The Lost Cause is an affectionate term to refer to the “cause” of slavery. The Lost Cause was followed by The Fascist Terror State. The reconciliation between North and South, in which Robert E. Lee was turned into a national hero was done on the backs of Black Americans. The sequelae are biting us on the butt as I write this. The division of the country now is amounting to that between the North and the South, except there are far more Southern sympathizers throughout the country under the guise of Republicans – irony abounds.
Just as The Lost Cause formed accretions of legend and denial – it was about states’ rights, not slavery – so now the New Lost Cause is developing its myths which will be taught as historical fact in many states if the GOP gains control over education.
Education is a word that really encompasses what social scientists call enculturation; the culture is taught in the classrooms. The plethora of charter schools and the large number of home schoolers attest to the felt need to enculturate our children in what is believed to be the “real” American culture. The secularization of education has produced a fear, well known in Europe since the 19th century, that in MAGA words, “We are losing our culture.”
To combat that, school boards are being led or bullied into curricula that will deny the validity of the 2020 election, the science of plague and vaccination, the world-wide understanding of man’s place on earth, and the curriculum will reflect a ‘resanctified’ indoctrination of a quasi-religious view of the world.
The deadening of public awareness of this danger can be exemplified by a thought experiment: what if someone had told you in 2015 or 2010 or 2018 that a virus would hit the U.S. comparable to the 1919 flu pandemic and would kill over one million Americans? Most sentient beings in this country would think it absurd to imagine such a future coming to fruition in the face of research in medicine and logistics what would quickly suppress the virus and bring treatment to a higher level, saving many lives.
Would you have been able to imagine a third of Americans declaring their faith in a Queens con man who was possessed of a severe personality disorder and would perforce direct every effort to his own aggrandizement AND that hundreds of educated allies and aides would enable him?
Can the MAGA movement be transmogrified into a Lost Cause-like feature of our culture? I myself can see small stores in rural areas selling MAGA paraphernalia and chains like Circle K and Wal-Mart filtering it into their inventories, just testing the waters to see if it sells or stirs up controversy. Along with the MAGA tschokies would be seen Nazi regalia and memoriabilia passed off as “historical artifacts for educational purposes.” KKK insignia, titles, etc. including bumper stickers like “I left my hood at home but I still stand with Jesus.” Unaccountably, Russian stuff would appear, even items from the Soviet Era including Spets Nats hats and medallions. Shocking at first, they would be absorbed into the national consensus just as The Lost Cause has been and unsavory realities like slavery and assaults on the Capitol nudged off to the side. Like a virus, the notion that maybe those old slave holders knew something about Blacks that we don’t would slither into the way we think.
Thus we poison our culture.