Editor’s Note: Yes, the 2020 election is over, but I’m not the one pretending it’s still going on and the winners stole it from the poor affronted losers.
to our guns is more admirable when “we” do it than when “they” do
it. That’s why the Greek historian Herodotus praised the 300 Spartans
slain in 480 B.C. for bravely refusing to surrender to King Xerxes’ huge
Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae, and why Americans still
memorialize the suicidal courage of outnumbered Texans massacred by the
Mexican army at the Alamo in 1836.
said, “History is written by the winners,” which is why Americans are unlikely to remember
fanatical death cults such as ISIS or the kamikazes as heroes. However, history is not always
written by the winners. After the Civil War, Southern historians
mythologized the Confederacy’s failed insurgency, promoting the
malignant legend of the “Lost Cause,” which Ulysses S. Grant called,
“one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which
there was the least excuse.” That Cause was “states’ rights” —
specifically, their God-given right to enslave, abuse and sell one’s
fellow human beings.
The godliness of this cause was reinforced by the powerful, pro-slavery Southern Baptist church, which had formed in a schism with Northern abolitionist Christians. The Rebels could cite Old Testament guidance on how to treat one’s slaves, as well as St. Paul’s admonition, “Slaves, obey your masters” (Ephesians 6:5). And Jesus, who often spoke out against social injustice, never once condemned slavery. (The Confederates were also convinced they couldn’t be beaten by the North, because one Southern gentleman was worth 10 Yankees, which made their surrender at Appomattox an unbearable outcome.)
A few decades later, we adopted a lost cause of our own. Based on the fallacy of American exceptionalism in which the U.S. wins every war it undertakes, we blamed our defeat in Vietnam on the politicians, as well as the liberal media. The myth that “they wouldn’t let us win” surfaced in Reagan-era movies of the 1980s, such as the “Rambo” series. During the past four years of phony hyper-patriotism, the pendulum has swung. I’ve heard Vietnam vets who’d once regretted their tours in Southeast Asia and envied the draft dodgers, now boast proudly about their service and condemn those who’d denied the U.S. a victory. This stab-in-the-back attitude toward lost causes can make one’s grasp of reality dubious.
total number of ballots aside, that addled meme makes no sense anyway,
because this formulation is necessarily equally logical: “133 million
registered voters in USA. Biden 81 million. That leaves 52 million. So how
did Trump get 74 million?” I have no trouble believing that, although
the amoral liars and traitors in the Trump camp were in a better position
to rig the 2020 election than the Democrats, they could still lose in a
landslide. Nonetheless, despite the recounts and lost lawsuits, including
those decided by Trump-appointed judges, the “MAGAts” still can’t
bring themselves to concede defeat.
legal avenues exhausted, this lost cause metastasized into the first
insurrection led by an American president against his own country, and the
first-ever siege of the Capitol. However, even inciting treason was not
enough to make deplorable cult warriors and Trump-fearing politicians hold
their Dear Leader responsible. As a result, he also became the first
president to be impeached and unpunished twice, even though not even the
boot-licking leader of his toadies, “Moscow Mitch” McConnell,
considers him exonerated.
still publicly claims his presidency was stolen by an implausible
coalition of liberals, moderates, the media, the Deep State and even some
disloyal Republicans. Whether he actually believes this or it’s just one
more grifter’s scam to raise money for a future army of defense
attorneys remains to be seen.
what’s most daunting is the damage this lost cause can do to our
democracy. Even 75 years after Hitler’s demise, neo-Nazis remain a
powerful force in America, and 150 years after Reconstruction, white
supremacy is again on the upswing. With their messianic zeal, such
delusions, both old and new, are unlikely to be abandoned anytime soon.
Click here to return to the Mark Drought home page.