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President's Ponderings: Fort Sumter was the Result

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (4/12/11)

  APRIL 15, 2011 --

Today (April 12) is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the civil war. Fort Sumter was shelled and the war began. Since the war, our culture has both deified and demonized various generals, participants, and leaders. We know that the civil war is viewed differently within our country and many today view their ancestors as hero’s, regardless of which side they served on.

I believe that people need to understand what was happening that led to hostilities between Americans. Partisan politics had reached a point where listening to the opposition had ceased and compromise was unthinkable. The debate on state rights and the role of the Federal government was loud, shrill, and demonization of your opponents was commonplace. Expansion of slavery into the west was a complex issue which had been punted down-field by different administrations and Congresses time and time again.

From my point of view, many different issues,- each a powder keg on their own - were stacked up by the politicians of that day. Many of these issues where allowed to fester through inaction and thus become even more explosive. Then on this fateful day, the match was lit and our nation was consumed for the next four years by bloodshed and destruction.

Many lessons were learned by those who survived the battlefields of our Civil War. One was that the people need places to remember what binds us together. One of the many positive results of the lessons of war was the creation of the Grange in 1867, a local organization with national scope that teaches its members that listening to opposing viewpoints is a part of developing workable solutions to real problems was a great moment.

Take the time to remember what led our ancestors to take up arms against their brothers. The issues were many and all had a role in the firing upon Fort Sumter. One of the lessons for us is to ensure that we never again create the environment where great numbers of Americans feel that they have no voice or choice. Your local Grange still remains engaged in bringing people in your community together. From educational efforts in local Granges to the National Grange Legislative Fly-In, our organization remains committed to giving voice to every individual.

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