The ground smelled of death, with the greenest of grass stained in the red of war. The air, poisoned from years of senseless conflict, was stale to the lungs of the survivors. For four long years, brothers murdered brothers and fathers murdered fathers, with the chaos ending only after the victory, if you can call it that, of the Union.
‘Victory for the good guys’ it was claimed in the history books, with the oppression of slavery vanquished, and the revolutionist confederates put back in their place in these United States. But it was not victory for the good guys. It was a victory for one side of a coin; one side of a war. It would be Naive to call the Union the protagonists and the confederates the antagonists, for both sides fought for a goal they believed to be a part of their human rights.
Sure, one might point out how one group fought in the hopes that they could continue the horrendous acts of slavery; the inexcusable and inhumane acts against another group of people. But they also fought against a group (The Union) they perceived as violating their American and, more importantly, their human rights; A group they perceived as becoming what America was fighting against: monarchy.
On the other side was, by today’s recollection, the noble and righteous group that was looking to keep the United States intact and to end the practices of slavery, with the latter a goal not because they found Black Americans equal (they didn’t), but because they knew they had to be perceived as the best country worldwide. It is in learning both sides of the civil war that someone can begin to understand that both groups thought that they were the righteous and well-intended parties.
This knowledge of the reasoning behind both party’s actions connects that US event with the political war-field that has plagued this country from the get-go, and even more so with the battle Americans are caught in currently. The political war-field in the present is the fighting between the Democrats and the Republicans because each side believes they are righteous while the other side is only harming the country, or is offering up horrible candidates to run the country.
Through this one-sided mentality, both parties spend vast amounts of money and time belittling the opposition as inhumane and cruel; not just politicians, but strong-willed Americans participate in the defamation of their American brothers and sisters. Take the campaigning for the future of the American Presidency as an example of the them-or-us mentality that many Americans are embracing. The conservative Americans take jabs at the liberals by demeaning their presidential runner as senile and racist, while the liberal Americans reply by slandering the conservative presidential runner as a sexist and a rapist; both groups spend more time falsely accusing the other, rather than working as one to further the greatness of our country.
Just like the people who don't understand the full scope of the Civil War, Americans tend to persecute people of opposing political beliefs based on facts that may or may not be the full truth. It is this practice of fighting against people who, just like you, believe that they are fighting for the right reasons, that furthers the reality that even as the United States of America adapts to the always-evolving world, the Civil War is always occurring, with no “victory” in sight.
Brandon Bowers is a senior studying English Pre-Law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Brandon by tweeting him at @UnabashedlyBMB.