Very few of the many, many thousands of Confederate soldiers who died defending slavery actually owned slaves. Most were just poor farmers. Not only were the slave owners few and far between, they were clustered in swiftly moving cavalry units that suffered far fewer casualties than the plodding infantry which fell in droves under the relentless hail of rifle fire and deadly, exploding cannon balls.

Afterwards, during the brief period of Reconstruction, the formerly enslaved Africans and the poor white farmers worked together in a spirit of cooperation to make life better for all, instituting the first free public school systems in the South and vastly improving roads and infrastructure. However, all of that ended when the former plantation owners, led by the ex-Confederate cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest, formed the Ku Klux Klan.

This terrorist organization convinced poor whites to make common cause with them in oppressing African Americans. And so the South retrogressed as Blacks were put into the semi-bondage of sharecropping and the outright slavery of the chain gang. Not only were Blacks not allowed to fully participate in the economy, many whites were enlisted to maintain the processes of oppression on a full-time basis. Thus,  for generations the South languished as an under-developed, disease-ridden backwater until the Civil Rights Movement.

Though the white community fought the Civil Rights Movement tooth and nail, with Southern governors standing in schoolhouse doors to prevent integration and white mobs and white police killing and maiming many hundreds, the Civil Rights Movement eventually prevailed. Ever since, the South’s economy has been booming. Nonetheless, today, as before, we see many poor whites, not just in the South, but all around the country, consumed with hatred of our Black president, bitterly opposed to the very policies, like the Affordable Care Act, that were constructed with their welfare in mind.

Just like they fought for slavery when they did not have slaves, and then fought to maintain the system of Jim Crow that was crippling the South’s economy, they are today eager to shut down and destroy the government that is trying desperately to give them the health care that they cannot afford.

So we see that what is going on now is nothing new. The current conflict is as old as the nation. The struggle to end oppression and the ignorance that fuels it is an ongoing crusade, as America forever strives to attain a more perfect union. Rest assured the current stalemate shall be broken, but future battles surely loom in the months and years ahead as America continues resolutely marching on. . .  ( by Arthur Lewin, )