Tyrades! By Danny Tyree
I recently read an article lamenting the fact that federal participation in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War Between The States has been practically nil.
This lackluster performance should have come as no surprise, since the U.S. is too busy meddling in everyone ELSE’S civil wars to acknowledge its own Civil War. At least our recent escapades do conjure up memories of “Gone With The Wind.” (“This is a fine time to tell me ‘I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no revolutions!’”)
I am just as well pleased that Washington is staying out of the planning of events. We will appreciate the sesquicentennial more if it is handled by states, communities, grassroots organizations and that one eccentric dude who paid the Met to stage “Eatin’ Goober Peas: The Opera.”
I mean, these are the paper-shuffling jokers who very nearly starved both the Union and Confederate forces. Thank goodness they failed to finalize the regulations blocking hungry soldiers from plundering chicken houses unless the farmer had posted detailed nutritional data about the fowls.
If federal bureaucrats got into the act today, re-enactments would find Abraham Lincoln ditching his stovepipe hat (“Contributes to global warming”) and battle wardrobes being completely reimagined. (“This whole blue and gray thing is sort of like profiling. Maybe the Battle of Bull Run should be Wear Your PJs To Work Day.”)
The feds would make a mess of our cherished songs. I really don’t want to hear “The Military Advisers Hymn Of the Republic,” with its refrain of “His limited involvement is marching on.” And “Dixie.” Poor “Dixie.” (“I wish I was in de land of imported textiles/NAFTA rules are not forgotten/Look away, look away, Dixie land.”)
Federal involvement would wreak havoc with scholarly analysis of the war’s causes and personalities. To many in the South, Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brilliant tactician and gentlemanly champion of states’ rights. Many in the North view him as a traitor and defender of the institution of slavery. And the federal government? It chooses to classify him as an ENDANGERED WETLAND. (“When an injunction is the only tool you have, every officer starts to look like an endangered wetland.”)
On the other hand, a wee bit of federal coordination might be in order to keep tourist-seeking states from claiming a bigger role in the war than they actually deserve. (“Welcome to the recreation of Sherman’s Iditarod Race To The Sea. Brought to you by the folks behind the ‘Aloha, Johnny Reb’ pageant.”)
And it would be tempting to raid Uncle Sam’s coffers to finance events. I understand that some cash-strapped states have considered replacing a traveling exhibit of rare Matthew Brady photographs with a magnetic Wooly Willy toy, dim lighting and copious amounts of mint juleps. And let’s not get into the cemetery dedications. (“We must not forget the sacrifices made by our ancestors – nor the fact that this plot of land is a time-share with zombies.”)
Whatever, the current generation needs to be taught the hard lessons the nation learned in the Civil War. Never again must we tolerate brother fighting brother. (“Unless it’s in a cage, and pay-per-view. With second cousin once removed versus second cousin once removed for the opening match!”)
©2011 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns, please email Cari Dawson Bartley at email@example.com or call 800 696 7561.