The key to understanding the Civil War, which began 150 years ago this week, is to realize that it’s still being fought. Indeed, it’s being fought now more intensely than at any time since the 1960s.
Then, African Americans and white Northern liberals and moderates battled Southern white segregationists and Goldwater conservatives to establish equal racial access to the ballot, housing and public facilities. Today’s battle more closely resembles the one that inaugurated the Civil War, which centered on the expansion of slavery to the lands west of the Mississippi. As in 1861, we are again divided over whether Southern or Northern labor systems, and Southern or Northern versions of government, shall become the national norm.