nation founded in a revolution against monarchy had to fight a second revolution against itself in order to determine whether the “proposition” of “equality” had a future in any republic."
The Atlantic piece closes on this note: "Wars end loudly and in ruins, and sometimes on silent, beautiful spring landscapes such as the surrender field at Appomattox; but history keeps happening. Making “men equal on earth in the sight of other men, ....., is a long-term proposition, and for that matter, a definition of the meaning of America."
On April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended. Five days later, Lincoln was shot dead at Ford's Theatre. Will Lincoln's dream of equality for all men ever come true?
Which side are you on ....................
CAPTAIN OUT .......