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OP ED: Civil War history is repeating itself and the time to intervene is now

OP ED: Civil War history is repeating itself and the time to intervene is now

OP ED: Civil War history is repeating itself and the time to intervene is now

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The 729 days (about two years) from the midterms of November 8, 2022 until the 2024 presidential election are the same number of days as was April 14, 1859 until April 14, 1861, the day the Civil War began.

Of course, we all know there was quite a buildup prior to the shots being fired at Ft. Sumter.

It didn’t just happen all at once.

I submit that there will be quite a buildup to whatever occurs on Election Day 2024.

It is already beginning.

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Will it culminate with such calamity?

Of course not!

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But in reading the words “of course not!” do you not feel but a bit curious? Perhaps a bit skeptical?

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Fact is, there is really no way I can make such a declaration.

I mean, I can say with certainty that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning, that it will snow somewhere in the country this winter.

But I cannot truthfully say that over the next 23 months, or so, this country will not resemble, in some shape or form, those 23 months leading up to April 14, 1861.

Even prior to April 14, 1859, much like prior to November 8, 2022, there were signs that surely should have opened eyes.

In 1856, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks severely beat anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner on the Senate floor of all places, with a cane.

All this came about over a speech Sumner gave days earlier to the senate regarding whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a slave state or a free state.

The tension was already brewing over slavery.

On March 6, 1857, just before President James Buchanan’s Inauguration, Chief Justice Roger Taney announced the pitiful Dred Scott Decision.

In the Summer of 2022, Roe versus Wade was overturned.

That is not to compare the two cases in terms of importance, per se.

But Taney’s present counter, Clarence Thomas (though not a Chief justice), made off the cuff comments of further restrictions that horrified the US Congress.

Are there any issues today as contentious as slavery was leading up to the Civil War?


But President James Buchanan never tried stirring the pot of antagonization as President Trump did.

The issue with Buchanan is that he fiddled while this country was on the verge of burning.

As a result, he consistently is listed, by historians, as the worst president this nation ever had.

That moniker of prestige may ultimately be levied upon Trump as time goes on.

Nonetheless, yet another comparative avenue exists.

In October 1859, abolitionist John Brown in attempt to cause a slave uprising, took over a federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in Virginia.

President Buchanan ordered Marines to respond and place Colonel Robert E. Lee in charge.

Keep in mind Douglas MacArthur led the assault upon the WWI Veterans who marched on DC for the monies that were owed to them. When people show who they are, believe them.

Anyhow, Brown’s raid failed.

A slave revolt failed to materialize.

This raid was often considered a rehearsal for what was ultimately going to take place in this nation.

In February 1860, presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln in his famous Cooper Union speech, in referring to Southern Democrats and their push to secede from the union should he win said, “In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”

As Lincoln clearly saw the twisting and mutilation of truth as well as the casting of blame, the same has occurred, and is occurring, 163 years later.

Truth has become a causality.

The Big Lie of the November 2020 election and the apex into a coup attempt on January 6, 2021 has morphed into exactly what Lincoln warned against.

On December 20,  1860, South Carolina seceded from the union.

Keep in mind, that the aforementioned attack on the senator in 1856 came from a Congressman from South Carolina.

It all comingles if only you can remember where and when it began.

So back to the present.

Today, we learn of a former president, one who rivals James Buchanan for the best of the worst, had the major announcement to make.

As we waited with bated breath, we learned Trump was releasing a digital card collection.

He is selling trading cards.

This is the person, who not only led an insurrection but has recently thrown his hat back in the ring hoping to become the second Grover Cleveland.

His main competitor-to-be is Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, the leader of the “Free State of Florida.”

It’s got that “Bleeding Kansas” feel to it, does it not?

The Florida Legislature, of which he is the boss, just had special session dealing with exorbitant insurance costs for Florida residents.


Here is what they came away with for now:  Everyone covered by Citizens (the company of last resort) needs to have flood insurance, whether they are in a flood zone or not.

Yup.  Not so outstanding.

Soon, annual insurance bills will rival property taxes in the Free State of Florida.

People will flee.

Yet like in the Ginzo Knife Commercials of yesterday:  “But wait, there’s more,” the governor is pushing for a grand jury to convene to investigate COVID-19 vaccinations.

He complained that the vaccines have been “pushed on Americans.”

This looks more like an attempt to gin up his MAGA 2.0 base which has adamantly been against the vaccinations.

Keep in mind however, Florida had the third highest amount of COVID deaths in the country behind California and Texas.

While this goes hand in hand with the most populous states, 83,000+deaths is not cause for celebration in a “free state.”

Furthermore, the death rate per 100,000 is much higher than either Texas or California.

It is 14th highest out of the 50 states.

“Free state” to the undertaker it would appear.

DeSantis also proposed “anti-woke” measures in the Free State of Florida that would keep schools from delving into the very tough, but necessary subjects to teach such as systemic racism.

And along with such roadblocks, comes the inevitable book ban.

By the way, what the hell does “woke” even mean?

I go back to the 1860 run up to the election and Abraham Lincoln.

A new generation of young, enthusiastic voters, who along with their torch lit marches, pushed Lincoln to the forefront and ultimately victory.

They were called “Wide Awakes.”  But I suppose that is not the same thing as “Woke”, is it?

The more things change, the more….You know the rest.

Those are your two main possibilities (at the time of this writing) for the Republican side of the 2024 election.

The opponent will be President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, or another Democratic Party candidate should President Biden not run.

My argument here is that unless a moderate Republican emerges with long coat tails, we are headed straight toward April 14, 1861.

Social media does not get a pass either.

When Twitter CEO and recent DeSantis backer but Trump lover Elon Musk disbands a focus group that was put in place to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, and other highly important issues; a guardrail of sorts, you get the feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming freight train.

The Republicans of 1860 stood up to the greatest issue of the day…slavery.

The Democrats of 1860 professed doctrine of popular sovereignty.

The Democratic Party had a falling out and even had two separate political conventions.

There was that much disagreement.

Now reverse the parties and what they are about today.

You see, not much has changed except for the landscape.

And let us pray aloud, together as Americans that that landscape does not include the names (or variations of) Bull Run ,Shiloh, Antietam or Chancellorsville.

Then realize that by far the most important day in American History may very well become January 20, 2025.

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches (facilitates) Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

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