War. Not inevitable

From DJ

“…A dynamic, often harrowing process of give and take. As long as both sides recognized that they needed each other, there was peace. The next generation, however, came to see things differently… When [war came], it was not becaise relentless and faceless forces had given [them] no other choice. Those forces had existed from the very beginning. War came… because two leaders… allowed it to happen… There was nothing invevitable [about it], and the outbreak of fighting caught almost everyone by surprise.”

So says Nathaniel Philbrick author of Mayflower. He could have been referring to the outbreak of almost any civil conflict. One imagines he could be reflecting back from a few years hence on this period in our history.

I’m more optimistic. There are signs now that senior Republicans are trying to reign in the loonies. Also, compared to the 1930’s or the 1960’s, things are actually kind of placid now. I’m not seeing union strikers getting shot in the back or cities burning. Nor do I think we will see that level of violence any time soon. But forewarned is forearmed. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen. One way is by listening to what others say.

He actually was writing about politics preceding the outbreak of King Philip’s War in 1675, one of the bloodiest conflicts in our history, now largely forgotten.

Town of Simsbury CT marker. Indian wars.

From The dust jacket of The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity By Jill Lepore.

King Philip’s War, the excruciating racial war–colonists against Indians–that erupted in New England in 1675, was, in proportion to population, the bloodiest in American history. Some even argued that the massacres and outrages on both sides were too horrific to “deserve the name of a war.”

I reviewed the book in 2007, when we lived in Simsbury CT. As you can see by the marker, Indians burned it to the ground twice. But I couldn’t finish the book, what happened was just too bloody, violent, and senseless.

And we sure don’t need more of that.