During 1966, paranoia gripped Mao Zedong; he felt he was losing his power and influence in the Communist Party of China. To reassert his political presence, he announced a new Cultural Revolution and unleashed a paramilitary force of teenagers on the country, known as the Red Guard. It was their mission to destroy all bourgeoisie and Western influences in China and to restore the purity of the party that he led during the revolution and World War II. Wearing red armbands, red neckerchiefs, and continuously reading and reciting from a little Red Book of Mao quotes, the groups were in competition to see who could provide the greatest fanaticism in the restoration of the party’s purity. They destroyed everything that didn’t conform to Mao Zedong’s personal vision of Utopia. In the effort to purge all Western influence, these teenage bands of thugs burned books and art, and destroyed archaeological treasures and antiquities. Anyone who resisted or refused to participate in the revolutionary fanaticism was humiliated in mock trials and forced to wear humiliating signs and dunce caps, proclaiming their reluctance to accept the Cultural Revolution. Those who refused to admit their guilt sufficiently were beaten and sometimes executed by the Red Guard.
One point five million were killed during the Cultural Revolution and untold millions more were imprisoned, tortured, lost their property, and humiliated publicly.
Like most staged government efforts, designed to influence public opinion, the Cultural Revolution produced the exact opposite of its intended purpose. The Red Guard created a distrust and fear of the government among the Chinese people.
Two years later, the military was called to put an end to the Red Guard; even Mao had to admit they were out of control.
In the United States, a movement is gaining momentum. It’s purpose is to purge the country of everything Social Justice Warriors of the Left disagree with. The latest victims of the Left’s strategy of destruction and reconstruction of America are the monuments to the soldiers and generals of the Confederacy. Presumably we will all be living in a perfect society when they are finished destroying the old and building anew in their personal images of Utopia. “Bring them down,” they scream, “These men were evil slave owners.”
Some of these Confederates were slaveholders, possibly 1%. However, the Civil War was not fought over slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was a punitive effort against the Confederacy by Lincoln; it is important to remember, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the states that were in open rebellion against the United Sates.
During the winter of 63-64, the Confederacy was braced for General Sherman to destroy Atlanta, the industrial center for the southern war machine, but in the North, there was no sense of victory. There were rumors of impending draft riots, throughout the North, like the ones during the previous summer in New York that left hundreds dead. From the Midwest, came rumors of a Pro-Southern clandestine paramilitary group, numbering over a quarter of a million, called the Order of American Knights, whose sole purpose was to overthrow the government of the United States and start a Western Confederacy.
The Western states were upset over not being allowed to ship their grain on the rivers and enraged over the price gouging of the railroads, whose owners lived in he Northeast. In their view it was the same northeasterners who provoked the war with their incessant calls for abolition. They were tired of the draft and wondered why their young men had to go die for a war that didn’t concern them.
Gold soared to $250 an ounce, reflecting the lack of faith the public had in the government.
The people of the North were war weary and tired of the ever-growing casualty lists. The majority of Northerners were ready to sue for peace on any terms.
Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, predicted Lincoln’s loss in the upcoming presidential race, writing that 9/10’s of Americans were, “anxious for peace- peace on almost any terms- and utterly sick of human slaughter and devastation.” Greeley wrote, “We must have another ticket to save us from utter overthrow.” Greeley was pushing for a stronger leader than Lincoln. His views were representative of the mood of the American public.
Lincoln was not only feeling heat from the Democrats who were allied with the South, but there was tremendous pressure from his own party loyalists as well. On August 24, 1864, Lincoln wrote at a cabinet meeting, “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be reelected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the new president-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.” The president had each member of his cabinet sign the note and filed it away.
Lincoln drafted a document calling for a peace commission to query the south for peace- with or without slavery-remember; this was after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Democrats nominated former Union General George McClellan, who had been fired by Lincoln twice for losing battles to Robert E. Lee. McClellan was against the abolition of slavery. He was considered to be the best man to negotiate for peace, with the South.
Currently, there are a few problems with the Social Justice Warriors and their hatred of the Confederacy. We might recall one of many examples that contradict the Left’s opinion of these men. It was a late night in North Georgia, on May 11, 1864. In a tent lit by coal oil lanterns, a man was about to be baptized. General Leonidas Polk, an Episcopalian Bishop, serving as a corps commander of the Army of Tennessee, the main Confederate Army in the western theatre, was conducting the solemn procedure.
The man being confirmed into the Episcopalian Church was Lieutenant General John Bell Hood, an oversize and handsome Kentuckian of thirty-three. At a certain point, General Hood was supposed to kneel, but his war wounds precluded normal procedures. His arm had been mangled at Gettysburg and a leg had been amputated at the hip during the battle of Chickamauga, ten months earlier.
General Hood grabbed his crutches and stood from his chair, when it was time to kneel. He told General Polk, if he couldn’t kneel, he would stand and bow his head.
General Hood was received into the church while 150,000 men slept on the hills around him, awaiting the morning and the opening salvos of the final and one of the most-bitter fought campaigns of the American Civil War,
Why General Hood requested the baptism will never be known. Hood might have wanted to take communion with the beautiful socialite, from South Carolina, with whom he was carrying on a volatile love affair or he might have figured it was time to get right with the Lord. The reason is lost, but within two months General Polk was nearly severed in two by a cannonball and the young Christian General Hood was poised to march the Army of Tennessee and the Confederacy itself into the battles of Atlanta and Nashville and on into the oblivion of time.
Hood, Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Lee, Johnston, Jackson and all the rest marched into the mists of time, to disappear forever, but for a while they ruled the earth. Probably no armies ever assembled would have wanted to march against them. They were giants on the field of battle, and they were the ones who formed the mystique of our military traditions. It was their grandsons who marched into WWI and II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. No one else admits it, but it is these men and their armies that young boys admire and emulate. It is these men who set the bar of courage for those who wear the uniform, and of course the Left wants to erase all traces of this tradition as the basis for the undaunted courage of our troops today.
Where else can our young men look to for the courage and willingness to face hardship in the face of unspeakable horror? Once this influence is defaced, demeaned, and withered away our military will have fewer giants of history to look up too. Unless the tale is told, the sun will not shine as brightly and the heroic grandeur of our great great grandfathers will be ground into the dust and forgotten.
A professional horseman for over 50 years, Skook continues to work with horses. Skook has finished an historical novel, Fifty Thousand Years, that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. The story follows a line of courageous women, from the Ice Ages to the present, as they meet the challenges of survival with grit and creativity. These are not women who whimper of being victims, they meet the challenges of survival as women who use their abilities without excuses or remorse, these women are winners, they are our ancestors.