“What We Need Is A Great Big Melting Pot”

….”big enough to hold the world and all its got. Keep it stirring for a hundred years or more. Turn out coffee coloured people by the score”

Perhaps I am not the only person here who was a 17 year old hippy in the winter of 1969/70. The world was full of LOVE and we all dreamed of a better world. Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway wrote the song “Melting Pot” which rather naively suggested that we could all have a great big recipe….”add some blue blood………..and a little bitty bit of Red Indian (sic) boy”.

Blue Mink sang the song and rather unfortunately for a song that was ahead of its time in terms of political correctness, it contains at least three words that make me cringe in 2018.

It is on You Tube.

Is it an early example of LetsGetAlongerism? I suppose it is.

After all, that’s what LetsGetAlongerism is. Lets take a Catholic boy and a little bitty bit of Presbyterian girl. Stir them together in an integrated school and watch how they all live together , teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony and buying everyone a Coca Cola. Actually….that’s a different song but you get my drift.

But have you heard Hoyt Axton sing “I’m A Good Ole Rebel” ? Its on You Tube also. It was written by James I Randolph after the American Civil War.

I am not sure if Axton’ s version is meant to be ironic but certainly other versions I have seen on You Tube are very serious. “For this Fair Land of Freedom, I do not give a damn” and “I wont be reconstructed and I do not give a damn”.

It is a LetsGetaLongerist’s worst nightmare.

See that’s how Conflict Resolution works. The North defeated the South in 1865 and set about reorganising southern society. The South was crushed…….but after a decade or so of Reconstruction, the Federal Government simply gave up and for another century, the South was allowed to continue doing its own un-American thing. It is a sordid tale of Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws and Dixiecrats.

So the South was not crushed after all. The Conflict was never resolved. Instead the veterans of the Civil War, north and south moved west and crushed the Native Americans.

In John Ford westerns and maybe on 1950s 1960s TV “Bonanza” or “The Virginian” or “Rawhide”, they occasionally reference the Civil War as a tragic disagreement between two brothers who have found a common enemy……the Sioux, the Apache and the Commanches. And the Mexicans of course. A lot of ex-slaves moved west and a lot of cowboys were ex-slaves but they get airbrushed out of the story.

The Civil War….or if you prefer “The War Between The States” is commemorated not as a war on slavery (the very cornerstone of the Confederacy)  but as “States Rights” and it seems that the North is as complicit in this re-writing of History as the South. Those blue-uniformed re-enactors who face grey-uniformed re-enactors twice a month are just as guilty of propagating the myth that the Confederate battle flag is honourable and that both armies are commemorating the “Heritage not Hate” agenda.

The Confederate Battle Flag is at NASCAR races,  country music shows and is on the back of a lot of pick-up trucks. In a way, the Confederate Battle Flag is as much a symbol of the United States of America (sic) as the Stars and Stripes.

So the American Civil War……..the South was crushed…….and then un-crushed.

But take Nazi Germany. It was crushed in 1945. Nazis were “re-educated”. That’s Conflict Resolution. It was unconditional surrender, not a Peace Treaty. Peace…well everyone loves Peace of course. But any treaty signed in any year from 1940 to 1944 would not have crushed the Nazis. A victory for LetsGetAlongerism?

Likewise in Vietnam, the Saigon regime was crushed. People were taken off to be re-educated.

In 1998…we had the Good Friday Agreement. It was an exercise in Creative Ambiguity. It was sold to nationalists as a stepping stone to a United Ireland and sold to unionists as an obstacle to a United Ireland.

While it is clear that nationalists supported it in the Referendum (94% is the usual figure), unionists supported it narrowly (55% is the accepted figure), it is equally clear that the SDLP could not deliver and UUP never had the confidence of the broader unionist community. DUP have won the post-Good Friday process (Sinn Féin are as useless as SDLP) effectively putting a brake on it all.

This should not worry nationalists. The stalemate means there is no agreement on the future and consequently it is just a matter of sitting around waiting for the demographics to happen …and BREXIT.

So why does it worry the Conflict Resolutionists.  Effectively Conflict Resolutionists are academic carpet-baggers, the people who flooded into the defeated Confederate States to impose a peace.

We are much too tolerant of these academics in Belfast. We seem incapable of telling them to pack their carpetbags and go off to Syria or Afghanistan where their theses and dissertations might be even more needed than they are here.

Belfast is just more convivial than Damascus and its easier to buy a pint of Harp in Belfast than it is in Kabul.

LetsGetAlongerists? well they are a curious coalition but they seem worried.

Well, there are always good-hearted, ecumenical folks who are genuinely interested in getting along with everyone. But there is a political culture that exploits this to advance their own careers. And of course, part of the that coalition is liberal unionism which harks back to Terence O’Neill and how we should have listened to him.

Liberal unionism has always pushed for the Good Friday Agreement to be nailed down with protocols that inhibit nationalism’s growth.

We are ok as we are. The Past is the Past. There is nothing to fear in the future.

 

 

 

 

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