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Um, yeah... isn't this the tombstone of a former Civil War Union soldier? And wasn't the Democratic Party generally regarded as the major party of the South; the anti-Lincoln party? I guess I don't see any mystery why he felt the way he did. Interesting, yes.

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Um, yeah... isn't this the tombstone of a former Civil War Union soldier? And wasn't the Democratic Party generally regarded as the major party of the South; the anti-Lincoln party? I guess I don't see any mystery why he felt the way he did. Interesting, yes.

 

Yes it was a Civil War Soldier.........and he fought for the NORTH. He was a Lincoln Republican.

 

Below is an article re this issue.

 

N. GRIGSBY OF INDIANA fought to save the Union in the Civil War. He died in 1890, at 78. At his request, the following was inscribed on his tombstone:

 

“Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party therefore beware of this party of treason.”

 

I learned about N. Grigsby from a group that we Northeast liberals would call right wing. I’m on the mailing list after recently reconnecting with guys I served with in Vietnam.

 

The subject line of this particular e-mail was, “RE: Priceless! Check out this tombstone.”

 

Above photographs of the tombstone was a headline: “They knew it a long time ago . . .”

 

The old Vietnam buddy who forwarded this to me lives in Oklahoma. After we reconnected the polemical e-mails started. They were a bit annoying, because they insulted Democrats and President Obama with the same intellectual rigor found in Polish jokes. But I liked being in touch and didn’t want to be a wet blanket.

 

Then I got an e-mail that I felt called for a response. Accompanying a laughing cartoon figure slapping his knee was the joke, “Why does President Obama want to tax aspirin?” Answer: “Because it’s white, and it works.”

 

I did a “reply all” to denounce the racism. Conscious that I was speaking to a different culture, I was respectful. I said I am open to hearing a conservative view but that I don’t appreciate ideologues or bigots from either the right or left.

 

Two people responded. One was my Vietnam buddy, who graciously dodged the racist accusation by apologizing for sending me a joke “beneath your intelligence.” Another agreed with me but said he has seen a lot of worse.

 

A friend asked me, “Why don’t you just tell your Vietnam friend that you want to be dropped from his list and never hear from them again?”

 

“Because he’s an old friend I want to stay in touch with, and I want to engage these people,” I said. “Maybe they’ll become so frustrated that they’ll explode and say, ‘This guy (me) is such a jerk that we’re going to have to explain our position to him logically.’”

 

I sent the following to the group:

 

“Before, during, and after the Civil War, the Democratic Party was the party of the South, the anti-Lincoln party, the party that even during the war wanted to let the South go in peace and felt that neither the Union (which the Republicans cherished as a protector of individual liberty that was ‘the last best hope of Mankind’) nor slavery was worth fighting and dying over. It’s no wonder a loyal American soldier fighting for the Union felt nothing but disgust for the Democrats.

 

“After the war, the Republicans fought for the rights of the newly freed slaves, and until 1912, the Republican Party remained the party viewed by African-Americans as the defender of their liberties. In 1912, becoming disillusioned with the failure of Republicans in the White House to stop lynching and the disenfranchisement of African-Americans . . . , new African-American leadership called for African-Americans to support a Democrat for president, Woodrow Wilson.

 

“It was a mistake to trust the Democrats. Woodrow Wilson, the supposedly liberal Democrat, was unbelievably racist. By executive order, at the request of his racist Postmaster General, William McAdoo, who said that white people were repulsed by having to work side by side with Negroes, Woodrow Wilson ordered that Negroes would no longer be employed by the post office (the largest employer of African-Americans in the country). Wilson segregated cafeterias in federal buildings.

 

“By the 1950s, the parties had completely swapped perspectives. The Democrats somehow became identified with the cause of civil rights, so much so that by the 1970s the South became Republican. [i overstated the case here. Civil rights had some strong Republican support, including from President Eisenhower, who, among other things, federalized the Arkansas National Guard to integrate Little Rock schools in compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1954 desegregation decision.]

 

“It was clearly the liberal Democrats on the national scene who allied with the civil-rights movement to force whites in the South to accept desegregation and that enforced the right of Negroes to vote, just as the Republicans had previously forced white Southerners to give up their slave-based way of life. In both cases, the federal government — first under Republicans, then under Democrats — imposed its will on states.

 

“The liberal media didn’t help during the civil-rights movement. Rather than giving a fair account of both sides, white and black, the TV news sensationalized the killings of civil-rights workers, and of demonstrators who were defying the law being attacked by police dogs and white citizens defending the law. It’s interesting how America has struggled through its crises, each party playing its role in fighting wrong-headedness and injustice, giving all Americans a voice, even when those voices are often so at odds. . . .”

 

I’m glad I engaged, because my own stereotype of my “right-wing” Army buddy was challenged.

 

After some back and forth I sought common ground, telling my friend I wasn’t one of those liberals who “think that an extremist is anyone who is pro-life, pro-prayer, a member of the NRA and/or anti-gun control. . . .”

 

Oklahoma: “Don: I assure you I am not a pro-lifer, I’m not a member of the NRA, but…I’m one of those guys who will defend the Constitution. . . as it is written, and not the one they are attempting to rewrite!”

 

Why was I so surprised? Hadn’t I said I didn’t stereotype conservatives?

 

I meant I didn’t demonize them. I guess I do stereotype. Isn’t that just a step removed? At the very least, it distorts differences and dialogue.

 

Don Sockol is a former Journal editor and writer who now teaches journalism.

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Yes it was a Civil War Soldier.........and he fought for the NORTH. He was a Lincoln Republican.

Isn't that what I said? A Civil War UNION soldier...

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It’s no wonder a loyal American soldier fighting for the Union felt nothing but disgust for the Democrats.

 

 

My point EXACTLY.

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I must plead complicit in the posting of this thread. Thanks Doc. We certainly can learn a lot from the past. Those who fail to learn from the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat.

 

You're welcome.

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