Friday, February 10, 2017

On Coming Home

I took back my hand and I showed him the door
No dollar of mine would I part with this day
For fueling the engines of a bloody cruel war
In my forefathers' home far away.

Who fled the first Famine wearing all that they owned,
Were called 'Navigators', all ragged and torn,
And built the Grand Trunk here, and found a new home
Wherever their children were born.

Their sons have no politics. None call recall
Allegiance from long generations before.
O'this or O'that name can’t matter at all,
Or be cause enough for to war.

And meanwhile my babies are safe in their home,
Unlike their pale cousins who cower and cry
While kneecappers nail their poor Dads to the floor
And teach them to hate and to die.

It's those cruel beggars who spurn the fair coin.
The peace for their kids they could take at their will.
Since the day old King Billy prevailed at the Boyne,
They've bombed and they've maimed and they've killed.

Now they cry out for money and wail at the door
But Home Rule or Republic, 'tis all of it shame;
And a curse for us here who want nothing of war.
We're kindred in nothing but name.

All rights and all wrongs have long since blown away,
For causes are ashes where children lie slain.
Yet the damned UDL and the cruel IRA.
Will tomorrow go murdering again.
But no penny of mine will I add to the fray.
"Remember the Boyne!" they will cry out in vain,
For I've given my heart to the place I was born
And forgiven the whole House of Orange
King Billy and the whole House of Orange.

     [Stan Rogers, “The House of Orange”]

     Imagine yourself as a soldier sent to fight in a war far from your home...far from your country’s shores. Imagine that for whatever reason the war was botched – that thousands of your fellows were killed and maimed for no gain of any sort. Imagine further that upon being returned home you found that the war had “come home” with you – that it had sparked quarrels and hatreds of unforeseen and unprecedented intensity that threatened to rip your nation apart. Not a “flying lead” war such as the one you’d escaped, but a conflict of a bitterness and absolutism that precluded all reconciliation, irremediably setting brother against brother and father against son.

     You might actually wish you hadn’t come home, if it had to be to that. You might find yourself wishing that the conflict were a real shooting war, just so there might be some prospect of an end to it. A shooting war will end; eventually, one side or the other will be exhausted or exterminated no matter how ardent the emotions or committed the combatants. But conflicts of the heart, fueled by unarticulated and often unworthy emotions that override all reason and evidence, can go on indefinitely.

     What I’ve described here is something like the scene that greeted veterans of the Vietnam War upon returning to America. The war itself was a terrible mess: badly conceived and managed strategically and hamstrung by the tactical decisions of its field commanders, because the politicians, the generals, and the American people were divided about why the U.S. was in Vietnam at all. The lies and obfuscations emitted by the political elite made matters worse. The political scene of 1964 through 1973, with its confusion over issues, its continuous clamor, and its many violent demonstrations, was our domestic reflection of the combat taking place half a world away.

     And many a soldier, upon coming home from that war, viewed the mess he’d found in America, recoiled from it, and asked himself or his buddies, “Why couldn’t we leave all that over there?”

     Electoral politics is a bloodless equivalent of war. The contestants are fighting over the same thing: power. The determination of the contestants to seize that power will be manifested in the magnitude and kind of the emotions that flare over the contest. No matter how clear and decisive the result, a bitterly fought electoral battle can leave the same residue of hatred and division as a hard-fought civil war. We have the political struggles contemporaneous with our own Civil War for a case study.

     The electoral cycle that climaxed on November 8, 2016 is showing indications of the above sort. The losing side is so outraged by its defeat, so determined that the verdict of the election must be overturned, that it cannot cease fighting as would be proper for a purely political contestant. The Left and its political arm, the Democrat Party, is determined to keep fighting despite the incontestable victory of the Right and the Republicans. They refuse to accept “the peace for their kids they could take at their will.” Indeed, they appear determined to enlist their children in their parents’ bloody cause.

     So ardent are they for the power that eluded their grasp that they will stop at nothing to have it.

     Have a few illustrative columns from other writers:

     I could cite many more, but those will do for today. Politics, the “bloodless equivalent of war,” is being transformed into the real thing by the defeated contestants. Peace – the acceptance of the terms of surrender, the binding up of wounds, and the return to hearth and home – is no part of their agenda. In this they resemble religious warriors, they who “do not seek another war. They win or they die.” (The Descent Of Anansi) Their tactics creep steadily toward those of the UDL and the IRA – a classic religious war between Catholics and Protestants – and the Islamic fanatics for whom the subjugation of the whole of Mankind is their one and only aim.

     We are being forbidden to come home from the political battles of the year behind us. Willy-nilly, we are being forced to fight when all we desire is peace. But there is no peace. Because of the unending assaults from the adherents of the most destructive religion known to Man – socialist statism – we are forced to don our armor every day, many of us even at home. We must slink about warily, never knowing from what quarter the next blow might come.

     That’s what comes of a war in which the losers refuse to lay down their arms. But the sort of losers of which I speak here – religious fanatics – cannot be defeated. They can only slay or be slain.

     Food for thought.


Tim Turner said...

I think if the government didn't have so much cash and favors to hand out, elections wouldn't get so acrimonious. In fact, if government was as small and limited as many conservatives and the founders envisioned, federal elections wouldn't matter that much.

And if we were the original federalist republic envisioned in the Declaration and Constitution, any state that tried to run the vote-buying identity politics we have now would quickly find its working class had moved to another state.

doubletrouble said...

Very well developed essay, Fran.
Much food for thought, there.

Historian said...


This is one of your best, which is saying something.

First- "House of Orange" is one of Rogers' most profound songs. I have enjoyed his work for decades and recently acquired most of his recorded works; I am not surprised that we share a taste for his art. The song that follows is just as appropriate, perhaps more so- "The Mary Ellen Carter."

Second- The Left, and those on the Right who also seek a war, had better both be careful what they wish for. They may get it, and long will the survivors rue it. I do not desire to see a civil war, no sane student of history would; the lessons of the former Yugoslavia are written in rivers of blood, clear for any to see who will. No, I do not desire a civil war, nor does any sane man. But we are moving closer to one, largely because the Left mistakes the Right's forbearance as weakness. If we are all very unlucky, we'll all find out how mistaken they were, and once the dogs of civil war are unleashed they'll not be leashed again, not easily.

Tim Turner, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. We don't have the Founder's Republic. It's gone, and what is left is nowhere close to what it was. Where we go from here in this war of ideas is largely up to the Left. If the True Believers are foolish enough in their arrogance and willful blindness to initiate force in an effort to smash the remaining shards of that Republic, we'll all regret it. Those on the Right who ignorantly want such a conflict have no idea how utterly vicious and bitter such a war would be.

With regard to all who seek the Light-

Unknown said...

Perhaps my greatest blessing, early in life, is the appreciation of words, and the importance of craftsmanship in the using of them. When I watch year after year of the destruction of our language by the leftist thought-changers, I am disheartened beyond description. I struggle against them and the damage they do; thank God He gives me a Promise that we win in the end, victorious over that among other evils.

Good wordology might be the main reason I keep coming back to your site, Fran... and the comment writers are almost always worth the read.