Deceptions and Lies

Palestinian protest in Boston’s Copley Square outside my hotel window 10/2023

I hope that everyone had a happy and safe holiday.

Nikki and the Civil War
Nikki Haley is surging the GOP polls. Well, that’s not quite right. She is doing better than anyone else who is not named Trump. She has been getting more extensive crowds and has performed relatively well in those scripted performances called debates.

More than a decade ago, when Haley was running for governor of South Carolina, she was asked about the Civil War. She said that the Civil War was about “traditions versus change.” Yes, she said that. Now, if a 14-year-old taking US History wrote that for a school essay, they should get an “F.”

Haley was asked the same question again in New Hampshire. Nikki Haley, a woman of Indian heritage, said, “I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.” She went on to say, “I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are.”

What nonsense! I understand that she is a Republican. I also understand that politicians answer hundreds of questions daily as they campaign. Reporters, bloggers, and others want to catch the candidate off guard and post something juicy on social media, but this was a chip-shot. She had faced almost the exact same question before, which tripped her up. She is also the same person who fumbled the whole Confederate flag issue while she was governor of South Carolina.

The Civil War was about slavery. Period. Full stop. This is not a mystery. You don’t have to be a Civil War scholar to understand this simple fact. South Carolina, in its Declaration of Session, stated, “But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

Translation: You (the United States) are threatening to take our (South Carolina’s) slaves, so we are leaving.

Haley is an intelligent woman. She knows why the Civil War was started, but she would rather spin this state’s rights nonsense because that is the official GOP explanation of the Civil War. If we, as a nation, believe in truth and honesty, we need to bury this “state’s rights” lie under a tree in the backyard and let it die.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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