Back when I lived in the east, I went to Gettysburg every chance I could get. I did some stories there about a ridiculous tower a developer was constructing, stories that focused on the reality that Adams County, Pennsylvania, was kind of wide open on building anything, rejecting real estate standards and building codes.
But it wasn’t the tower that most interested me.
It was the battlefield, particularly one part of the battlefield, Seminary Ridge, a long stretch that marks the place where General Pickett led his charge up the hill, only to be met by rifle fire and cannon blasts that spelled the end of the Confederate attempt to defeat the Northern Army.
It’s a lovely walk these days, down a road lined by oaks and other trees where a host of wood peckers seems to have taken up quarters. The fields are green, lovely and show no signs of the fact that they were fertilized in the hot summer of 1863 by the blood of Confederate and Union soldiers.
I have walked up that hill and tried to imagine what it was like for the Confederates, full of themselves and fighting for the honor of what they viewed as their homeland and for their loyalty to Gen. Robert E. Lee, who planned for his army to take Harrisburg next and perhaps Philadelphia, and wreck the Union Army in the process.
Lee was a brilliant general, beloved by his troops and the strategist who could face the Union army without an ounce of hubris. He was that smart. In fact, I would argue there is no one that smart today, and certainly no one smart enough to wage a “civil war” against the government of the United States, which I have always thought of as the embodiment of us, we the people.
That seems to be part of the mantra of bullshit that is being belched out by the characters on the far right in the wake of the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s mansion at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, this a day before he hid behind the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions under oath from the New York attorney general, who is investigating Trump’s business practices.
Recall that as a president, he had noted that people who have nothing to hide would not take the Fifth Amendment because there would be no reason to. Apparently, he has now found a reason to.
Do you really want to wage a civil war on behalf of such a lying, deceitful man, perhaps our worst president and certainly our worst leader, no matter the party? Recall his action on that dark Jan. 6 when Congress was under attack from forces he had encouraged in a fruitless bid to overturn the results of an honest election.
If the answer is yes, I would recommend a visit to Gettysburg so you can educate yourself about what you might face. In my ramblings on the battlefield, I would frequently stop to read the legends on various state statues that seem to sprout up everywhere.
What I was most touched by were the reports of the dead, the wounded, and perhaps saddest of all, those who were never found. I know many of them fled the battlefield and skedaddled back to their southern home. But some were just blown into so many bits there was no way to identify them.
A Park Ranger I had befriended took me to the basement of one of the museum buildings to let me look at what was collected from the battlefield after the troops had moved on. Hundreds of rifles. Uniforms. Drums with bullet holes in them, the detritus of dead and departed soldiers.
It’s one of the saddest places I have ever visited.
That’s what you will face if you want to wage civil war against the United States of America, a brutal, deadly and decisive response that will leave your remains rotting in the fields of battle or sealed away in some distant museum for hopeless causes.
Stop this talk. It’s insane.