Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Battle of Gettysburg ... and politics

On this day in history, the Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863, a bloody conflict in the civil war between Americans in the North and South. Years later, Confederate veteran William Munroe Graves reflected on the battle:
"Gettysburg has many lessons ... perhaps the best lesson to learn from any war is how it might have been avoided by a little more good-will, a little more compromise, & little more of a liberal attitude of the minds that see only in terms of logical conclusions, the minds to which white is white and black is black, and there is no gray.

"For us who have grown in wisdom with the years we can see that change is inevitable, that there must also be continuity. We will never reach any point where our national life can afford to remain static. Neither can there be any complete break with the past.

"Between those who see only the need for change and those who resist change, I have come to the conclusion that any nation will be torn asunder if they persist in fighting it out as in the Civil War. At this last day we can see that Gettysburg is a good illustration of irrepressible conflict which exist with those who do not have the patience and imagination to progress thro' compromise.”
After my years in politics, I have grown to realize much the same. Nothing is black and white ... "compromise" is not a dirty word ... but that lesson is waiting to be learned by a new group of zealots.

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