BOCA GRANDE, FLA. — Since the beginning of time, the spoils have always gone to the victors. And they get to write history, too.
So here, on the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, Southerners are once again reminded how badly it sucks to lose.
To hear it told today, the Confederacy was nothing more than a hotbed of racist slavers and murderers. The gallant Yankees were nothing short of a pristine band of heroes laying down their lives to set men free. The whole ordeal was about nothing other than putting an end to the abomination that was slavery.
Add in the farcical state of education in the U.S. today — especially the lack of teaching of actual history that actually happened — and you have a perfect storm of pollyannish fantasy that condemns yet another generation to ignorance and gives today's social engineers yet another false parable to advance their goofy and twisted agendas.
The Gettysburg specials on the History Channel are, of course, told exclusively from the Northern perspective. This is neither new nor surprising. To the winners go the spoils.
But the truly barbaric caricature of the Confrederate soldiers is appalling. Great focus on the rebel yell cries. Cameras zoom in on jumbled, yellowed teeth for full screen shots while guttural, animalistic shrieks play at full-volume.
One Yankee sympathizer masquerading as a historian explains that people always ask him how things would have been different if they'd had automatic machine guns during the Civil War. Really? They wonder how Gettysburg could have been made even bloodier with even more bloated corpses rotting in the fields?
What kind of savages does this guy hang around with discussing the Civil War? Invading the South wasn't enough? They really wanted to kill every last one of us.
Then comes plagiarist historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who observed the 150th anniversary at Gettysburg by recalling — what else? — her own bleating for civil rights and women's rights and even gay rights in the 1960s. As if she possesses even a tiny fraction of the selfless honor and bravery that defined every man who died on that battlefield in the 1860s.
The truth is that the vast, vast, vast majority of soldiers fighting for the Confederacy owned no slaves. They were fighting for something else.
It wasn't until two years into the war that President Lincoln, perhaps our wisest and shrewdest president, penned the Emancipation Proclamation. And even then, it only pertained to slaves in the Confederacy, leaving slavery perfectly intact in other parts of the U.S.
But it was a stroke of genius. With a flick of his pen, Lincoln managed to manufacture the moral high ground for his cause, which up to that point had not been to end slavery but to simply preserve the Union. This new moral high ground not only lifted his cause to victory but to this day continues to whitewash Northern motives in that war.
So, why does any of this matter? I mean, the South lost and slavery did end, which is a very good thing. Every second that slavery existed in America was an abomination.
Well, there is another important truism about history. Those who fail to understand it are doomed to repeat it.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @charleshurt.