First Please Read: “Welcome to the Desert of the Real” – Part One

“Outsiders only know half the truth about this city.” ~ The New York Times on Chicago – Christmas Eve 1893

From 1893 to 2023…

 …130 years later and that is still true.

*Important: This web page contains quite a bit of linked multi-media content.

This content is extremely important in addition to the content being very interesting, compelling, and highly entertaining.

For this reason, ideally this web page is best accessed by a laptop or desktop computer. 

If you are attempting to access it via your phone, please WAIT a few minutes before you begin scrolling to ensure that this web page and all it’s contents have downloaded properly.

Just relax and chill for a few minutes. I promise it will be worth your while. 🙂

Before I get to My Head Meets Heart Kits….

…an important HEADS UP:

I’m a native born, bred, and very proud Chicagoan 🙂

The Chicago Flag

For this reason, most pages on this website will begin with and feature a brief video hyping my beloved hometown’s beauty, style, character and pure GORGEOUSNESS…

….a feature which I have titled “A Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight.”

Here is the first one. 🙂

A Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight:

“Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright – Legendary Architect – (1867 – 1959)

It looks like the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright absolutely did not lie. 🙂

Chicago Voted Most Beautiful City in North America and 2nd Most Beautiful City in the World947 WLS Chicago – September 2021

Yes, you read that correctly.

In 2021, Chicago beat out Paris, London, Vienna, Barcelona, Athens, Venice, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Tokyo, Cape Town, Sydney and most every other beautiful city you have frequently heard of…

…and was voted as the 2nd most beautiful city in the world. 🙂

*Prague was voted #1. (Congrats Prague!)

“Chicago, in my humble opinion, is, architecturally, the best American city traditionally, and just visually. It’s so exciting.” ~ Frank Gehry, renowned architect

Chicago was voted the 2nd most beautiful city in the world by a whopping 79 percent of 27,000 Time Out Index survey voters from across the globe.

*To clarify, in addition to being voted the second most beautiful city in the whole entire world…

…that would mean Chicago is the #1 most beautiful city in America and North America.

Oh yeah 🙂 

No surprise at all to us native Chicagoans 🙂 

*Chicago was also voted the second most FUN city in the world and the #1 most FUN city in America and North America…

…which makes sense because it takes some real effort to find a way to not have fun while in the Windy City. 🙂

“Otto von Bismarck, while in the midst of remaking the map of Europe, observed, “I wish I could go to America, if only to see that Chicago.” ~ From the fascinating book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History” by Theodore J. Karamanski and Eileen M. McMahon

Otto von Bismarck, was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890

*Chancellor Bismarck reportedly made this comment to Chicago resident and Union Civil War Hero General Philip Sheridan in 1870 when the General was in Europe to honor the Iron Duke’s rout of Napoleon III, (per author Donald L. Miller’s excellent book “Chicago: City of the Century”)

*Statue of Union Civil War Hero General Philip Sheridan in Abraham Lincoln Park in Chicago.

*Chicago’s major street “Sheridan Road” is also named in his honor.

FUN FACT: There is no major city in America which honors the real winners and victors of the American Civil War more than Chicago does.

Here’s the thing:

Chicago does not pretend.

Why?

Because Chicago is REAL.

Chicago would never build statues or monuments pretending like the side it fought on and/or supported won if it had in reality lost.

That’s not real.

Chicago also would never build statues, monuments, etc. honoring the side of the American Civil War which not only lost…

…but the side which also fought to keep enslaving millions of innocent men, women and children, even if it meant tearing these United States apart via separating or seceding from it to achieve their goals.

That’s not real.

Chicago also would never erect Confederate statues many years after the American Civil War ended, (some erected in states that were not even here yet when the war happened)…

…touting and honoring the immoral men who tried their best to tear America apart to keep slavery and racism enshrined in the very core of their part of America forever. 

That’s not real.

This is just basic commonsense, which is something the city of Chicago has a LOT of.

*Note: Focusing on what and who is real is more important now than ever in this age of intentional misinformation and deliberate mislabeling by the media and others of what in fact is the real deal truth of the matter.

One of many disturbing examples of this is how people who lie about the Holocaust never happening have been re-labeled by the media and others “Holocaust deniers.”

The Auschwitz Memorial Museum which was established to educate and to make sure the world never forgets the millions of real people who were savagely killed in the Holocaust had the best response to this nonsense:

“The Holocaust happened. It is a fact, not an opinion. Holocaust deniers are not people who have a different opinion. They are liars.” ~ Auschwitz Memorial Museum’s response to a person using the nonsensical term “Holocaust denier” and claiming it just a difference of opinion on Twitter – November 2022

“They are liars.” Exactly, and it’s time to start calling people what they really are.

If you *deny* something that is easily proven factual which you choose not to accept…

…you’re a liar. End of story.

Back to Chicago…

…honoring  those who sought and fought to continue enslaving human beings also went against the very character and nature of the city of Chicago.

That’s just not The Chicago Way.

FUN FACT: Chicago was an important and vital stop for many of the freedom seeking enslaved on The Underground Railroad.

In fact, Chicago made mortal enemies very quickly in many parts of America just 13 years after it was founded by defiantly refusing to uphold The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 passed by the U.S. Congress.

This law gave enslavers the right to re-enslave freedom seeking Black people who had risked their lives to escape slavery and head north to free states like my home state of Illinois.

13 year old Chicago was the first and I believe the only US city to officially do so.

“On October 21, 1850, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution condemning the new law as “cruel and unjust” and directing the city’s police “not to render any assistance for the arrest of fugitive slaves.” ~ Encyclopedia of Chicago

Chicago was immediately condemned, castigated, and branded a lawless city by many across the U.S.

Remember, Chicago was only 13 years old at that time.

Many on both sides of this nation defining issue were like:

Just who do you think you are defiantly breaking the laws put forth by the U.S. Congress?

Aren’t you brand new?

Chicago didn’t care.

Fast Forward from 1850 to 2016:

Chicago became the first and only US city or town to shut down a Donald Trump rally before it even got started: 

This reminds me of a wise quote from the Civil War hero the city of Chicago likely honors the most:

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

*Notice that Lincoln called silence in the face of things that should be protested a sin.

One thing no one will ever accuse Chicago of being is cowardly.

**Also it’s important to remember that this country was founded on a protest which eventually evolved into The American Revolution.

From it’s stand alone 1850 protest and defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law…

… to it’s stand alone 2016 protest of Donald Trump holding a rally within it…

…one thing that can be said about the Windy City is it’s consistent…

…and it’s not afraid to stand alone.

Needless to say, Trump never re-scheduled his hate rally in Chicago…

…nor did he ever try to hold another rally in the Windy City again.

The record shows that the only American city or town which in response to Trump’s attempt to use it as a stage for racism, hatred, xenophobia, sexism, etc. in 2016…

…and instead basically responded with “Oh no you’re not bringing that $%#@ here!” was the city of Chicago.

How much did Chicagoans see right through Trump in 2016?

Out of Chicago’s 50 voting wards…

Trump. Lost. All. 50. Wards.

And I’m not talking about losing by a mere majority.

The precise Trump vote breakdown in Chicago in 2016 is as follows:

In 7 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 2% of the vote.

In 5 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 3% of the vote.

In 2 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 5% of the vote.

*That’s already 14 out 50 Chicago wards giving Trump less than 2% to 5% of their votes.

Continuing…

In 13 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 10% of the vote.

In 7 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 15% of the vote.

In 6 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 20% of the vote.

In 7 Chicago wards, Trump received less than 30% of the vote.

*That accounts for 47 out of 50 Chicago wards.

The remaining 3 Chicago wards voted as follows:

Trump vote for remaining 3 Chicago wards – 35.06%, 35.21%, and 42.62%

*Here is a link to where I got my stats for Chicago’s 2016 presidential vote breakdown.

I did this breakdown to show how thorough, concise, and comprehensive Chicago’s total rejection of a Trump presidency was. 

I wanted to show that I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that the entire city of Chicago…

…every demo, every age group, every race, every income bracket, etc. united almost in lockstep against a Trump presidency in 2016.

That level of uniformity in voting in a big city comprised of millions is rare to say the least.

Of course Chicago did the same thing in 2020.

Chicago rightly saw the presidential choice as a question of COMPETENCE, COMMONSENSE and CHARACTER….

…in addition to just plain SANITY.

Not only did not one Chicago ward vote for Trump in 2016…

…except for that one lone ward where 42.62%, the most of any ward, yet still a minority of it’s voters voted for Trump…

…the vast majority of every other Chicago ward overwhelmingly rejected the very idea of a Trump presidency. 

Chicagoans knew not to “just give Trump a chance” as so many clueless ones advised in 2016.

Chicagoans knew not to ridiculously fool themselves into believing that if Trump got into the White House, the magnitude of the office would miraculously make him into someone who was befitting or suitable for the presidency…

…aka into someone Trump has never been in his entire life.

From the get go aka from the beginning….

….the vast majority of Chicagoans of every age, demo and stripe found the very idea of a Trump presidency insane.

That’s because (for the most part) Chicago is a smart city…

….but it also absolutely does not pretend.

Chicago is 100% REAL.

Case in point…

…here is a headline during the one term Trump presidency quoting Chicago’s former mayor Rahm Emanuel:

Independent UK – December 2017 – Chicago’s New Motto Is ‘A City Trump Will Never Sleep In Says Mayor

“Chicago is a “Trump Free” zone. We don’t want him.” ~ Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the Late Show in 2017

Here’s the thing:

Chicago is not going to condemn Trump or claim that what Trump says is unacceptable…

…but then roll out the red carpet or the welcome wagon to provide him a platform to say those unacceptable things.

In other words, Chicago’s walk aligns with it’s talk.

This is the crux of what being REAL means.

*The sound goes out for about a minute but then comes right back on.

And as in the case of the Chicago Trump Rally that never was…

…if a Chicago facility cluelessly decides to provide it’s facility to broadcast or platform hate from…

…Chicagoans will shut it down.

Chicago doesn’t play that.

Chicago knows not to give a racist person who is attempting to become the leader of the free world a platform to broadcast his racist and harmful rhetoric from….

….unlike certain Social Media platforms.

And Chicago means business in regard to not enabling Trump in even more tangible and more meaningful ways.

Case in point:

Even though Conde Nast Traveler Magazine said in October 2022 that Chicago has:

“….some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere”…

…..that pleasantness, niceness, and civility most definitely does not extend to a person like Trump.

Why? Because Chicago keeps it REAL.

And Chicago is still letting Trump know he is not welcome in the city.

Case in point…

Chicago’s Trump Tower

Yes, even Donald Trump wanted his name immortalized on the beautiful Chicago Skyline.

The problem is Chicago doesn’t feel the same way.

“Seven years after the tower bearing the braggadocio’s (Trump) name was completed with postcard-worthy views, the presumptive Republican nominee has not managed to lease out even one of his huge riverfront retail spaces at Trump Tower.”

“While many wealthy residents of the Trump Tower told the Tribune in December that Trump’s policies targeting Mexicans and Muslims made them embarrassed to admit they lived in a building bearing his name, and a slew of Trump’s business partners broke ties with him over his campaign rhetoric, problems leasing the retail space both predate and appear unrelated to his presidential campaign.” ~ From Chicago Tribune article titled “Why Won’t Retailers Move Into Trump Tower?” – July 2016

*Also check out the following linked article:

The Real Deal – March 2019 – “No man’s land”: How Trump Tower Became Chicago Retail’s Biggest Failure

See? Rather than pretending to be civil to the uncivilized…

…Chicago just keeps it REAL.

Fast forward to just one of the many horrible examples of what millions of legal and law abiding immigrants from the countries Trump was referencing in the following headline had to live through and put up with being broadcast from the White House for four years once Trump became president:

CNN – January 2018 – Trump Decries Immigrants From ‘Shithole Countries’ Coming to US

Just think about how the kids who are from and/or whose parents are from those countries felt hearing the President of the U.S. publicly label their native country a “shithole” whose citizens are not welcome or wanted in the U.S.

Heck, think about how their parents or any other immigrants from those countries living in the U.S. or in any other part of the world felt hearing that hateful rhetoric from Trump…

…especially since whatever notable a U.S. president says is typically broadcast around the world.

What is that inscription on the Statue of Liberty again?

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” ~ The words inscribed on The Statue of Liberty in NYC – (by Emma Lazarus – 1883)

To state the obvious…

…dissing, scapegoating, humiliating, and vilifying our nation’s immigrants or immigrants who reside anywhere else in the world is not The Chicago Way.

Case in point:

The Most Diverse Street in America – Devon Ave. in Chicago

 *Next check out the following food tour which hits a few of Devon Ave’s wonderful Pakistani restaurants.

The video is less than 5 minutes, but it will surely have your mouth watering. 🙂

Devon Street Chicago Food Tour

“Right now, when we’re hearing so much disturbing and hateful rhetoric, it is so important to remember that our diversity has been – and will always be – our greatest source of strength and pride here in the United States.” ~ Michelle Obama – Native Chicagaon

In stark contrast, Chicago prefers to Celebrate Diversity vs vilify, demonize, or hatemonger it.

The city of Chicago does this in many ways via it’s hundreds of diverse cultural offerings offered year round across the city.

Diverse cultural offerings like the following which brings the world of DANCE to Chicago every year:

2022 Year of Chicago Dance

Also diverse cultural offerings like the following which brings the world of FOOD together in the world’s largest outdoor food festival in Chicago every year.

The Taste of Chicago 

“The best food is in Chicago. There are great restaurants everywhere, from fancy places to burger joints.” ~ Steve Carell

In my opinion, Steve Carell is 100% correct.

*For those visiting Chicago, here is a link to a video titled The Best Chicago Eats Marathon.

Even though it’s over an hour long…

…it touches on only a fraction of the many unique and diverse food choices you should try when visiting the Windy City.

“It is impossible to live in a monochromatic world when it is filled with a kaleidoscope of beautiful people and cultures. You cannot escape diversity. It is everywhere and in everything. God created it that way.” ~ Carliss Maddox – Oakland Literacy Coalition – January 2022

Lastly, the following is just one of multiple ways Chicago celebrates the diversity of the people within it’s city at Christmas time every year:

Christmas Around the World & Holidays of Light

This year (2022), Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry celebrates the 80th anniversary of a beloved Chicago tradition which began in 1942 with a single tree, newly decorated every day for 12 days to represent the countries fighting alongside America during World War II.

Today, Christmas Around the World features more than 50 trees highlighting a variety of countries and cultures, offering insight into the holiday customs celebrated by families around the world.

These trees and displays are decorated by volunteers from around the Chicagoland area to represent holiday traditions from their various cultures which spans across the globe.

Christmas Around the World

Time for another….

….Chicago the Beautiful Spotlight:

Although it’s super cold, Chicago is still astonishingly beautiful at Christmas time 🙂

Following is two of the many ways Chicagoans of all races and backgrounds come together at Christmas time.

First….

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a beloved Chicago tradition which kicks off every Christmas season when over TWO MILLION lights illuminate Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. 🙂

Second…

The city of Chicago also brings loads of Christmas cheer to Chicagoans of all backgrounds via decorating a select number of it’s public buses and trains for the holidays. 🙂

“Chicago is a beautiful city – the architecture, the food, everything in the city is awesome.” ~ Chance the Rapper – Native Chicagoan

Back to Chicago’s authenticity…

Chicago’s penchant for commonsense and realness is why author Alex Kotlowitz titled his acclaimed book about the Windy City:

Never a City So Real

“It’s a city that doesn’t presume. It’s a democratic city. Expansive and exposed. There’s nothing false about it, no pre- tense. It is as you see it.” ~ Alex Kotlowitz from his book “Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago” 

The late, great Anthony Bourdain also wrote about Chicago’s penchant for being real, no pretense, or what he colorfully called “NO BULLSHIT.”

“(Chicago) is, also, as I like to point out frequently, one of America’s last great NO BULLSHIT zones. Pomposity, pretentiousness, putting on airs of any kind, douchery and lack of a sense of humor will not get you far in Chicago.” ~ Anthony Bourdain – Medium essay, 2016

Interestingly comedy legend and native Chicagoan Bob Newhart also spoke about Chicago’s lack of pomposity and pretentiousness:

“I think the thing about it is when you grow up in Chicago there’s such a thing as putting on airs, you know? And you just learn not to put on airs. Don’t act like, ‘Oh boy, I’m somebody.’ They’ll slap you down.” ~ Bob Newhart, legendary comedian

One word: Yep

Going back to the following quote about Chicago:  

“It’s a city that doesn’t presume. It’s a democratic city. Expansive and exposed. There’s nothing false about it, no pre- tense. It is as you see it.” ~ Alex Kotlowitz from his book “Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago” 

Note: “democratic” with a small d = Democracy

*Author Kenan Heise made a very persuasive and fact-filled case that the city of Chicago is the true birthplace of American Democracy in his fascinating 1990 book titled “The Chicagoization of America – 1893 – 1917.”

“The distinction between a revolution and an evolution is often the difference between a sword and a ploughshare. In 1776, the Colonies formally initiated their revolution. In 1893, the United States launched it’s most important evolution. The first was meant to make America a republic; the second, to turn it into a democracy. The American Revolution started on the East Coast and the evolution, in Chicago, IL.” ~ Kenan Heise

Heise’s thought provoking book made a compelling case that while America was founded as a Democracy in theory, it really was never one in reality.

His fascinating book documents that most people-focused efforts that were made to make this country into a legitimate democracy began in Chicago…

…although some of the successes that were birthed from those early and pioneering efforts were unfortunately short-lived.

*I believe Kenan Heise’s book “The Chicagoization of America – 1893-1917” is currently out of print…

…but I also highly recommend the comprehensive and fascinating book titled “City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America” by Donald L. Miller

The fact that American Democracy is presently on such perilous and shaky ground now is I believe 100% proof that this country has yet to fully live up to it’s democratic ideals.

The sad fact of the matter is being founded while at the same time enslaving an entire race of human beings and while treating women as no more than chattel, always made the concept of American Democracy extremely suspect, to put it mildly.

Definition of Democracy: Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. ~ Dictionary.com

How can a country declare it is governed by “We, the People” while at the same time enslaving an entire race of people?

How can a country declare “All men are created equal” while at the same time enslaving an entire race of men, (in addition to women and children)?

In reality…

…the “democracy” America was founded upon was never true for “We, the People” as was stated.

It was never true for all people.

It was only true for a certain group of MEN… 

…so why didn’t America’s Declaration of Independence specifically state that was who it was for instead of pretending it was intended for “all men” or for “The People” aka for ALL people?

See the contradiction?

“I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

This is why President Abraham Lincoln saw abolishing slavery and the American Civil War which unfortunately followed as correcting at least one very serious flaw made by America’s founders in the stated ideals this nation was founded upon…

…the ideal of the U.S. finally in reality having freedom and liberty for all at it’s foundation.

Abraham Lincoln aka “Honest Abe” very correctly saw that America could not honestly call itself a Democracy while at the same time enslaving people.

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.” ~ Abraham Lincoln – Fragment on Democracy, August 1, 1858

Isn’t that basically The Golden Rule?

“The “Golden Rule” was given by Jesus of Nazareth, who used it to summarize the Torah: “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets” (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31)” ~ Source: Wikipedia

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. Various expressions of this rule can be found in the tenets of most religions and creeds through the ages.” ~ Source: Wikipedia

“The Ethic of Reciprocity — often called the Golden Rule — simply states that all of us are to treat other people as we would wish other people to treat us in return. Almost all organized religions, philosophical systems, and secular systems of morality include such an ethic. It is normally intended to apply to the entire human race.” ~ Religious Tolerence.org

Exactly. Don’t do to another something that you would not want done to you. It’s really that simple.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Sounds like The Golden Rule to me.

Set of Wrought Iron Leg Shackles on display at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.

I wonder if seeing or being aware of enslaved Black people being forced to wear leg shackles, or being forced to be led around and controlled like a dog on a leash with a chain around their necks, or being forced to work from morning to night with no pay, or being forced to live in deplorable conditions, or being forced to be separated from their families, or being oppressed, whipped, beaten, brutalized, raped, and much much worse was at least one motivation for the following Abraham Lincoln quote?

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. ” ~ Abraham Lincoln

What a much better country this would be if more people would only propose or vote for only what they themselves could live with or accept.

In other words, if more people would adhere to The Golden Rule.

“From the time the first Africans arrived as slaves in Jamestown in 1619 through the codification of blacks as three-fifths of a person in the Constitution and up to the eve of the Civil War, when four million people were held in bondage, slavery has been the most incongruent element of a people proclaiming to be enlightened.” 

*Incongruent: describes something that’s out of place or incompatible ~ Vocabulary.com

“Lincoln said he hated “the monstrous injustice of slavery,” in part because it allowed “enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites.” ~Both quotes from Timothy Egan in New York Times article titled “Apologize for Slavery” – (2015)

*No, America has never officially apologized.

President Lincoln hoped that abolishing slavery would enable America to have what he called in his iconic Gettysburg Address in 1863 “a new birth of freedom.”

A freedom without slavery which could potentially bring this country much closer to being the Democracy it was founded to be.

Notice I said potentially.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address performed by President Obama – (2013)

“That the nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~ The last sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg AddressNovember 19, 1863

This all brings me back to the city of Chicago.

“Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you…. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.”  ~ White House.gov

FUN FACT: Not only did Chicago only honor and support the real victors, winners, and heroes of the American Civil War…

….the truth of the matter is that it can be convincingly argued that the city of Chicago also played a significant role in helping to lead the nation into the war to save America. 

“Although it was a raw, brash upstart of a city, Chicago played center stage in the unfolding sectional debate over the fate of the country.” ~ From the must read book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History”

The city of Chicago was even instrumental in the founding of the Republican Party which is ironic considering how much modern day Republicans are such Chicago haters.

The reason for that goes deep.

When you understand the historical record…

…it’s understandable that modern day Republicans are Chicago haters since today’s Republican Party have at it’s core the same Red states which composed the Southern Confederacy…

….the same states that were Abraham Lincoln’s sworn enemies…

…the same states which hated Abraham Lincoln so much that they refused to put his name on the presidential ballot when Lincoln ran for and won the presidency in 1860….

….and the same states that almost immediately declared war on America after Lincoln won.

Yeah, when you consider that the modern day Republican Party consists of most of the Confederate states which totally despised the nation’s first Republican president…

….it should come as no surprise at all that the modern day incarnation of the Republican Party hates the city of Chicago so much.

This is particularly true when you consider Chicago’s role in helping to boost and achieve Abraham Lincoln’s presidential aspirations…

…and considering Chicago’s role in helping to lead the chorus in abolishing slavery…

…and also the city’s role in helping President Lincoln and the Union Army defeat the Southern Confederacy:

“The Chicagoans who wanted to end slavery had other ideas. They openly defied the Fugitive Slave Act. They held public meetings to protest the compromise measure. They continued to help runaway slaves operating the Chicago arm of the Underground Railroad at full steam despite enhanced penalties and more rigorous enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. They formed a chorus of voices calling for a political party that would not compromise on slavery.

In short, they helped set the stage for the rise of Abraham Lincoln to national prominence, the birth of a new national party opposed to the expansion of slavery, and the slating of Lincoln as a Presidential candidate at the 1860 Republican Convention held in the Wigwam, the building Chicago’s business leaders had erected to attract the convention to Chicago.

The abolitionists, with their willingness to break the law to achieve their ends, were viewed as extremists even in the North. Lincoln had to be careful not to be identified too closely with the abolitionist cause.” ~ Tom Campbell, author of the fascinating book, “Fighting Slavery in Chicago: Abolitionists, the Law of Slavery and Lincoln”

In other words, Lincoln had to be a good politician to win the presidency and do what had to be done.

It’s very important to understand that modern-day Republican hatred of the city of Chicago goes all the way back to before the American Civil War….

….back to when the city of Chicago broke the law by openly defying the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

The Windy City was only 13 years old at that time…

…but the name Chicago quickly became a roundly cursed slur word in the slave-holding South.

Chicago being so use to having hate thrown at it almost since it’s inception is why it doesn’t pay it’s many haters and detractors any attention to this very day.

In fact, Chicago’s own Barack Obama perfectly demonstrated “The Chicago Way” of dealing with haters and detractors during his historic campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for president in 2008:

“You gotta get that dirt off your shoulder.” ~ Jay-Z

Exactly. All the Chi hate and disses are merely dirt which Chicago brushes off it’s collective shoulders while continuing on it’s unending quest to be the most BEAUTIFUL and the BEST city in the world.

“Worried Democrats want Barack Obama to get tougher, show more passion. Why is he so calm, supporters ask, so close to an election that looks so tight.

“Just keep steady,” Obama tells the nervous Nellies. “I’m skinny but I’m tough. I’m from Chicago.” ~ Los Angeles Daily News – September 2008

And of course “No Drama Obama” carried that same Chicago-style energy with him into the White House 🙂

Just like with the then long shot First Black presidential candidate…

….who morphed into the first ever Black President, (Two terms 🙂 )…

….Chicago is very use to being hated on by enemies it had zero fear or qualms about creating.

In fact, Chicago embodies the following creed:

If you don’t have haters, you ain’t doing shit.

Whether the hate is justified or based on jealousy and envy can be determined by the following question:

What are you doing?

“No one is ever ashamed of anything in Chicago. Everything is moving too quickly, everyone is too specialized and it is all too much fun. Each one, whether crook or politician or expert gunman is too good of his kind to be conscious of anything less positive and less exhilarating than his own power.” ~ Mary Borden (1886-1968)

Pro Tip: Never try to shame a city which knows itself…

…and most importantly a city that loves itself.

Like when Chicago haters derisively labeled Chicago “the Windy City” not because of it’s well-known and fierce winds…

….but because of the city’s incessant boastfulness and Chicago politicians and others being so long-winded and talking so much about how great Chicago is.

“One of the first known instances of Chicago’s “windy city” nickname came from a New York Sun reporter named Charles A. Dana in 1893, who editorialized that the city’s politicians were “full of hot air.”

Chicago and New York were in a head-to-head competition at the time to host the next World’s Fair, and Chicago’s “windbag” advocates were not shy about campaigning for their hometown in order to win.

Despite Dana’s best efforts to discredit Chicago as a “windy city”, the 1893 World’s Fair was held in Illinois, not New York.

Even before the World’s Fair debate, there were other published instances of the windy city nickname. The Cincinnati Enquirer used the term in 1876 in reference to a tornado that blew through the city, while also capitalizing on the term’s double meaning to highlight local speakers who were “full of wind.”

From there, the nickname stuck, and the rest is history!” ~ Excerpt from Skydeck.com article titled “Why Is Chicago Called the Windy City” 

This part:

“Chicago and New York were in a head-to-head competition at the time to host the next World’s Fair, and Chicago’s “windbag” advocates were not shy about campaigning for their hometown in order to win.”

*Since Chicago won the head-to-head competition and went on to host the World’s Fair, not New York….

….I would put this intended diss from a Chi hating NYC reporter in the jealous & envious category. 🙂

See?

Chicago turned what was intended to be an insult into a badge of honor. 🙂

“It may well have been Chicago’s urban rivals who coined a nickname in derision, which has come to be adopted with pride.” ~ Encyclopedia of Chicago

In other words, Chicago’s philosophy is “Haters gonna hate”….

….but let’s turn their lame hate into a powerful advantage for us.

“I’ve been called worse on the basketball court.” ~ President Barack Obama on why his many haters fail to upset him

Ouch! Dissing the lameness of the insults thrown at you by your haters is COLD and….

…it’s also “The Chicago Way,” ladies and gents.

If you’re going to diss or throw hate at it…

…Chicago wants you to at least BE CREATIVE…

….like the always quotable Oscar Wilde was:

“Your machinery is beautiful. Your society people have apologized to me for the envious ridicule with which your newspapers have referred to me. Your newspapers are comic but never amusing. Your Water Tower is a castellated monstrosity with pepperboxes stuck all over it. I am amazed that any people could so abuse Gothic art and make a structure not like a water tower but like a tower of a medieval castle. It should be torn down. It is a shame to spend so much money on buildings with such an unsatisfactory result. Your city looks positively dreary.” ~ Oscar Wilde’s take on Chicago (1882)

….or like Rudyard Kipling was:

“I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago. . . . I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.” ~ Rudyard Kipling, (1891)

…or like the legendary comedian Fred Allen was:

“I’m a little hoarse tonight. I’ve been living in Chicago for the past two months, and you know how it is, yelling for help on the way home every night. Things are so tough in Chicago that at Easter time, for bunnies the little kids use porcupines.” ~ Fred Allen (1956)

…or like Will Rogers was:

“It’s one of the most progressive cities in the world. Shooting is only a sideline.” ~ Will Rogers, June 22, 1930.

,,,or like Chicago’s own Groucho Marx was:

“There was no need to inform us of the protocol involved. We were from Chicago and knew all about cement.” ~ Groucho Marx, along with his brothers the Marx Brothers while pressing their hands into the cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood

….or like Studs Terkel was:

“Chicago is not the most corrupt of cities. The state of New Jersey has a couple. Need we mention Nevada? Chicago, though, is the Big Daddy. Not more corrupt, just more theatrical, more colorful in its shadiness.” ~ Studs Terkel

I could go on and on. 🙂

Why does Chicago want you to be creative with your insults against it?

So it can proudly quote your insult FOREVER or to in some way use it to it’s advantage.

Far from taking offense…

….Chicago actually wants to in some way immortalize your diss, (insult).

For example…

….remember when modern day Republicans ridiculously claimed President Obama, (former president of the Harvard Law Review, a bestselling author, and a Constitutional Law Senior Lecturer in his former life)…

….couldn’t give a speech without reading from a teleprompter?

Here was then President Obama’s highly amusing response to their diss.

Obama White House Throwback – The President’s Speech – (2011)

“You become stronger from criticism. We’re all evolving. We become better when we are challenged. We get lazy when we aren’t being challenged.” ~ Elexus Jionde

One great example of embracing an insult for the greater good was how President Obama embraced the *intended* insult of calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare.”

Remember “Obamacare” was an intended insult given to the Affordable Care Act by the Republicans….

….but like the typical Chicagoan, President Obama ended up liking the insult.

Case in point:

Excerpt from USA Today:

“President Obama and his Republican critics do agree on one thing about the new health care law — the term “Obamacare.”

At one time, Republicans used “Obamacare” almost exclusively as a term of derision; but these days, Obama himself is embracing the moniker.

“For the past few years, since I signed the Affordable Care Act, a lot of you have been enjoying new benefits and protections that you didn’t before even if you didn’t know they were coming from Obamacare,” Obama told supporters during a health speech in Maryland on Thursday.” ~ USA Today – September 2013

And also like the typical Chicagoan, President Obama turned the *insult* into a rallying cry in his favor at a 2012 campaign rally as the following video proves:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For those who have forgotten…

….ultimately, the TRUE and intended purpose for any politician achieving power is to expand and increase one’s ability to help and serve the people.

Case in point:

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute – October 2016 – Children’s Health Coverage Rate Now at Historic High of 95 Percent

#ThanksObama 🙂

Now after 12+ long years of hate, lies and unpopularity…

…the once extremely unpopular and now suddenly popular Affordable Care Act will forever be known as “Obamacare”…

…which means former President Barack Obama will forever get his due for his historic achievement which has/will help and save the lives of untold millions of Americans…

….especially during these extremely health challenging, unstable, and uncertain pandemic times.

Case in Point:

Per the New York Times Covid Tracker….

…as of January 27th 2023, there had been 102M cases of Covid in the U.S. and 1.11M deaths from Covid as of that date.

Although these are truly astronomical, devastating, and really heartbreaking numbers for this country…

….just think about how much HIGHER both of those tragic numbers would be as of that date without the Affordable Care Act aka without Obamacare?

Think of the countless number of Americans now dealing with what has been called Long Covid and having to cope with it without having affordable health care while suffering from it.

#CovidIsNotOver

The New York Times – January 2023 – Long Covid Is Keeping Significant Numbers of People Out of Work, Study Finds

“An analysis of workers’ compensation claims in New York found that 71 percent of claimants with long Covid needed continuing medical treatment or were unable to work for six months or more.” ~ NYT

Just imagine the U.S dealing with record cases of Covid, Long Covid on top of the  many other physical and mental illnesses countless millions of Americans are now dealing with without Obamacare?

Again….

#ThanksObama

“If you walk through life and don’t help anybody, you haven’t had much of a life.” ~ Fred Hampton, native Chicagoan

**The sad irony is that in spite of having Obamacare…

….America has by far had the most Covid-19 deaths of any country in the world to date.

India, a country with almost 1.5 billion people to the U.S.’s 330 million people, had 530,000+ pandemic deaths as of January 9th 2023 to America’s 1.121,000+ pandemic deaths as of that same date.

The unending tragedy and fact of the matter is it absolutely did not have to be this way.

PBS – May 2020 – Obama Team Left Pandemic Playbook for Trump Administration, Officials Confirm

KHN & Politifact Health Check – May 2020 – Evidence Shows Obama Team Left A Pandemic ‘Game Plan’ For Trump Administration

Stat News – May 2020 – The Art of the Pandemic: How Donald Trump Walked the U.S Into the Covid 19 Era

“A Pandemic Plan was in place. Trump abandoned it — and Science — in the face of Covid-19.” ~ Stat News -May 2020

Politico – March 2020 – Trump Team Failed to Follow NSC’s Pandemic Playbook

“The 69-page document, finished in 2016 (by the Obama administration), provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the (Trump) administration.” ~ Politico – March 2020

The following excerpt represents some of the many heartbreaking casualties of Trump and the Republicans leaders decision to totally ignore the Obama administration’s pandemic plan:

“At least 204,000 U.S. children and teens have lost parents and other in-home caregivers to COVID-19—more than 1 in every 360 youth, according to COVID Collaborative, an interdisciplinary group of experts that is raising awareness and support for COVID-bereaved children.” ~ APA – American Psychological Association – October 2022

THIS is one of the countless reasons why the Trump presidency was such a complete and total disaster for millions of Americans and for America in general in too many tragic, destructive, and corrupt ways to count.

“Beginning the morning after his inauguration, a spectacular science-related tragedy has unfolded.

The Trump administration has systematically dismantled the executive branch’s science infrastructure and rejected the role of science to inform policy, essentially reversing both Republican and Democrat presidential administrations since World War II, when Vannevar Bush, an engineer, advised Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

President Trump’s pursuit of anti-science policy has been so effective that as the first cases of Covid-19 were breaking out in Wuhan, China, no meaningful science policy infrastructure was in place to advise him. As a consequence, America is suffering from a pandemic without a plan. Our responses are ineffectual and inconsistent. We are increasingly divided by misinformation and invidious messaging. And it’s not even over.” ~ Jason Karlawish – Stats News – May 2020

In addition the Obama administration and it’s scientists spending years to develop a playbook for the country to utilize in preparation of a deadly pandemic, there is also the following enraging fact:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – April 2020 – (President) Obama Warned of Pandemic Threat in 2014, but Republicans Blocked Funding

“Former President Barack Obama warned the nation in 2014 about the potential for a coming pandemic and pushed for billions in emergency funding that was ultimately blocked by Republicans in Congress.” ~ The Atlanta Journal ConstitutionApril 2020

So no, it wasn’t just Trump.

In my opinion, it is the entire Republican Party who is responsible for America’s colossal pandemic failure and the astronomical amount of death and tragedy in it’s aftermath which is still happening and being felt to this very day.

Ask yourselves why in the face of Covid did Trump along with the Republican leaders in the House and Senate absolutely refuse to even consider President Obama’s science driven, highly meticulous, ready made Pandemic Plan when they had no plan of their own?

Ask yourselves why did Republican leaders choose to totally ignore what every reputable scientist said about a looming pandemic hitting the world in the near future?

Ask yourselves why Republican leaders chose to block the billions of dollars in emergency pandemic funding that President Obama requested in 2014 to begin preparing the U.S. for a deadly pandemic?

This particular question is extremely important, especially after the Ebola Virus scare in 2014 which thankfully resulted in only ONE documented Ebola virus death in the U.S.

That was largely because of the Obama Administration’s smart, strategic, highly competent, and extremely successful handling of the Ebola crisis.

The Atlantic – Obama’s Ebola Victory Lap – February 2015

“At no point Wednesday did President Obama utter the words “I told you so.” But that was the underlying message from a White House event that brought him together with the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals whose advice he relied on in the battle against Ebola.

Four months after he took a beating from political opponents who mocked his competence and derided the expertise of those giving him advice, a triumphant Obama surrounded himself with those experts and declared a milestone has been reached in the battle against Ebola. It was not, he stressed, final victory, but an important “transition” in which he could bring home almost all the U.S. troops he dispatched to Africa to help the doctors.

Even with the memories of that withering criticism still fresh, the applause of his White House audience was so embracing and the statistics at hand so encouraging, the president clearly was pleased with the way things have worked out. So while he was very careful not to repeat the words uttered by his predecessor about the Iraq war—that this was “mission accomplished”—this was, without doubt, a victory lap.

“Remember, there was no small amount of skepticism about our chances,” he said with some understatement. “People were understandably afraid. And, if we’re honest, some stoked those fears. But we believed that if we made policy based not on fear, but on sound science and good judgment, America could lead an effective global response while keeping the American people safe, and we could turn the tide of the epidemic.” ~ The Atlantic – February 2015

In my opinion, no issue shows the stark difference and the extreme importance of which party is in the leadership position in the U.S. than the Obama administration and Democratic leadership’s highly successful science based handling of the Ebola Virus crisis…

…vs the Trump administration and Republican leadership’s tragically devastating and failed anti-science handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New York Times – May 2022 – The U.S. Surpasses One Million Covid Deaths, the World’s Highest Known Total

Again, it absolutely did not have to be this way.

And why hasn’t the U.S. media asked Trump and the Republicans these extremely important questions about their failure to utilize the Pandemic Playbook the Obama administration spent years and millions of dollars creating to prepare the U.S. for a deadly pandemic…

…especially after the media went overboard in hyping and exaggerating the Ebola Virus crisis under President Obama which (again) resulted in only ONE death in the U.S.?

The answer to these important questions would closely align with why the Republicans repeatedly tried to repeal “Obamacare” for more than a decade with most of the US media failing to critically question the Republicans about their basis and logic for doing that too.

On a lighter note, regarding the name “Obamacare”….

#ThanksRepublicans 🙂

That’s “The Chicago Way,” ladies and gents.

That’s how patiently Chicago rolls…

….and how it in the process rolls over it’s many haters. 🙂

Speaking of haters….

…like I said earlier, modern day Republican hatred of Chicago is long and it goes deep.

FUN FACT: Most Blue states today were Union states during the Civil War…

…and most Red states today were Confederate states during the Civil War.

“The Union included the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, California, Nevada, and Oregon.

Abraham Lincoln was their President.

The Confederacy included the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Jefferson Davis was their President.

Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were called Border States.

In 1865, the Union won the war.” ~ National Park Service website

Important Note: I first want to make clear that I very much know that just because a state is Red doesn’t mean all of the people who live in it vote Republican.

States like Florida, Virginia and North Carolina even voted for our first Black president, President Obama in 2008…

….and considering that Virginia was once considered Ground Zero for the Southern Confederacy during the Civil War, that’s quite a remarkable evolution for that state.

*Barack Obama won Virginia again in 2012, Hillary Clinton won the state for Dems again in 2016, and Joe Biden turned Virginia Blue yet again in 2020 with 54.11% of the vote in 2020, by a margin of 10.11%, the best performance for a Democratic presidential candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.

Go Virginia 🙂

*Too bad that Virginia’s current Republican Governor still seems to be more aligned with the old, outdated Southern Confederacy:

I mean, can modern day Republicans make it any more clear who and what they are and what they represent?

Thankfully the nation’s current Secretary of Education doesn’t agree with modern day Republicans.

And then there is the war modern-day Republicans are now waging on books in classroom libraries:

And this is not just removing *some* books, it’s removing ALL books from Florida’s classroom libraries. 

“Call it the “Blue Scare” – an intense effort by an ever more extreme right-wing, including leading politicos, far-right media, Christo-fascists, and online activists, to expunge any hint of liberalism within schools, government, and the media.

Under the guise of defending freedom from “woke-ism,” the ultra-conservatives and intense libertarians who have hijacked the Republican Party, pushing it further and further from the realm of reasonable civil debate, are now consistently employing the same type of language this country has seen before during two red scares.” ~ Excerpt from Washington Press article titled “The New MCarthyism: Today’s Right-Wing Is Using An Old Playbook” – January 2023

And “liberalism” or “woke-ism” for these folks is anything that informs or teaches accurate, warts and all TRUTH about America, both past and present…

….and/or anything that tries to make America a more inclusive, more equitable, and a more decent country. 

Basically anything or anyone who is seeking to “unrig” the game.

This modern day book banning is really not that far removed from when Southern Slave States made book reading a crime sometimes punishable by death for the enslaved.

Some states even made laws not only against the enslaved, but also against “free people of color” from being taught to read or write, and the punishment was also for the brave white folks who taught them.

“Many states had specific laws prohibiting the education of “persons of color”. The state of Georgia penal code read: “Punishment for teaching slaves or free persons of color to read. — If any slave, Negro, or free person of color, or any white person, shall teach any other slave, Negro, or free person of color, to read or write either written or printed characters, the said free person of color or slave shall be punished by fine and whipping, or fine or whipping, at the discretion of the court.” ~ Matthew Lynch – Edweek.org – May 2014

The reasons why an educated population is seen as a threat by the modern day Republican Party today are the same as they were way back then for the Southern Confederacy:

“In every case of education prohibition, the end goal was to repress a certain demographic, preventing them from becoming literate and gaining the potential to throw off oppression.”

“Access to education and literacy rights continue to be a matter of concern across the globe as non-compliant countries continue to use non-education as a tool to subjugate large percentages of the population.” ~ Matthew Lynch – Edweek.org – May 2014

“As Clarence Lusane, a professor of political science at Howard University notes, there was a growing belief that “an educated enslaved person was a dangerous person.” ~ Excerpt from “How Literacy Became a Powerful Weapon in the Fight to End Slavery”History.com

The man who enslaved a young Frederick Douglass made it clear why education of any form was prohibited for enslaved and free Black/POC people:

“Slave owner Hugh Auld describes this fear in this exchange with his wife, Sophia Auld, after he discovered her teaching a young Frederick Douglass how to read:

“He should know nothing but the will of his master and learn to obey it.” ~ Oakland Literacy Coalition – January 2022

One thing is for sure…

…Lincoln’s Republican Party was most definitely not anti-education, anti-book, or anti-intellectual.

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

It’s very obvious that the modern day Republican Party’s goal is the same goal as it’s Confederate enslaver forefathers had, except now it’s goal includes everyone, not just the enslaved…

…and that is to keep as many Americans as unknowledgeable and uneducated as possible.

“Think back to a darker time in our history. Two hundred years ago when slavery was going on, it was illegal to educate a slave, particularly to teach them to read. Why do you think that was? Because when you educate a man, you liberate a man.” ~ Modern day Republican and sellout Dr. Ben Carson, in his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future”

Unsurprisingly, in addition to being antagonistic towards teaching Black History…

….the modern day Republican Party seems to also attract voters who are antagonistic towards higher education and towards education in general.

“…51 percent of respondents agreed with the idea that “a college education is the best way to get ahead in the U.S.” But agreement differed significantly by respondent’s partisan affiliations: Seventy-one percent of self-identified Democrats agreed while (just) 37 percent of self-identified Republicans did.” ~ FiveThirtyEight – October 2022

There is also this:

Reason – August 2019 – Survey: 59% of Republicans Now Think College Is Bad for America

“Republicans and right-leaning independents have turned rapidly against Higher Ed.”

The percentage of Republicans who see value in higher education has collapsed in recent years, from 53 percent in 2012 to just 33 percent in 2019.” ~ Reason – August 2019

Hmmm….

…what happened between 2012 and 2019?

Answer: The Trump Presidency

“…after winning his third-straight contest in Nevada Tuesday, Trump credited his “poorly educated” supporters, in part, for the win.

“We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated,” he said during his victory speech.” ~ Excerpt from USA Today article titled “Donald Trump loves the ‘poorly educated’ — and they love him” – February 2016

Look no further for the reason why so many Republican voters believe Donald Trump is a genius, why so many believe Covid is a hoax or no different than the flu or the common cold, and why so many believe in Qanon.

They say a leader is a reflection of those he leads.

Having a president for four years who not only didn’t value higher education…

…but touted how much he loved his supporters being “poorly educated”…

…could explain that deep dive in Republican views of higher education from 53% in favor to only 33% in favor of higher education from 2012 to 2019.

The negative consequences for this country in losing so much ground on having a highly educated population are too many to count.

One tragic consequence:

Wall Street Journal – September 2021 – A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

“The number of men enrolled at two- and four-year colleges has fallen behind women by record levels, in a widening education gap across the U.S.” ~ WSJ

Here’s the thing:

That WSJ headline may as well read:

“A Generation of American Men Give Up On Being a Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, Engineer, Architect, Teacher, Pharmacist, Financial Manager, Astronaut, Accountant, Veterinarian, Journalist, Marketing Exec, Nurse, Paramedic, Biologist, Psychiatrist, Firefighter, Therapist, Banker, Professor, Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Radiologist, MRI Technologist, Historian, Corporate Manager, etc. etc etc…

…since all of these careers require having a college degree at the minimum.

Why are so many young American men giving up on higher education?

In my opinion, this is a crisis that will only have extremely dire consequences for this country if it continues.

Meanwhile…

TruthoutAugust 2022 – 75% of New Jobs Require a Degree While Only 40% of Potential Applicants Have One

On top of so many young American men shunning college having to deal with very limited job opportunities in the future…

…so many Republicans (and young American men) being so hostile towards higher education and hostile towards educated experts means being much more easily susceptible to misinformation….

…and the sad part is the blind belief in misinformation and disbelief in science of many Republican voters is literally killing them:

NPR – December 2021 Pro-Trump Counties Now Have Far Higher COVID Death Rates. Misinformation is to Blame

“Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. That’s according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic.” ~ NPR – December 2021

Going back to the ridiculous and backwards book banning efforts of Republican Governors…

…thankfully some are fighting back against their anti-education, anti-history, and anti-truth movement:

For all of these understandably complex reasons…

…I want to make clear that when I mention Red states or states that were once in the Southern Confederacy on this web page…

….I am in no way speaking of all the people currently living in those states which consists of many majority Blue voting cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, etc. in Texas….

…and the cities Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida which all voted Blue in the 2020 presidential election…

…and the entire state of Georgia which President Biden won in 2020, becoming the first modern day Democratic president to do so in nearly 30 years.

…in addition to the many thousands of patriotic, democracy-loving Blue voters residing in all of the Red states.

Having made that point crystal clear…

…the fact that the same Southern states which hated Abraham Lincoln so much that their Confederate forefathers refused to put his name on the presidential ballot when he first ran for president….

….and the same Southern states which their Confederate forefathers declared war on America immediately after Abraham Lincoln won the presidency…

…have descendants in the present day peddling a modernized version of the same hatred, discrimination, and racism of their Confederate ancestors…

…but they are now doing it under the banner of the GOP after shamelessly taking over Lincoln’s Republican Party…

…the same party responsible for their Confederate ancestors losing the American Civil War….

….is one of many reasons why the modern day Republican Party can no longer be called “The Party of Lincoln.”

In fact…

…given recent history, particularly the huge insurrectionist attack on the nation’s Capitol that happened on January 6th, 2021…

“The 21st Century Confederacy” is the far more appropriate name for the modern day MAGA Republican Party.

This opinion is supported by the January 6th Final Report issued by the Congressional Select Committee created to investigate the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol which took place on January 6th. 2021…

…all because Donald Trump and thousands of his supporters, (including a Supreme Court Justice’s wife), absolutely refused to accept the lawful results of the 2020 election.

The following should come as a surprise to no one who has been paying attention:

“The January 6th Report does well to make explicit one of the drivers of the efforts to overturn the (2020 presidential) election: racism.”

A powerful review of the Jan 6. Report’s findings on the central role of “white nationalism” in Jan. 6. Echoes of “lynching”

“White supremacists & Confederate-sympathizers were among the first rioters to enter the U.S. Capitol.”

“Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boys leader invoked the “Day of the Rope” to reject the outcome of the 2020 election, ‘referring to a day of mass lynching of ‘race traitors.’” ~ Scott Hechinger, Civil Rights Attorney in a thread via Twitter – December 2022

It comes as absolutely no surprise to much of Chicago that the thankfully short-lived, one term Trump presidency was hugely embarrassing for our country…

….was extremely corrupt, beyond racist, and totally incompetent on an unprecedented scale…

…and ended with Trump and thousands of his supporters illegally and violently refusing to accept his 2020 election loss. 

The Southern Confederacy’s enemy flag never made it to the U.S. Capitol during the American Civil War…

….but it most definitely made it’s way inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6th 2021.

Description from Reuters of Image: A supporter of President Trump carries a Confederate battle flag on the second floor of the Capitol Building, January 6. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

#NeverForgetJan6th

This is one of many reasons why the present day Republican Party can convincingly be called…

…the 21st Century Confederacy.

The sooner it’s recognized exactly who and what the modern day Republican Party represents, the better it will be for all Americans.

To put it simply….

…the modern day Republican Party = Shit Show

Question: When you vote for people who represent a political party that very obviously loves shit shows over actual governing…

…why be surprised when a shit show seems to be the only thing that party is capable of producing?

That’s something called Commonsense, and you can blame me being born and raised in Chicago for that. 🙂

*The Chicago Way says know exactly who and what you are dealing with….

….which is why the vast majority of Chicagoans absolutely will not vote for anyone connected with the modern day Republican Party.

Just one of many reasons why I am a very proud Chicagoan. 🙂

Seriously, it’s really not that hard to connect the dots.

That’s why the modern day Republican Party chose a Reality Show TV Host as it’s leader.

All I can say is, Lincoln wept.

And make no mistake….

…just like President Abraham Lincoln made the Southern Confederacy and it’s leaders abject losers in the American Civil War…

….the 21st Century Confederacy is also comprised of losers, and a great example of that is the initially 14 times rejected current Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went down to humiliating defeat in his bid to take the speaker’s gavel Tuesday. Not satisfied with that, he then went down to humiliating defeat again. And then again.

Mercifully, the House eventually adjourned, which means McCarthy will probably go down to defeat a few more times over the next couple of days. Or weeks. Or months? Who knows?” ~ Noah Berlatsky from his article titled “The Humiliation of Keven McCarthy”January 4th. 2023

How appropriate considering the following:

Gotta love Karma 🙂

“It is pretty funny to watch a party whose whole platform is “the election was rigged!” unable to elect its own leader.” ~ Ben Wexler via Twitter

The Republicans even almost had a fist fight on the Congressional floor:

Meanwhile…

Whomever the House Speaker for the 118th Republican-led Congress ends up being…

….Steve Schmidt, the senior advisor to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, former Republican strategist, and present-day Democrat said it best:

Case in point:

*Being criminally minded seems to be a prerequisite for being elected into the modern day Republican Party.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou

If you value governing and don’t want constant chaos in our government…

….don’t vote for unpatriotic, insurrection supporting Chaos Agents.

It’s really that simple.

Update: A battered and bruised Kevin McCarthy finally stumbled into the House Speaker position after losing the vote from his own party an unprecedented 14 times…

….and after giving away boatloads of concessions to the most extreme wing of the Republican Majority House.

“Now we have a different McCarthy to contend with – not so much a demagogue as a sycophant, but just as dangerous in his way as the senator.

Through his weakness, Speaker Kevin McCarthy will actually have a profound effect, enabling the more radical right-wing voices he serves, including figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene, and, of course, Donald Trump.” ~ Excerpt from Washington Press article titled “The New MCarthyism: Today’s Right-Wing Is Using An Old Playbook” – January 2023

Yes, we must brace ourselves for two years of adult-sized Congressional Republican temper tantrums or worse.

The Good News?

The ADULTS are still in the room.

“Whew. Hakeem Jeffries took the GOP to school from A to Z. Literally.” ~ Meidas Touch via Twitter

Since I know many Republicans are antagonistic towards the notion of taking the “GOP to school” or towards becoming smarter or bettering themselves….

…for the Republican kids in the back who missed the new Democratic House Leader’s schooling:

THIS is the America that is being fought for broken down into easy ABC language that even anti-education Republican politicians can understand.

And with that amazing speech from the brand new Democratic House Leader…

….the battle lines have now been drawn just like they were distinctly drawn during the American Civil War.

What each side is *supposed to be* fighting for and what each side is *supposed to be* fighting against in 2023 and beyond has now been made crystal clear…

…not just to Republicans, but to elected Democrats as well.

*I would like to note that the modern-day Democratic Party isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

Although in no way comparable to the modern day Republican Party…

…the Democratic Party isn’t totally free of greed and corruption….

…but in regard to the topic at hand…

…the modern day Democratic Party isn’t free of politicians who still believe there can be “bipartisanship” with the modern-day pro-insurrection, anti-democracy, anti-women, anti-immigrant, and anti-Black/POC Republican Party.

“In the 2022 elections, New York was one of only a couple of states in which Democrats woefully underperformed. A big part of the reason for that was a brutal redistricting map, imposed by a conservative coalition of Republicans and right-leaning Democrats on the Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York state).

The collapse of New York’s Democratic delegation not only gave us Rep. George Santos, but played a big role in costing Democrats control of the US House. Given that, you’d think newly reelected New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, as a good partisan Democrat, would be eager to reshape the courts to shore up Democratic fortunes going forward. Hochul, though, has not behaved that way.” ~ Aaron Rupar and Noah Berlatsky in a must read January 2023 column for the independent newsletter Public Notice which can be read in full here.

Thankfully New York state has Democratic elected officials who are not hell bent on enabling the anti-democracy Republican Party’s backwards, punitive, and ultra-conservative agenda:

It’s time for all sane, patriotic, and pro-democracy voters to recognize the Republicans in Democratic clothing.

*An important point to note is there was no such thing as “bipartisanship” during America’s biggest and most significant political crisis which was the American Civil War.

You were either for keeping the enslavement of human beings a part of America’s destiny or you were against it. Period. End of story.

That is not to say there weren’t the same enabling politicians, armchair pundits, and newspaper shills back in the day as there is today who tried to compromise or what is now called bipartisanship in dealing with the South to try to prevent it from seceding, aka to prevent the Southern traitors from tearing the nation apart.

But that side lost…

…the no compromise side won…

…and the no compromise side is the side which struck down slavery and won a war which hundreds of thousands of no compromise anti-slavery soldiers gave their lives for…

…and in doing so prevented the destruction of the UNION aka they prevented the destruction of the United States of America.

In other words…

…without the no compromise side digging in it’s heels and courageously fighting to the death against the declared enemies of the US for what was right, moral and just; fighting for the united states to stay united…

…none of us would be living in the United States of America today, in 2023…

…and God only knows if chattel slavery in some form would still be the law of the land today.

In too many ways to count, tough, no compromise President Lincoln and his tough, hard fighting, no compromise Union Army not only saved the United States of America…

….but in doing so, Lincoln and his Union Army also saved, reshaped, and remade the entire global community.

Although America was still extremely flawed in many ways, it was still much, much better than continuing to have millions of enslaved humans as the nation’s #1 commodity.

In fact, it can be convincingly argued that had Slavery been allowed to continue for long…

…America would likely have eventually become a Pariah in the global community…

…a nation globally shunned much like North Korea and other pariah states are today.

Pariah: a country or government that is not accepted by other countries, especially because it acts in a way that other countries consider to be wrong ~ Cambridge Dictionary

With Slavery finally abolished in America….

…it can very easily be argued that President Lincoln & his Union Army is why America eventually became a Super Power and the Leader of the Free World.

Speaking of 2023…

….we are seeing very similar dynamics which were happening during the American Civil War at play in this country today.

The problem is that in 2023, many modern day Democrats still have absolutely no idea who they are dealing with when it comes to the modern-day Republican Party.

Case in point:

The Washington Post – February 2021 – Most Republicans See Democrats Not As Political Opponents But As Enemies

“…we have new polling from CBS News, conducted by YouGov, which explores how members of each political party tend to think of members of the opposing party.

Most Democrats say that they tend to view Republicans as political opponents. Most Republicans say that they tend to view Democrats as enemies.” ~ The Washington Post – February 2021

Of course these sobering poll findings 100% align with the following article excerpts:

The Atlantic – October 2018 – The Cruelty Is The Point by Adam Serwer

“President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.”

“The Trump era is such a whirlwind of cruelty that it can be hard to keep track. This week alone, the news broke that the Trump administration was seeking to ethnically cleanse more than 193,000 American children of immigrants whose temporary protected status had been revoked by the administration, that the Department of Homeland Security had lied about creating a database of children that would make it possible to unite them with the families the Trump administration had arbitrarily destroyed, that the White House was considering a blanket ban on visas for Chinese students, and that it would deny visas to the same-sex partners of foreign officials.

At a rally in Mississippi, a crowd of Trump supporters cheered as the president mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who has said that Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump has nominated to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, attempted to rape her when she was a teenager. “Lock her up!” they shouted.”

“It is not just that the perpetrators of this cruelty enjoy it; it is that they enjoy it with one another. Their shared laughter at the suffering of others is an adhesive that binds them to one another, and to Trump.”

“Trump’s only true skill is the con; his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty.

It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright.

The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united.” ~ Excerpt from Adam Serwer’s must read October 2018 article for The Atlantic titled “The Cruelty Is the Point”

*Author Adam Serwer has expanded on his must read 2018 article by writing a must read NYT bestselling book titled “The Cruelty Is the Point: Why Trump’s America Endures” which you can find at this link.

Going back to most Republican voters seeing Democratic voters as enemies…..

…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one side seeing the other as mere political opponents…

…while the other side sees them as straight up enemies…

….and both sides represent two political parties who are responsible for the national security, stability, solvency and maintaining the democratic ideals of the country…

….and the side that is for the national security, stability, solvency and maintaining the democratic ideals of said country refuses to recognize the other side as an enemy to them who has repeatedly proven to be against those very ideals….

….is a recipe for disaster for this country.

More from: The Washington Post – February 2021 – Most Republicans See Democrats Not As Political Opponents But As Enemies

“The gap between the two parties on this question is stark. There’s a 32-point difference on net between how Democrats view Republicans and vice versa, on a question positing that members of a political party might be viewed with overt hostility. It’s grim — and it is consistent with increasingly hostile partisan views over time.” ~ The Washington Post – February 2021

“Most Republicans say that they tend to view Democrats as enemies.”

This extremely dangerous mindset is what likely led to the vicious attack on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi in October 2022:

“The suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, appears to have been an active online participant in multiple conspiracy theories, railing against perceived censorship and government control, and engaging in hate speech and antisemitism.

San Francisco police identified the suspect as 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, a Berkeley resident. DePape allegedly assaulted Paul Pelosi with a hammer early Friday during a home invasion of the couple’s Pacific Heights residence. A source briefed on the attack told CBS News that before the assault occurred, the intruder confronted Mr. Pelosi shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”

“In a Sept. 27 post, the writer (DePape) said any journalists who denied Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election “should be dragged straight out into the street and shot.” ~ CBS – Bay Area – October 2022

“Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”

This deranged Trump supporter who viciously attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer was in reality looking for then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi….

….which brings back to mind the words spoken in 2021 by current Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy:

CNN – August 2021 – “(Kevin) McCarthy says ‘it will be hard not to hit’ (Nancy) Pelosi with Gavel if he becomes House Speaker

Gee, I wonder what gave David Wayne DePape the idea to show up at then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and proceed to viciously hit her husband Paul on the head with a hammer after yelling “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”

These are the “enemies” the modern day Republican Party along with it’s mouthpieces at Fox News and elsewhere are creating in the American population.

*Important Note: If you are a registered Independent or claim to be an Independent voter yet you consistently vote for modern day Republicans….

….you’re a Republican who doesn’t want to admit to being a Republican.

Why?

Because your vote knowingly enables everything the modern day Republican Party does…

….so please own who you are.

Enemy: a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent ~ Collins Dictionary

The Washington Post – February 2021 – Most Republicans See Democrats Not As Political Opponents But As Enemies

THIS is how most Republicans see Democrats or people who are unlike them…

…and when you really think about it….

….it explains a LOT.

It explains why the Republicans didn’t want America to have affordable healthcare and why they were up until 2022 still trying to sabotage and destroy tens of millions of Americans having healthcare they couldn’t previously afford via the Affordable Care Act or what they have derisively renamed Obamacare.

HHS.Gov – April 2022 – New Reports Show Record 35 Million People Enrolled in Coverage Related to the Affordable Care Act, with Historic 21 Million People Enrolled in Medicaid Expansion Coverage

NBC News – October 2022 – Republicans Abandon Obamacare Repeal

“Republicans are abandoning their long crusade to repeal the Affordable Care Act, making the 2022 election the first in more than a decade that won’t be fought over whether to protect or undo President Barack Obama’s signature achievement.” ~ NBC News – Oct. 2022

**Also it’s not a mere coincidence that a majority of the remaining states that have refused the Medicaid Expansion part of Obamacare which would allow millions of poor people living in their states to have access healthcare were once Confederate States.

*Republicans seeing Democrats or anyone unlike them as enemies explains why Republicans seem to be totally fine with cops killing so many unarmed people, particularly unarmed Black and other people of color. 

The Guardian – January 2023 – ‘It never stops’: killings by US police reach record high in 2022. Law enforcement killed at least 1,176 people or about 100 people a month last year, making it the deadliest for police violence.

It’s 2023. Things should not still be this way in America.

*Republicans seeing everyone unlike them as enemies explains why Republicans want to keep the minimum wage so ridiculously low for low wage workers.

For example, this country’s federal minimum wage is at a measly $7.25 an hour and hasn’t been raised since 2009, in more than a decade.

Right now, no low wage worker working 40 hours a week who is earning any form of minimum wage can afford to live on anywhere in America right now, which apparently is just the way Republicans like it.

Republican supporting Corporations/Big Business paying ridiculously low wages, (in addition to paying ridiculously low taxes), is why simply having a decent roof over their heads is now a faraway fantasy for tens of millions of American workers.

CNBC – July 2021 – Full-time minimum wage workers can’t afford rent anywhere in the US, according to a new report

*And of course, the inability to afford housing is one of the main reasons why there is now an out of control Homeless epidemic in America.

National Alliance to End Homelessness – Employed and Experiencing Homelessness: What the Numbers Show – September 2022

“Have you ever heard the idea that people experiencing homelessness “don’t want to work” or they should “just get a job?”

The truth is that many do – in fact, a 2021 study from the University of Chicago estimates that 53% of people living in homeless shelters and 40% of unsheltered people were employed, either full or part-time, in the year that people were observed homeless between 2011 – 2018.”

“Life-sustaining wages are a key determinant of housing security; however, most people experiencing homelessness are not earning enough to afford rent.”

“The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach Report calculates that a household would need to earn an average salary of $46,967, or $23 per hour, to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent. This is much higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour – or in cities with a higher minimum wage. Even if people are working full time, they would not be able to afford housing earning minimum wage.” ~ EndHomelessness.org – September 2022

Siri, what is the American Dream?

And then there are the countless number of American employers who get away with not even paying minimum wage.

The following is a rare exception of an employer being held accountable for wage theft.

*The game is indeed rigged.

Economic Policy InstituteMay 2017 – Employers Steal Billions From Workers’ Paychecks Each Year

“Survey data show millions of workers are paid less than the minimum wage, at significant cost to taxpayers and state economies.”

“Minimum wage violations, by definition, affect the lowest-wage workers—those who can least afford to lose earnings. This form of wage theft causes many families to fall below the poverty line, and it increases workers’ reliance on public assistance, costing taxpayers money.” ~ Economic Policy Institute – May 2017

Basically rich or successful businesses breaking the law and stealing from their poor and struggling workers.

Keeping wages ridiculously low, getting away with stealing billions of dollars from their employees via wage theft every year, etc. are some of the many reasons why Corporate America so overwhelmingly supports the modern day Republican Party.

If anyone needs further proof that the modern day Republican Party has absolutely ZERO to do with Abraham Lincoln’s founding Republican Party…

….the following quote from President Lincoln during his address to Congress in 1861 pretty decisively confirms this truth:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights.” ~ President Abraham Lincoln, in his message to the U.S. Congress on December 3rd. 1861.
(Reprinted from Land and Freedom, September-0ctober 1937)

This part:

“Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.”

“Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Continuing….

*Republican hatred of Democrats and those unlike them explains why when the Biden-Harris administration’s Expanded Child Tax Credit proved to cut Child Poverty in the US nearly in HALF in 2021…

Naco.org – September 2022 – New Census Data Confirms That Expanded Child Tax Credit Cut Child Poverty By Nearly Half In 2021

….the Republicans along with ONE Democrat blocked and refused to reinstate it.

The New York Times – November 2022 – The Expanded Child Tax Credit Is Gone. The Battle Over It Remains.

“When the history of American hardship is written in some distant decade, two recent events may capture the whipsaw forces of the age.

Child poverty fell to a record low. And the program that did the most to reduce it vanished.

The story of that temporary program — technically, a tax-credit expansion but more plainly a series of monthly checks to most families with children — was extraordinary in every way. A guaranteed income in a country long resistant to one, the expanded child tax credit emerged from obscurity to win support from most of the Democratic Party, aided millions of low- and middle-income families during the pandemic and helped cut child poverty nearly in half.

Then it died, as President Biden’s efforts to preserve it drew unified Republican opposition and the defection of a crucial Senate Democrat.” ~ The New York Times – November 2022

Apparently keeping tens of millions of American children living in abject poverty is a proudly sinister and backwards virtue of being a modern day Republican.

Republicans seeing tens of millions of men, women, and children in this country as enemies is also why they are hell bent on controlling the way millions of people living at poverty levels eat. 

Who can forget when Trump was in the White House, he called for replacing monthly SNAP/Food Stamp benefits with a box of food chosen by the government sent every month to millions of poverty-level men, women and children called “America’s Harvest Box.”

“The plan would put the U.S. government directly in charge of what goes on the dinner plates of more than 16 million low-income households.”

“All food would be grown domestically and include “shelf-stable” items such as juice, pasta, canned meat and beans.” ~ From CNBC article titled “Trump Wants to Cut Back on Food Stamps for the Poor and Substitute With Packaged Food Deliveries”February 2018

Kind of like when slave masters decided what undesirable and subpar foods the enslaved could only eat.

One thing modern day Republicans have in common with their Confederate ancestors is through generations, their abject cruelty always remains on point.

The irony?

This ridiculous, paternalistic and patently cruel idea would have impacted many more of the Republicans main voting demo than it would have impacted the mostly Democratic voters they are targeting and have proclaimed to be their enemies.

Case in point:

Huffington Post – February 2015 – Who Gets Food Stamps? White People, Mostly

“Nationally, most of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are white. According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.” ~ The Huffington Post – February 2015

The extremely rotten and cruel “America’s Harvest Box” fiasco thankfully went down in flames once Biden became president….

….but fast forward to 2023 to evidence of the forever cruel modern day Republicans still persisting with their paternalistic attempts to dictate the eating habits of millions of poverty-level Americans.

The modern day Republican Party being so hostile against education, book reading, teaching accurate American history, etc. means it is also extremely hostile towards America’s teachers.

In fact Betsy DeVos, the totally unqualified multi-millionaire Rightwing heiress that Trump appointed to be the Secretary of Education during his disastrous one term- presidency, actually called for abolishing the very department she once headed.

The Washington Examiner – July 2022DeVos: Abolishing the Department of Education Should Be In GOP Platform

Abolishing the Department of Education has been a long time goal of the modern day, anti-education, anti-book reading, anti-knowledge Republican Party.

“On April 4, 2016, Fox host Sean Hannity asked Donald Trump if he would eliminate any federal departments if he were to become president. Trump responded by saying that the Department of Education “is massive and it can be largely eliminated.”

Actually, it is the smallest Cabinet-level department in terms of employees, but Republicans have opposed it ever since it began operations in 1980. It was created during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, who wanted the nation to pay more attention to education.

Trump picked an education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who has repeatedly expressed opposition to the existence of the department she heads.” ~ From Chicago Tribune article titled “Why Republicans Have Long Wanted to Shut Education Department” – June 2018

*Millions of Republican voters seeing tens of millions of Americans as enemies explains why just 3% of the population own half the guns in America.

Scientific American – March 2018 – Why Are White Men Stockpiling Guns?

“Since the 2008 election of President Obama, the number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. has tripled, while imports have doubled. This doesn’t mean more households have guns than ever before—that percentage has stayed fairly steady for decades. Rather, more guns are being stockpiled by a small number of individuals.”

“These are men who are anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market, and beset by racial fears. They tend to be less educated.” ~ Scientific American – March 2018

*If this insane amount of gun stockpiling happened after Barack Obama became president, I think “racial fears” can be listed as the #1 reason why.

“A 2013 paper by a team of United Kingdom researchers found that a one-point jump in the scale they used to measure racism increased the odds of owning a gun by 50 percent. A 2016 study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that racial resentment among whites fueled opposition to gun control. This drives political affiliations: A 2017 study in the Social Studies Quarterly found that gun owners had become 50 percent more likely to vote Republican since 1972—and that gun culture had become strongly associated with explicit racism.” ~ Scientific American – March 2018

It’s beyond obvious that Republicans value guns more than people, particularly if those people are a part of political parties, demos and groups they consider to be enemies.

The Washington Post – June 2018 – There are more Guns than people in the United States, according to a new study of global firearm ownership

*Republicans seeing most Americans as enemies also explains why innocent little kids being maimed and murdered with assault weapons while they are attending school seem to be A-OK with many of them as long as there are no restrictions put on guns, military style assault weapons in particular.

“According to research compiled by the independent K-12 School Shooting Database research group, there have been 189 shootings at schools around the US since Sandy Hook that have resulted in at least one fatality.”

“Seventeen were “active shooter situations” – defined as “when the shooter killed and/or wounded victims, either targeted or random, within the school campus during a continuous episode of violence”.

While those events count for a small portion of total shooting incidents, they account for more than a third of all casualties.

In total, 279 have died from being shot on a school property during, before or after school hours, including weekends.” ~ BBC News – December 2022

Think about it:

If Republicans are A-OK with tens of millions of American kids living in poverty every year…

….it’s not too big of a stretch for them to also not give a damn if a certain number of kids get gunned down in schools every year.

*Republicans seeing Democrats or anyone unlike them as enemies explains why innocent people shopping in stores, attending religious services, partying at nightclubs, etc. being gunned down by mass shooters seems to not upset or phase Republican politicians one iota, which is why all they have to offer is thoughts and prayers.

But the Republican majority leadership currently in Congress absolutely will not do that.

The Hill – November 2022 – US Passes 600 Mass Shootings For Third Straight Year

No, it absolutely does not have to be this way…

…but it’s extremely important to understand that the 21st Century Confederacy is the reason why it is this way.

Thankfully more and more smart people are pushing back against the modern day Republican Party’s extremely dangerous “Guns everywhere” madness:

I could go on and on.

When just these few out of many sad and tragic facts of American life are seriously considered…

…of course most Republicans see the rest of the country or those who are unlike them as enemies, or as people they hate, or as people they don’t give a damn about.

The Washington Post – September 2017 – Trump and Republicans Bolster Red States, Punish Blue States

“Since gaining control of Washington, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have pushed an array of policies that tend to punish states that voted Democratic in last year’s presidential election.” ~ The Washington Post – September 2017

To put it even more simply: Republicans/MAGA/The 21st Century Confederacy hate us…

…and isn’t it interesting how “us” also spells U.S.?

Just like their Southern Confederacy forefathers.

*Maybe I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that MAGA/Republicans/The 21st Century Confederacy believes every marginalized group should be eradicated…

…they just want us made as miserable, as irrelevant, as subservient, as unequal, and as inconsequential (aka non-important) as possible.

But then again, I’m an optimist. 

Vanity Fair – August 2022 – Report: Trump Wanted His Military Leaders to Pretend He Was Adolf Hitler

As was the case during the American Civil War….

…we are once again living at a time in American history where one side (modern day Democrats) absolutely must stop pretending that there is any semblance of compromise or what is popularly called bipartisanship to be had with self proclaimed enemies…

….aka with people who clearly hate the guts of Democrats and all others in America who are unlike them.

*Let me just say as a native Chicagoan, Donald Trump is no Al Capone. 

MAGA/The 21st Century Confederacy/The Modern Day Republican Party)…

….a minority yet powerful faction of the country which is very obviously hell bent on hurting, making miserable, or downright destroying all in this country who are unlike them…

….and intent on destroying the very foundation of Democracy in America.

“The most important threat to our country right now is an out-of-control, radicalizing, irresponsible, fascist Republican party, which has embraced insurrection and hate. Partisan opposition to that program is vital if the US is to expand its commitment to democracy, equality, and justice.”

When Democrats like Manchin or Hochul defy their coalition to ally with Republicans, they aren’t embracing comity and bridging divisions. They’re helping a rogue antidemocratic party advance an agenda designed to target the marginalized and shred America’s better values.

If opposing that is partisanship, then more partisanship is what we need.” ~ Aaron Rupar and Noah Berlatsky in a must read January 2023 column for the independent newsletter Public Notice which can be read in full here.

Again…

…if America is to soundly defeat the anti-democratic, anti-equality, anti-immigrant, anti-women, pro-racism, pro-gun, and pro insurrection modern day Republican Party…

…the modern day Democratic Party will have to firmly establish itself as pro-democracy in word as well as deed…

….and to do what was done by Lincoln’s founding Republican Party during the American Civil War…

…which is to shun any and all compromise on matters of core values, integrity, morals, and principles, or what today is called bipartisanship.

The pro-democracy voters who live in states, cities, towns, wards, precincts, etc. where elected Democrats are deliberately enabling the anti-democracy, pro-insurrection modern-day Republican Party…

…will simply have to choose better pro-democracy Democratic candidates in future elections if saving American Democracy and defeating the 21st Century Confederacy is a top priority. 

Rather than trying to compromise with self proclaimed enemies…

…be civil to the uncivilized…

…trust the words, actions or intentions of the proven dishonest, dishonorable, and immoral… 

….in my opinion, in dealing with the 21st Century Confederacy…

…pro-democracy Democrats need to lean more towards having the same righteous energy of Illinois’ own legendary lawman Wyatt Earp:

Whether it’s attempting to prevent the original Confederacy from tearing these United States of America apart…

…or it’s attempting to prevent the 21st Century Confederacy from destroying Democracy in the present day…

…whoever is fighting on the other side has to have this same energy for eventual success:

It All Ends Now! 

Democrats (in addition to women across America) need to show the RNC, (Republican National Committee) that it hasn’t seen “go on offense” yet when it comes to fighting against them taking away women’s rights in this country.

Like this Virginia Democratic Lawmaker putting the brakes on VA’s Republican Governor’s right wing and extremist agenda against women.

“And that’s where the extremist Republican agenda belongs — in the trash.” ~ National Pro Choice Women’s Rights Group Emily’s List’s response to the above tweet

Let the church say Amen.

Back to Wyatt 🙂

*Wyatt Earp and his brothers were born and raised in Monmouth, IL. 🙂

“The Earp Brothers were among the more famous characters in the Old West, due in large part to the participation of three of the brothers in the October 1881 Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.”

“Virgil Earp became the sheriff of Tombstone in October 1880. A year later, Virgil, along with brothers Wyatt and Morgan Earp, plus friend Doc Holliday, cemented their place in Western lore by battling the McLaurys and Clantons at the OK corral.” ~ Iron Brigader website

Of course my home state of Illinois birthed one of the most legendary lawmen of all time. 🙂

Wyatt Earp

Even as a child, Wyatt Earp was a badass. 🙂

“As a teenager, Wyatt’s brothers, James and Virgil, went to fight for the Union side in the Civil War. At the time, Wyatt was only thirteen-years-old, much too young to enlist. Repeatedly, Wyatt ran away from home to join them in the battle, and each time he was caught and returned home.” ~ Study.com

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

What America really needs in 2023 and beyond are elected officials with the character, integrity, morals, and the immense courage of President Abraham Lincoln…

…elected officials who absolutely will not compromise or side in any way with a party which has made itself crystal clear that it is an enemy of Democracy…

…or in the 21st Century, side with a party which isn’t inclusive of all Americans.

“Democratic societies emphasize the principle that all people are Equal.

Equality means that all individuals are valued equally, have equal opportunities, and may not be discriminated against because of their race, religion, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation. In a democracy, individuals and groups still maintain their right to have different cultures, personalities, languages and beliefs.” ~ Excerpt from Principles of Democracy from a must read K-12 Classroom paper listing the 13 principles of Democracy which is linked here.

This all brings me back to the very important topic regarding my home state’s highly significant role in the American Civil War.

“Of the various states which contributed to the total victory, none gave more willingly and more unsparingly than Illinois.

(Abraham) Lincoln, the towering figure of destiny , began his trial of national office when he stepped aboard the train at Springfield. (Ulysses S.) Grant, who was destined to lead the Federal armies to eventual victory, offered his first significant service to the cause from Galena. There were others, many others, including John A. Logan and John A. McClernand, and scores of generals and lesser officers who led troops from the cities, towns, and hamlets of the Prairie State in the cause of liberty.” ~ Excerpt from the fascinating book “Illinois in the Civil War.”

Chicago’s role in particular in instigating, provoking, and in the support and fighting of the American Civil War could be considered the victorious blueprint for no compromise….

….because that is the blueprint that in fact won.

In fact…

…in the same way the vast majority of Chicago does not pretend that there is anything good or redeemable about Trump and his insurrectionist Republican Party today…

…Chicago also didn’t pretend that there was anything good or redeemable about the pro-slavery, traitorous Confederate South back in the day.

The city of Chicago played an extremely critical role in the nation defining conflict where 11 Southern states tried to destroy the United States of America in a sinister attempt to maintain slavery.

And make no mistake….

….the primary reason those 11 Southern States went to war against America was indeed to keep enslaving human beings.

In 2015, Colonel Ty Seidule, a Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, decisively settled this generations long debate in approximately 5 minutes in the following video titled “Was the Civil War About Slavery?”

For people who need things to be stated more simply:

The aggressor in “The War of Northern Aggression” was the South.

The American Civil War or what many in serious denial have renamed “The War of Northern Aggression” was launched by the Southern states not the Northern states…

….and the war was launched by the Southern States because they wanted to continue enslaving millions of Black human beings, and they were willing to destroy the United States of America to continue doing so.

It’s really that simple.

The North was not the aggressor just because it fought back and in the process kicked the Southern Confederacy’s ass.

That’s not the way “aggression” works.

Aggression: an unprovoked offensive, attack, invasion, or the like. ~ Dictionary.com

Exactly.

The Southern states launched an unprovoked offensive, attack, invasion, etc. against the United States in an attempt to continue enslaving millions of human beings….

…and the Northern states simply responded in defense of the United States.

You don’t want to get your a$$ kicked? Then don’t start sh*t.

Don’t launch a war against America and just because your side lost, rename the war “The War of Northern Aggression” just because the side that defended this country against your attacks won.

“Was the Civil War about slavery? Yes, of course. The rebels cited “slave” and “slavery” a whopping 80 separate times in their own declarations of secession, and openly admitted “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.” All those documents are free online; anyone can read them, and learn the truth.” ~ A comment left on the above video

Why are so many Americans to this very day still in denial about the American Civil War being solely about Slavery…

…while painting the Southern Confederate traitors that seceded from and declared war on the United States of America as the heroes of the war?

The following brief video gives just one example of how American history was totally re-written with bald-faced lies by a Pro-Confederacy group of 100,000 mostly Southern women, although the group’s members stretched across the entire U.S.

They called themselves “The Daughters of the Confederacy” or the UDC for short.

“Just when you didn’t think American history could be more messed up, here comes the original Karen squad.” ~ A comment from the above video

The UDC’s job was to try it’s best to make sure the following quote by Ulysses S. Grant never happened…

….even if the UDC had to lie through it’s teeth to do it.

“As time passes, people, even (people) of the South, will begin to wonder how it was possible that their ancestors ever fought for or justified institutions which acknowledged the right of property in man.” ~ Ulysses S. Grant

There are even some who ridiculously claim that Slavery was a choice…

…and for decades there have been actual school textbooks which have taught countless thousands of American children the blatant lie about there being such a thing as “happy slaves.”

Many American history text books also falsely taught or still teach that the American Civil War was about states rights when the Southern states declarations of secession very clearly stated that attempting to maintain slavery was the primary motivation for launching a war to secede from the U.S.

The state of Mississippi’s declaration put into concise and succinct words the primary cause for why every state in the Confederacy was choosing to “dissolve their political connection with the Government of the United States of America” as the state of Georgia put it in their Declaration of Cause for Seceding.

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.” ~ From “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.”

*Following is a link to a must read 2019 article written on this topic:

Vox Media – August 2019 – How History Textbooks Reflect America’s Refusal to Reckon With Slavery

*A truly must read book on this important topic is “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” by James W. Loewen.

Originally written in 2007, for the latest edition Loewen has added a new preface that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems, and calls out academic historians for abandoning the concept of truth in a misguided effort to be “objective.”

You can pick up a copy of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” at Book Lender which is linked here.

Also…

Much of what is treated as “normal” in this country really isn’t.

I highly recommend reading the must read book by Dr. Gabor Maté titled “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture” which is linked here.

And so the nostalgia for, hankering for, and honoring of the Old Confederate South continues to live on in 2023:

News Flash, Slavery wasn’t that long ago.

Receipts:

NPR – June 2021 – Slavery Wasn’t ‘Long Ago’: A Writer Exposes The Disconnect In How We Tell History

Hazlitt – March 2022 – ‘The Idea That Slavery Was a Long Time Ago is Profoundly Untrue’: An Interview with Clint Smith

*A must read book on this extremely important topic is “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith which is linked here.

Ancestor: a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended. ~ Google Dictionary

So many in this country want Black Americans to “just get over” their descendants and ancestors aka the family members they are descended from…

…the relatives that many know via stories passed down through generations within their families…

…being enslaved and all of the brutal horrors that went along with being enslaved.

Ever hear of Generational Trauma?

“By definition, generational trauma refers to traumatic experiences that happened to your relatives who have come before you. This trauma can be stored in the body and, when unresolved, passed down again and again.” ~ Physician and renowned speaker Gabor Maté, M.D., bestselling author of “The Myth of Normal” via an article from the website MindBodyGreen

Here is a must read article on this important topic:

YES Magazine – February 2022 – Healing Generational Trauma

For Black and Indigenous communities, it takes more than therapy and medicine to tackle Generational Trauma. We need a holistic approach.

*Also a book I highly recommend on this very important topic is “The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives” by Aileen Alleyne which is linked here.

The unfortunate reality is it’s simply impossible for many African American descendants to “just get over” the countless millions of their ancestors being enslaved, lynched, and all of the other brutal and unspeakable horrors that went along with first Slavery and then Jim Crow.

Case in Point:

CNN: Great-granddaughter of lynching victim becomes First Black Woman Justice on Michigan Supreme Court – (2022)

It’s interesting how so many of the same people telling African Americans to “just get over” slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, etc….

…while so many of them remember their own distant family members and the part their own ancestors played in that sinister history so fondly in the present day…

…some even joking about it.

In fact, so many powerful people for generations up until the present day fought so hard against making lynching a federal crime…

….that anti-lynching legislation only just passed last year, in 2022, after more than a century of countless failed efforts to try to pass it.

DPIC – March 2022 – More Than a Century After it Was First Proposed, President Biden Signs Historic Law Making Lynching a Federal Crime

Note: One of the most notable campaigns to outlaw lynching over the past century was headed by the legendary First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Image: Martin Luther King, Jr., is honored at Roosevelt Day Dinner sponsored by the Americans for Democratic Action at New York’s Hotel Astor. Presenting the 1961 Distinguished Award is Herbert H. Lehman, left; with them are Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Robert Schwartz, New York State Chairman of ADA.

“I am greatly interested in the Deerfield situation, because the problems of integration — in schools, in churches and in job opportunities — will not be resolved until all people can live anywhere in this wonderful land of ours.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt to MLK

Fascinating Fact: Throughout her trailblazing life, Eleanor Roosevelt’s vast legacy includes:

100,000 Letters, 8,000 Columns, 27 Books and 1,000 Speeches.

*Source: Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project – Columbian College of Arts & Science

*Eleanor Roosevelt, pictured here in 1933, helped create the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later became the first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Bill of Rights Institute: Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

You can learn more about former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s fierce and stanch advocacy against lynching and in support of civil rights and equal rights at the following links:

The Blog of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and MuseumEleanor Roosevelt’s Battle to End Lynching

American Heritage – David Michaelis – Eleanor Fights Lynching

Simmons College Library and Information SciencesEleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World: Civil Rights

Back to Chicago and the Civil War…

One city that will never have to ponder Ulysses S. Grant’s question:

“…how it was possible that their ancestors ever fought for or justified institutions which acknowledged the right of property in man” is Chicago.

Which brings me back to Chicago’s major role in first instigating and inciting…

….and then in fighting and ultimately helping the Union to win the American Civil War.

“Illinois, through the accident of geography, lay with it’s southern tip pointed like a sword at the heart of the new-formed Confederacy.” ~ Author E. B. Long in his foreword in the fascinating book by Victor Hicken titled “Illinois and the Civil War.

Personally, I don’t think that happened by accident.

I think it was more like Divine Intervention. 🙂

“A major contribution of Illinois was in leadership, and it is a truly impressive list: President Abraham Lincoln, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, General Ulysses S. Grant, and on down the list of the great and near great in uniform and out.” ~ Author E. B. Long in his foreword in the fascinating book by Victor Hicken titled “Illinois and the Civil War.

I believe that Illinois with Chicago as it’s Captain was destined to first strategize and target, and then LEAD the efforts against the Southern Confederacy.

“The Civil War helped make Chicago, and Chicago helped save the Union.” ~ From the must read book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History”

The following excerpts from the fascinating book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History” helps me to further make my case about Chicago’s outsized role in the lead up to the American Civil War.

The following book excerpts and my added commentary, (my commentary will always begin with a *) explains how Chicago was center stage in the debate that led up to the war. 

“As a stronghold of abolitionist sentiment and the springboard of Lincoln’s presidency, Chicago was blamed in many circles for bringing on the (Civil) war.” ~ Jeff Lyon – Chicago Tribune

And I will also make the case for how Chicago was center stage in the civil war itself…

…playing a specific and strategic role in helping the Union Army to defeat the Confederacy, and in doing so…

….how the city of Chicago played an outsized role in helping to save America.

Excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History:”

“Chicagoans played a critical role in the awful sectional contest, (the American Civil War) and the four years of war were formative in the growth of the metropolis. The Civil War solidified Chicago’s standing as the capital of the emerging Upper Great Lakes region in the Midwest. As a transportation hub, it provided a critical link between East and West, North and South. Poised on Great Lakes shipping routes and access to New York via the Erie Canal, connected by waterways to the Mississippi River valley via the Illinois and Michigan Canal and by train links to all parts of the country, Chicago was able to harvest the region’s agricultural bounty and turn its natural resources into steel, lumber, and other manufactured products to supply Northern armies.”

“The Civil War shaped Chicago, but Chicagoans also fundamentally shaped war.”

End of book excerpts

*How exactly did Chicago “fundamentally shape the war?”

Well it all began with a nation-wide famous Chicago politician affectionately known as “The Little Giant.”

Senator Stephen A. Douglas

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Chicago was the political base of Stephen Douglas, one of the nation’s most important and powerful politicians of the pre–Civil War era.”

“When Douglas moved to Chicago in 1847, he had already served as a state’s attorney, judge, and congressman. That year he was chosen for the U.S. Senate, where he quickly became the most prominent spokesman for the nation’s aggressive “Young America” movement. Young America was idealistic, energetic, and most of all expansionistic. Through direct democracy and vigorous nationalism, Douglas promised white Americans a future of free homesteads spread over the open prairie and industrial cities linked by expanding lines of steel rails. Douglas accelerated Chicago’s rise by making it the terminus for the Illinois Central Railroad— the nation’s first land grant railroad—and he plotted to anchor the long- dreamed-of Pacific railroad there as well.

Unfortunately, Douglas and Young America carried a heavy burden on their march to political power—slavery.

For Douglas and his young Democrats to achieve their ambition, they needed a political party united, north, south, east, and west.

Unfortunately, throughout the 1850s the issue of slavery increasingly divided the nation along sectional lines.”

End of book excerpts

*The problem for Stephen Douglas came when he mistakenly thought he had found the perfect solution to “the slavery problem”…

…a solution which reeked of compromise with the South, or reeked of what would today be called bipartisanship.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“The five-foot-four-inch senator from Chicago (Douglas) became the “Little Giant” of American politics in 1850 when he forestalled the threat of Southern secession over the question of slavery’s expansion into the territories conquered during the Mexican-American War. Where the giants of the Senate—Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun—had failed to craft a plan that could save the Union, Douglas engineered the famed “Compromise of 1850.”

In an attempt to defuse tension, Douglas applied the pragmatic Young America principle of “popular sovereignty”—let the people of those territories vote yes or no on whether slavery would be allowed in these new possessions. He mistakenly thought that popular sovereignty would solve this issue of slavery as a divisive force in American life.

On that faulty assumption, Douglas decided in 1854 to realize his dream to make Chicago the beginning point of a transcontinental railroad to the California gold fields. To win Southern support, Douglas pushed for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would allow the principle of popular sovereignty in states formed in the unorganized federal lands north and west of Missouri. It seemed a simple solution to Douglas, who viewed democracy in overly optimistic terms and did not see slavery as a moral issue.

However, the Kansas-Nebraska Act tore up the revered “Compromise of 1820,” which forbade any slave state north of the southern boundary of Missouri. The act was immediately unpopular across the North. Ordinary white people saw it as a threat to the opportunity of free men to profit from the development of the nation’s western territories. Thousands of voters in the North abandoned the Democratic Party and, together with members of the failed Whig and American Parties, founded what became the Republican Party. Douglas’s blunder likely cost him the 1856 Democratic presidential nomination.”

End of book excerpts.

*Stephen Douglas not seeing slavery as “a moral issue” would most definitely cost the extremely ambitious Chicago politician his presidential dreams…

…but more importantly, Stephen Douglas’ attempts at compromise with the slave holding South, or his attempts at what is today called “bipartisanship”…

….woke up a sleeping giant previously unknown to the masses who rightly saw slavery as the nation’s most pressing moral issue.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“It was against this backdrop that a frustrated politician and successful lawyer chose to challenge Douglas’s reelection to the Senate in 1858.

Abraham Lincoln had largely focused on his legal career after an undistinguished term in Congress from 1846 to 1848. He was spurred back into the fray by Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act, which he saw as an open invitation for slavery to expand across the vast expanse of America’s trans-Mississippi territories.

That impression was further strengthened by the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott Decision of 1857, which seemed to overthrow popular sovereignty and opened Chicago’s Great Plains hinterland to slaveholders. Up to this time Douglas was the champion of Chicago’s westward ambitions, but the rise of the slavery issue threatened those credentials.

Lincoln launched his challenge against the “Little Giant” in stunning fashion with his famous “House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois, in June 1858. That provocative address foretold a great conflict between slavery and freedom for the future of not just the West but the nation and alleged that Douglas was a knowing ally of the Slave Power.

By making the Illinois Senate race a contest about the future of slavery in America, Lincoln ensured that he would garner a national audience. The renowned Lincoln-Douglas Debates elevated Lincoln from a local to a national figure among Republicans.

The genesis of those debates was a political encounter between the two candidates in Chicago on July 9, 1858.

On that occasion Stephen Douglas addressed a crowd of supporters from the balcony of the Tremont House Hotel. Lincoln was seated near the senator and offered an implicit challenge to the combative Douglas. The “Little Giant” directly attacked Lincoln’s “House Divided” rhetoric as leading the country toward a dangerous and violent conflict. Douglas claimed to be the voice of moderation and reason and the better candidate to promote sectional reconciliation and democratic procedures. Lincoln responded by inviting the audience to return the next night for his reply to Douglas.

On July 10, before another large crowd (in Chicago), Lincoln defended his contention that slavery was a moral evil that was dividing America and that the institution’s geographic spread had to be immediately halted, as the first step toward its elimination. In the wake of this exchange, the Chicago Tribune suggested, and the two candidates agreed to participate in, a series of seven debates in various congressional districts across the state.

These famous debates, however, largely recapitulated the exchange that had initially (first) taken place in Chicago.”

End of book excerpts

*The world changing Lincoln-Douglas Debates which were initiated in and instigated by Chicago and which continued throughout my home state of Illinois at the request of the Chicago Tribune newspaper could be seen as the birth of multiple nation defining catalysts in America…

….including Abraham Lincoln’s political ascendency, the newly formed Republican Party, and the American Civil War.

“From August 21 to October 15, 1858, Lincoln and Douglas traveled to seven cities across Illinois to engage in public debates. Unlike our modern political debates where candidates go back and forth roughly every few minutes, the format for the debates between Honest Abe and the Little Giant featured one candidate talking for an hour followed by the other candidate speaking for an hour and a half before the first candidate was given thirty minutes for a rebuttal. Lincoln and Douglas alternated which candidate went first and which candidate responded, although, as the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four out of the seven debates. Citizens across the Midwest traveled in droves to see Lincoln and Douglas speak, and those who missed the debates would read their transcripts in Democratic and Republican newspapers the following day.” ~ Lincoln-Douglas Debates – Battlefields.org

*This part:

“…the debates between Honest Abe and the Little Giant featured one candidate talking for an hour followed by the other candidate speaking for an hour and a half before the first candidate was given thirty minutes for a rebuttal.”

These two brilliant and eloquent Chicago-affiliated lawyers basically put Slavery on Trial for America.

First Chicago audiences followed by audiences in cities and towns across the state of Illinois along with the thousands who read the transcripts from the debates in newspapers across the nation the next day were the Jury…

….Abraham Lincoln was the Prosecuting Attorney for the Abolishing of Slavery…

…and Stephen Douglas was the Defense Attorney offering what he believed to be a reasonable Compromise in the interests of the Southern slave states which inevitably would allow them to keep enslaving human beings.

It was the city of Chicago which first instigated and initiated this National Trial which debated the solvency of Slavery that totally spellbound and riveted the entire nation.

“The Lincoln-Douglas Debates were one of the most significant events in American political history. It led to high tensions between the North and the South and it ended up being one of the main causes of the civil war.” ~ Bartleby Research

*A Commemorative Postage Stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service for the 100th Year Anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“In the end, Douglas retained his Senate seat (although Lincoln won a larger share of the votes by citizens in the 1858 polling), because senators were chosen by the Illinois General Assembly, where the Democrats held a narrow majority. The “Little Giant” was returned to Washington. Despite a rain-soaked election day in Chicago that depressed voter turnout, Lincoln bested Douglas there. With strong help from the rural portions of the county, Republican candidates won by more than a 1,500-vote margin in the northern Illinois district that included Chicago.

This revealed to the recently formed Republicans that they had emerged as a major force in Chicago politics, where they also retained the mayor’s office.

The Republican Party had successfully shed the image of its Know-Nothing predecessor as being anti-immigrant and established a clear principle of opposing slavery’s expansion. The great attention that the nation devoted to the race rebounded to the benefit of each of the candidates.

Stephen Douglas was able to reclaim his position as the chief spokesman of the Democrats across the North. Lincoln won praise as an able articulator of Republican principles. The Senate race, therefore, went far to setting each man on the road to the White House.”

End of book excerpts

*So the stage was now set.

Two Illinois men…

….two Chicago affiliated men…

….one a Chicago resident and an extremely powerful nationally known and respected politician (Douglas)…

…and one a lesser known resident of Springfield, IL who also worked regularly in Chicago as a lawyer, and was heavily boosted by Chicago Republicans, (Lincoln).

These two Chicago promoted and affiliated men would help to decide the fate of the entire nation…

…the fate of an entire people when it came to the millions of enslaved human beings in regard to whether slavery would be abolished….

…or if this beyond sinister and patently evil SIN would remain enshrined in the fabric of America.

All of this is how it can be convincingly argued that the city of Chicago was the initial catalyst for, and played center stage in the lead up to the American Civil War.

And if that wasn’t enough…

…Chicago also went the extra mile in ensuring that Abraham Lincoln came out on top as the first Republican Party nominee for president.

Chicago has hosted more national political conventions than any other city in the nation, (11 Democratic and 14 Republican), including what has been called the most important convention in U.S. history, the convention where Abraham Lincoln won the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1860.

As is typical with Chicago, there is a very colorful and audacious story as to how the Windy City went all out to secure the Republican presidential nomination for Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln won the nomination with crucial “help” from the editor and owner of the Chicago Tribune newspaper Joseph Medill…

…and the Mayor of Chicago at that time, John Wentworth, in addition to many other key Chicagoans.

American Heritage Magazine described it this way:

“In the crowded months between the beginning of the 1860 presidential campaign and the attack on Fort Sumter, it is easy now to see the emergence of Abraham Lincoln as something preordained, as though the issues had manufactured a figure commensurate with their importance.

Or at the least, one might imagine a dramatic, hard-fought campaign with Northern and Southern states rallying around their respective candidates. But that’s not quite how it happened.

There is drama enough in the 1860 campaign, but most of it does not spring from the election itself. The moment Lincoln was nominated, the issue was settled: He would become the President; he would be faced with the dissolution of the federal Union.

The crucial steps on Lincoln’s road to the White House came earlier, during the most important party convention in our history a convention that seemed, at the time, certain to nominate William Henry Seward as Republican party candidate for President of the United States.” ~ American Heritage Magazine (1988)

So how did New York’s Senator William Henry Seward go from being an almost certainty to capture the Republican nomination for president in 1860…

…to longshot Abraham Lincoln securing the presidential nomination instead in a surprising upset victory?

That question requires just a one word answer: Chicago

“Lincoln had already demonstrated one quality vital to a presidential candidate: he was lucky. Chicago had been chosen as a compromise site before Lincoln was considered a serious candidate. If he had been seen as a contender, the city would have been unacceptable to (Senator William) Seward’s people; and if any other place had been chosen, it is unlikely Lincoln’s Illinois team could have swung the nomination.” ~ American Heritage Magazine (1988)

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Thanks to the labors of his friend (Chicagoan) Norman B. Judd, the head of the Illinois Republican Party, Lincoln had the good fortune that the Republicans held their 1860 national convention in Chicago. The city edged out St. Louis for the honor in part because of its forty-two hotels and in part because Illinois was a critical swing state.

Lincoln’s supporters in the city, with a conscious eye on influencing the delegates, built one of the largest public halls in the country so they could pack it to the rafters with vocal Lincoln supporters. The Wigwam, as it was known, was capable of holding 1,200 people. Highly touted candidates for the nomination, William Seward of New York and Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, sent hundreds of streetwise supporters to the Chicago convention in anticipation that strong vocal support from the galleries might stampede the delegates to support the “dark-horse” candidate from Illinois.

The Chicagoans, however, outmaneuvered them by printing duplicate tickets and by other means to get the Lincoln supporters seated while their opponents were left outside, mumbling invectives in the muddy street.

More important, Lincoln’s (Chicago) lieutenants worked cleverly to secure second ballot commitments from supporters of Ohio’s Salmon P. Chase and Missouri’s Edward Bates, should their candidates falter. Therefore, when on the day of the voting William Seward narrowly missed securing a first-ballot nomination, Lincoln was able to build “irrepressible” momentum in the convention hall. By the third ballot, Lincoln had won enough votes to upset his better-known rival and secure the presidential nomination, and the Wigwam erupted into celebrations that quickly spread across the city (Chicago.)”

End of book excerpts

*So the city of Chicago engaged in some clever hijinks to ensure that Abraham Lincoln secured the nomination for president for the newly founded Republican Party.

“Sen William Seward of New York was the heavy favorite, (for the Republican nomination). But Lincoln had Chicago’s political muscle – and it’s finest mischief makers behind him. Including (Chicago Tribune editor) Medill, of course. And they made no little plans.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

“What Seward and his followers didn’t know was they were about to be present at a historic event. They were about to witness the birth of Chicago’s reputation for hardball politics.” ~ WBEZ Chicago

Definition of the term Hardball: forceful uncompromising methods employed to gain an end.” ~ Merriam Webster Dictionary

Emphasis on the word “uncompromising.”

Going back to the Lincoln-Douglas presidential showdown….

…along with Chicagoan Stephen Douglas having secured the presidential nomination for the (at that time) pro-slavery Democratic Party…

…the stage was set even further with the city of Chicago sending not just Abraham Lincoln, but two of it’s favorite sons to battle it out for the nation’s presidency…

…and in doing so deciding if slavery would be abolished or if it would live on in America for the foreseeable future.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Chicago reveled in the major party nomination of two “favorite sons” to the White House. Unfortunately for Stephen Douglas, his prospects were dimmed by the presence of two other candidates in the race: John C. Breckenridge, the sitting vice president, was the candidate of the splinter Southern Democrats; and former senator John Bell was nominated by the hastily formed Constitutional-Union Party. Both of these candidates cut into Douglas’s natural conservative electoral base.

Faced with this unprecedented challenge, Douglas responded in a manner that was typically energetic but otherwise unprecedented. Dating back to the example set by George Washington, no presidential candidate before 1860 actually campaigned for office. Candidates left the majority of the speechmaking and handshaking to be done by their supporters. For that reason neither Stephen Douglas nor Abraham Lincoln had even been present at the national conventions at which they were nominated.

After the convention Lincoln respected the tradition of not campaigning for votes. Douglas did not have this luxury. His party was divided by Southern radicals who threatened secession if the Republicans prevailed. Stephen Douglas waged a heroic campaign of personal appearances warning both North and South of the dangers of civil war. From New England to the shores of the Great Lakes, from old Virginia to Mobile Bay, Douglas addressed crowds large and small warning of radicalism and disunion.

Unfortunately, Douglas used large doses of anti-black racism to try to build a bridge between white working men, particularly the poor immigrant Irish, and Southern planters; one legacy of his campaign was a Democratic Party that was virulently racist. By the fall of 1860, however, despite his exertions, the Little Giant’s cause was clearly doomed. His voice, overly strained from repeated orations, was a mere croak, his once-confident stride reduced to a limp after an accident on the campaign trail, Douglas ended his efforts on election day looking, as friend recalled, “more hopeless that I had ever before seen him.”

End of book excerpts

*Even though Stephen Douglas continued to maintain popularity in Chicago largely because of the many major accomplishments Douglas had secured for the city…

…and also because Chicago just loves a larger than life character and a smart and fierce fighter like Douglas undoubtedly was….

…a slim majority of Chicago was solidly behind Abraham Lincoln, the Illinois man which the city had actively and deliberately boosted into the Republican nomination for president.

But with Lincoln having won the presidency, the talk of a civil war quickly went from threats to reality:

“On November 6, 1860, Lincoln defeated his opponents with only 40 percent of the popular vote, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. The announcement of Lincoln’s victory signaled the secession of the Southern states, which since the beginning of the year had been publicly threatening secession if the Republicans gained the White House.” ~ History.com

And make no mistake…

….without Chicago’s hijinks and it maneuvering an upset victory for Lincoln during the Republican’s 1860 nominating convention…

…there would have likely been no civil war, because the candidate who it was initially thought to be the widely popular favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, New York Senator William Seward reportedly had an extremely convoluted and very unwise idea on how he would handle it as president if the Southern states seceded:

“Lincoln proved to be a better leader than Seward. For example, when the South seceded, Seward proposed that Lincoln evoke the Monroe Doctrine to justify a declaration of war on France and Spain–which he believed would cause the South to come to the North’s aid and re-join the Union. Lincoln ignored this foolishness. “The President is the best of us!” Seward would admit later.” ~ Great American History.net article titled “Lincoln Outfoxed Seward for the Nomination”

Had Seward won the Republican presidential nomination and then the presidency….

…and then upon the South seceding, proceeded to go to war with France and Spain…

…I’m sure France and Spain would have been like:

In my opinion, just one of many reasons why America, (in addition to France and Spain) should still be saying:

“Thanks Chicago!” 🙂

And actually it wasn’t Abraham Lincoln who “outfoxed” Seward for the Republican nomination for president in 1860.

As noted earlier, Lincoln wasn’t even at the Republican convention in Chicago which would eventually nominate him in an upset victory.

In reality, it was a lot of smart Chicagoans who did the outfoxing. 🙂

“The paper credited Lincoln’s nomination to his “shrewd and determined (Chicago) friends, masters of all political arts. They were a little unscrupulous in some of their methods, or at least they seemed so to the friends of Senator Seward. Yes, maybe a little unscrupulous.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

Outfoxed indeed, and maybe it *seemed* a tad bit unscrupulous to the losers…

…but I believe Chicago was guided by the arch of history, the cause of freedom, and keeping America intact as the saved UNION aka the still United States of America will eternally prove.

“The Tribune peered back and wondered “what if?” Had the delegates known the fiery ordeal that awaited the 16th President as he struggled to save the Union, Lincoln might not have been chosen, the paper said. “And yet as the event proved, he was of all men the one who should have been chosen.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

Going back to that fateful day of the nomination of Lincoln, I guess it should come as no surprise considering their creative determination for him to succeed, that no group of people was more joyful and proud that Lincoln had secured the Republican nomination for President than the city of Chicago was.

Abraham Lincoln’s shock nomination for President was a very, very proud day in the history of the city of Chicago.

In fact, it was quite momentous.

“A cannon boomed from the roof of the Wigwam signaling the choice of Lincoln – and Chicago celebrated! “Stout men wept like children” the Tribune reported.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

“In 1910, a Tribune editorial called the day of Abraham Lincoln’s nomination the most illustrious in the city’s history. It still is.” ~ Chicago Tribune in 2009 Editorial

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Chicago exploded in celebrations when news was flashed that Lincoln was elected. Douglas’s personal popularity and his long record of accomplishments for the city were not enough to prevent a slim majority of voters in his hometown from supporting Lincoln. The returns showed Lincoln with 10,697 and Douglas with 8,094 votes.

Shortly after the bonfires and fireworks debris were cleared from the streets, Lincoln made what would turn out to be his last visit to Chicago. He touched base with some of the Chicago Republicans who had played a role in making his nomination possible, including the influential newspaper publishers Charles Wilson of the Chicago Daily Journal and Joseph Medill of the Chicago Tribune.”

End of book excerpts

*Proving that no one is perfect and his own prejudices, particularly on the issue of race, when Abraham Lincoln visited Chicago for the last time before he assumed the presidency, he made a pivotal yet unfortunate decision.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Unknown to the public, the president-elect (Lincoln) used his trip to Chicago to meet secretly with several confidants from the South. In addition to hoping he might be able to place a Southerner in a prominent role in his administration, he was interested in gauging the attitude of the Southern people. Within days of his election, the Southern states of South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi had called for conventions to decide the question of secession from the Union. Determined not to give the secessionists any provocation, Lincoln eventually took an action that had a profound effect on Chicago’s African American population.

In April 1861, less than a week after his inauguration, he ordered federal marshals to strictly enforce the controversial Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Although warning of the marshals’ sweep of Chicago’s runaway slave community was leaked in advance, a panicked flight was nonetheless set off.”

“Now with the country teetering on the edge of civil war, abolitionists and black leaders in the city were forced to organize an exodus from Chicago. They chartered a special train, and more than 100 refugees out of an estimated black population of 955 were loaded onto boxcars for Canada.

On the very eve of the Civil War, the peculiar institution of the South (slavery) still had the power to reach into Chicago and uproot lives on the shores of Lake Michigan.”

End of book excerpts

*Needless to say, Lincoln’s less than honorable last minute decision to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 in Chicago in a last ditch attempt to prevent the South from seceding from America didn’t work.

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“The painful African American flight from Chicago did little to impress secessionists, who by that time had united the Deep South into the so-called Confederate States of America and had selected Jefferson Davis as their president. The secession crisis, coming on the heels of the divisive presidential election of 1860, found the North divided and unsure how to respond. Those uncertainties dissipated, however, when the secessionists attacked the U.S. troops at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.”

End of book excerpts

*Any uncertainties the North had about what to do most definitely dissipated once the South launched it’s attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

In Chicago in particular, it was ON.

“For the people of Chicago, the year 1861 would be an especially momentous one, The State was inflamed with war fever because the seven Southern states which withdrew from the Union and set up a separate, hostile government had now fired on the United States flag. By force, they took Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina, harbor.

The South’s response to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to quell the insurrection was the defection of four more Southern states.

“But one sentiment prevails, and that is for war on traitors,” declared The Chicago Tribune. United States flags flew from homes and shops all over the city. Country boys rushing to the city eager with thoughts of punishing the “traitors” by joining the army found highways and trains thronged with others like themselves.

Outside the State Street Armory, headquarters for the Ellsworth Zouaves, a crowd was so dense potential enlistees could not get to the door. The first recruiting station opened on April 18 at the corner of Clark and Randolph Streets to raise enough men for a company, and in two days the quota was filled.”

“It was not long before Chicago recruiting stations bore placards with rejection notices:

“No more men wanted.”

Some would not be denied and left the state to enlist in outfits being raised in Kentucky or Missouri.

In fact, the entire 9th Missouri was recruited from Illinois men.” ~ Dennis Kelly – NPS History websiteAugust 1989

Reportedly there were even “a surprising number of women” in Illinois who hid their gender to pass as male soldiers to enlist in the Union Army to fight:

“Mary Livermore, whose work with the U.S. Sanitary Commission in Chicago brought her into contact with Illinois soldiers, claimed that a surprising number of women passed as soldiers during the war. Miss Livermore later claimed that she personally discovered such a case in the 19th Illinois, one of the toughest and best disciplined Chicago regiments. In another instance, Albert D.J. Cashier, who served in the 95th Illinois and who participated in the battles of Brice’s Crossroads, Spring Hill, and Franklin, was found to be a woman – but only on her deathbed, long after the war had ended. Cashier was revealed to have been a Miss Jennie Hodgers, a girl who had emigrated from Ireland prior to the conflict.” ~ Excerpt from the fascinating book “Illinois in the Civil War.”

*Needless to say, Chicago was HOT and LIVID at the South for declaring war on America…

….and I don’t think there’s any city in America more ready to throw down and fight in general.

Needless to say, Chicago was READY….

…and many in the Windy City as well as in Illinois did whatever was necessary to defeat the Southern Confederacy:

“Virtually every one of the new regiments, despite their proximity to combat, faced an early shortage in the supply of adequate firearms. The original supply of guns located in Illinois armories, which included a few old muskets, rifles, and musketoons, was insufficient in quality as well as quantity.

The situation was somewhat relieved in late spring, when Chicago merchants cleared their shelves of firearms, and Captain James Stokes of Chicago rescued 10,000 weapons in a daring night raid on the St. Louis Arsenal. The latter equipment was at one time in actual danger of seizure by pro-Confederate mobs which roamed the streets of that city.” ~ Excerpt from the fascinating book “Illinois in the Civil War.”

*The threat of pro-Confederate mobs seizing those 10,000 weapons in St. Louis was a very real one considering that although it never seceded from the Union, “…the Confederacy recognized Missouri as its twelfth state.”

Back to Captain James Stokes of Chicago.

Leave it to a clever, brave, and badass Chicagoan to stage a daring raid to *remove* those 10,000 weapons and keep them out of the hands of the pro-Confederate mobs said to roam the streets of St. Louis at that time. 🙂

It’s been said that Captain James Stokes’ daring, wily, and courageous raid “….crippled the secessionist cause in Missouri and helped to arm Union troops.”

Here’s some of the back story:

“Secessionists in St. Louis, which is located just down the Mississippi River from Alton, (Illinois) stood poised to seize that city’s federal arsenal. These secessionists relished the irony of Union troops being slain by firearms that had originally been intended for their own use.

Captain Nathaniel Lyon, commander of the arsenal, realized the tenuousness of his position and sent a messenger to Illinois governor Richard Yates to suggest that its firearms and ammunition be removed and sent to Springfield, (Illinois) for issue to the Unionists, who were gathering in that city in response to (President) Lincoln’s call for volunteers to put down the (Confederate) rebellion.

Yates agreed and without even bothering to contact Washington for official approval, delegated the task of rescuing the arsenal’s weapons to (Chicago’s own) Captain James Stokes.

After coming to Alton and chartering the steamer (aka boat) “The City of Alton”, Stokes slipped down to St. Louis while disguised as a civilian and gained entrance to the besieged arsenal. He then had the arsenal’s telegraph operator contact an Alton telegraph operator with a message for Leander Mitchell, the captain of the “The City of Alton”.

Mitchell was instructed to be at the St. Louis riverfront at 11 p.m. to receive an arms shipment from the arsenal. After pressing into service every man inside and outside the arsenal who was loyal to the Union, Stokes ordered the first of the firearms to be removed and loaded onto another moored boat. The secessionists saw what they thought was their opportunity to hijack those coveted firearms. They seized the guns and made off with them — just as (Captain James) Stokes had hoped!

The wily captain had ordered that the first firearms to be removed should be some five hundred decrepit flintlock rifles that had least seen service during the Mexican-American War.

Time-consuming to load and possessing limited range, flintlock rifles would compose a limited danger in Confederate hands. While the secessionists were running away with these almost-useless antiques, the arsenal’s defenders began loading the modern, more lethal weapons onto “The City of Alton.”

“By 7:00 a.m., the contents of “The City of Alton” had indeed been loaded and safely locked into cars of the Chicago and Alton Railroad:

10,000 muskets; 100 new rifles; 500 revolvers; 110,000 musket cartridges and several cannons.” ~ An excerpt from an interesting article by John J. Dunphy titled “The Moores of Madison County, Illinois: A Pioneer and Civil War Saga”

Who knows what would have happened in the war if Chicago’s own Captain James Stokes hadn’t totally outfoxed those pro-Confederate mobs in St. Louis? 🙂

Continuing with excerpts from the book “Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History.”

“Upon hearing of the (Fort Sumter) attack, Stephen Douglas immediately offered his support to President Lincoln. Douglas played a large role in unifying Democratic Party support in Illinois for a military response to the attack. Back in Chicago, before a Wigwam packed with longtime supporters and recent enthusiasts, Douglas thundered that it was time for Republicans and Democrats to close ranks:

“There can be no neutrals in this war: only patriots—or traitors.”

End of book excerpts

“There can be no neutrals in this war: only patriots—or traitors.”

Damn straight.

*One could say that Senator Stephen Douglas ended his complex, controversial, and highly consequential political career on a very high note.

One reason why Senator Douglas’ fighting words were extremely important in the state of Illinois in particular was because of Southern, Illinois, where many transplants from Southern states lived, and still to this day is considered extremely conservative.

Even with that being the case, more Southern IL men signed up to fight against the South by joining the Union Army than in any other part of the state which is pretty remarkable.

“While Southern Illinoisans emigrated largely from southern states, few joined the Confederacy during the Civil War. Many were poor, did not own slaves, and had not left behind any assets in the South.

During the first sixteen months of the Civil War, forty percent of eligible men from Southern Illinois volunteered for the Union, compared with only twenty-eight percent from the rest of the state. The largest number to volunteer for the Confederacy were thirty-four men from Marion, most of whom had been born or raised in the South.” ~ From a website on the History of Southern Illinois

*Senator Stephen A. Douglas’ stirring and fiery campaign against the Confederacy which he launched almost immediately after it’s attack on Fort Sumter, is considered a major reason why almost the entire state of Illinois fell in line in support of President Abraham Lincoln and in support of the preservation of the Union aka the United States.

“By the time the (34) secessionists left Marion to join the 15th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Union troops controlled the Illinois Central Railroad, the East St. Louis waterfront and rail lines, the city of Cairo, regional bridges, and parts of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Ulysses S. Grant had already mustered a Union Army regiment of Southern Illinoisans at Anna by the time John A. Logan made his famous August 19, 1861 recruitment speech at the Marion square to raise the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry.” ~ From a website on the History of Southern Illinois

*Senator Douglas was credited with helping to unite the state of Illinois behind the Union, and in doing so reduce to only a few dozen the number of Southern Illinois men who left to join the Confederacy.

“Although (John) Logan is often credited with countering rebel sentiments (in Southern Illinois), defeated Democratic presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas was more proactive, speaking in Springfield and Chicago just after the war began on April 12, 1861.” ~ From a website on the History of Southern Illinois

*This ends Part One.

Access Part Two at the following link:

Important: Please Read: “Welcome to the Desert of the Real”Part Two