Pickett's Charge

By Marc Dion

December 18, 2017 4 min read

Rather than rehash the numbers, let's just say that the black voters of Alabama are the reason Roy Moore isn't bringing his cowboy-hatted slime to the Senate.

Pickett's Charge failed again, toiling up the hill in slavery's cause, but faltering under the guns, and failing to take the heights.

Pickett's Charge always fails, and slavery always loses. There is always a bridge at Selma. There is always a church in Birmingham, a school in Arkansas, a place where American freedom is tested and wins in blood.

This is not a black victory. It is another win for freedom. It is a Joe Louis right-hand punch. It is a dreaming Martin Luther King Jr. It 's Obama. It's Jackie Robinson.

None of those people won a victory for "their people." All of us are their people. A win for freedom is everybody's win. Every bridge thrown over the gap between black and white is a win. Every pushback of Pickett's Charge is a win, even for the men making the charge who die testing freedom from the other side, who demonstrate what cannot win. The first breath of every interracial baby is a win, a howl of defiance, a reminder that America is intended to create a new race.

The Civil War was largely (although not completely) a war of white men against white men over the fate of black people. The soldiers in Pickett's Charge were white, and the Union guns that blew it apart were manned by white men. And in Alabama this week, in a state soaked with the remembered blood of whipped slaves, black men and women stood against this new Pickett's Charge and blew it apart with the ballot.

America is a country where people still debate the evil of slavery, noting that slaves were deprived of nothing but their freedom. They had food and shelter, some fools argue. The slaves were better off than in Africa, and other Africans sold them to us, so it wasn't our fault and, hell, they got free banjos.

Those words are dirt, and the people who talk that way are dogs returning to eat the national vomit we thought we thought we'd gotten out of our system.

With their ballots in their hands like guns, the black men and women of Alabama watched coolly as the charge approached, not flinching, waiting.

The roar of their ballots stopped the charge only in one place, but they heard the noise of battle in Washington, and they listened hard.

In his defiantly white house, Pres. Donald Trump heard the roar of those ballots, and surely something quivered in him as Moore lost because of black people.

That ballot, that slender piece of paper, can turn back any charge, can defeat any evil, can save freedom.

You cannot make America great again by bringing back every old mistake, by bringing back Jim Crow, by smashing women into silence, by forcing gay people back into darkness, by spitting on the poor and driving them further into the endless gritty stink of never having enough.

The black people of Alabama, whose ancestors shed so much blood under the lash, whose fathers and grandfathers choked at the end of the lynch rope, they broke Pickett's Charge. They stood up for every American, even though some of us didn't have the courage to join the fight.

The battle is over. The war continues.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "The Land of Trumpin," is a collection of Dion's columns from before, during and after the most recent presidential election. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and as an eBook for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and GooglePlay.

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