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Editorial: A nation divided

A quick look at a map of the 2012 election results shows a familiar scene. Roughly 150 years ago, the nation was divided among eerily similar lines. This year’s red states versus blue states line up the way the Northern and Confederate states did leading up to the Civil War. Is America repeating its own history?

Most people believe that the Civil War was based entirely on the battle over slavery. It’s not their fault, that is what they are taught. Government schools have done a fantastic job of glossing over history in a self-serving way. Who would ever side with fighting against a strong centralized government when it’s reduced to racism? As long as sympathizing with the South is countered with sympathizing with slavery, no one will ever question the true motives of the Civil War.

Luckily, there have been those who have exposed the deeper meaning of the Civil War, namely the Tribune’s own Mike Scruggs, with his book The Un-Civil War. The first few pages of which teaches you more about the Civil War than you learn your entire life in public schools. The main theme, which they conveniently leave out, is the battle over states’ rights. For those unfamiliar with the Constitution, it is known as the 10th Amendment.

The 10th Amendment simply states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

During the time leading up to the Civil War, the centralized American government was claiming powers not given to them explicitly through the Constitution, therefore infringing on the rights of the sovereign states. The South stood up, said that you don’t have the right to do this within the Constitution we adopted, so we are declaring our own independence and nullifying our agreement.

Fast-forward to modern day America. On a daily basis, Washington D.C. creates its own powers. The president single-handedly creates amnesty for illegals through executive orders. The largest taxation ever levied, Obamacare, is imposed on America not only infringing on states’ rights, but the religious freedom of those opposed to such things as contraceptives and the “morning after” pill.

It is no surprise then that the nation finds itself divided once again. The Southern states yet again stood up to an all-powerful centralized government. Those red states attempted to rebuke such infringements of their rights listed above. The blue states voted to increase the power of the government. The nation is not divided between political parties, but between those who uphold the Constitution and those wishing to bend it to suit their own wishes.

All of this is not to say America is on the path to another war with itself. However, it should show that America can very easily destroy itself. Some Americans want to stand up for freedom and the founding documents. Others want to make America into their own modernized vision. It is a dangerous precedent if the Constitution changes meanings with each generation instead of being a set of truths to keep America on a steadfast path of freedom.

The coming years will be very telling. As more and more Americans are oppressed through taxation and an infringement of their Constitutional rights, the nation will further divide. No matter the outcome, one adage stands true, that those unaware of history are doomed to repeat it. A selective telling of our own Civil War might lead us down that very path again.

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