James Russel Lowell (1819-1891). Lines are from one of his most famous poems,
James Russel Lowell (1819-1891). Lines are from one of his most famous poems, "The Present Crisis," written in 1844.

I’d venture a guess that most readers of this beacon of truth know at least some of the words to James Lowell’s (1819-1891) great 1844 poem—a 90 line masterpiece titled, The Present Crisis”.  It was first published in 1845 by The Boston Currier, written  as a protest against the impending war with Mexico and as a condemnation of the existing evil institution of slavery, which had been incorporated into the new Republic of Texas in 1836.  In 1896, Garrett Horder took Lowell’s epic poem and condensed it into the shorter but more familiar hymn—“Once To Every Man and Nation”-- that most Protestant Christians have always known.  Both versions contain inspiring, beautiful, and quite troubling ideas  which have “pin pricked” my thoughts for decades.  To a certain extent, Lowell’s words still stand as a “two edged sword” ready to condemn those of us alive today with their thrust into our complacency, as lines #26 through #30 eloquently proclaim: 

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s2smodern

Reconstruction’s Economic and Political Tyranny

Part 4 of a Series on Reconstruction 1865-1877

George Washington Kirk - Union Colonel, Kirk’s Raiders, Guerrilla warfare and arbitrary arrests.
George Washington Kirk - Union Colonel, Kirk’s Raiders, Guerrilla warfare and arbitrary arrests.

By 1870, the corruption of the carpetbagger governments and the violence of the Union League was becoming a concern to a significant minority in the U. S. Congress.

In 1869, there were Union League barn burnings and other destruction in every North Carolina County. During a single week in Gaston County, nine barns were burned.  In two months of the same year in Edgecombe County, two churches, several cotton gins, a cotton factory, and many barns and homes were burned.  The Raleigh Sentinel reported on August 29th of the same year that ten Federal Army companies associated with the Union League had terrorized the Goldsboro area and committed violent depredations of all sorts. It reported the actions of the troops “so violent that it was unsafe for women to leave their homes.”  

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s2smodern
Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) - Two American Hereos of
Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) - Two American Hereos of "Yesteryear." Their horses were named "Scout" and "Silver." Silver had a part in the legendary fillm "Gone With The Wind" as the horse ridden by Scarlet O'Hara's father, Gerald O'Hara on Tara Plantation.

One of America’s true “heroes of yesteryear” was a stalwart, ostensibly  imaginary icon from those long gone Old West days “when men were men” (and women were happy that they were)—a true “role model” who, beginning on January 30, 1933, began to  thunder across the plains of our minds riding his great white stallion, ‘Silver’.  The America of my youth (mid-1930’s to the late 1950’s)—and perhaps yours also—was a time of similar heroes who existed in the realm of imagination, and in the tales of folklore so avidly listened to over that “pictureless contraption” called a ‘radio’.  Kids and adults sat in front of that electronic wonder, with its’ single poor quality speaker, long before the days of television, cell phones, the internet, space travel, identity politics, texting, and (thank God) “social media”,  and we were forced to use our MINDS—our imaginations—as a thrilling tale went audibly  into our ears and unfolded onto the personal “screens” of our own built-in movie theater that existed inside our heads.

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s2smodern

I think I’m pretty much like everyone else these days, trying to figure out the best way to avoid becoming a victim of the dread coronavirus invisible army. Being well beyond seventy I am in one of the most dread positions; that is unless I had some of those hydroxychloroquine tablets ready and available. I guess a lot of folks like me are in the same boat and wondering why these life-saving medications aren’t on every doctor’s shelves. I checked my local pharmacy the other day and was told they are on back-order – arrival time unknown.

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s2smodern

Part 3 of a Series on Reconstruction 1865-1877

Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate Cavalry general most feared by Union generals.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate Cavalry general most feared by Union generals.

Few nations in the last millennium have been so devastated by loss of life and property as the South in 1865. Perhaps only the Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Serbians, and in turn the Germans themselves in the Second World War endured such suffering. A Union general bragged that crows flying over the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia would need to pack their own lunches. The Union conquerors then proceeded with the Reconstruction of the South by laying on heavy taxes, confiscating much of their remaining wealth in cotton and other goods, and forcing the sale of land under tax duress. 

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s2smodern
Boudica, Queen of the British Celtic Iceni Tribe in Eastern Britian. Died ca. 60 or 61 A.D. Fighting for the freedom of her people.
Boudica, Queen of the British Celtic Iceni Tribe in Eastern Britian. Died ca. 60 or 61 A.D. Fighting for the freedom of her people.

She was tall, had tawny (perhaps reddish) hair that hung down to her waist.  She had a harsh, commanding voice and a quite piercing gaze when she looked at someone.  She always wore a necklace of gold (probably what we call a ‘torc’), a very colorful tunic, and usually she wore a heavy cloak fastened at the neck by a brooch.  So she was described by the ancient Roman historian, Cassius Dio (c. 155 A.D.-c. 235 A.D.), long after her death. 

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s2smodern

I have been monitoring our political goings-on quite a while but have never seen anything like what we have witnessed in the last three years. Everyone is talking about the HATE being directed at President Trump, but no one I have heard has been willing to come right-out and tell the story as it exists. This hate had its origin long ago before Trump even seriously considered running for President… it would be directed at anyone who tried to reawaken America’s beginnings and “make America great again.” Rand Paul has presented one of the better explanations I have heard. But anyone who tries to tell the real story will be designated a CONSPIRACY THEORIST. We-The-People must not be enlightened.

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s2smodern