Amy Goodman of Democracy Now asked the great-great-grandsons of Stonewall Jackson (who are calling to have confederate statues removed) “As you watched what happened in Charlottesville, do you feel like there is a kind of new civil war in this country?” Let’s be clear: we are not seeing a “new civil war” in the USA. This is the SAME civil war that never really ended; it merely turned into a Cold War that has raged ever since (with spurts of very real, hot violence that rarely see justice because of Cold Civil War politics).

It seems that some Americans are nostalgic for, and clamoring to revisit, the nuclear threats of the 50s and a rebooted 80s Cold War with Russia; why not also revisit the 1860s and our civil war, right? The confederate flag wavers would have you believe that the war was a defense against “northern aggression”, but it was actually about their ancestors’ attempt to preserve their business of slavery. That fight was inevitable; something the founders of the USA failed to pre-empt during the original formation of the country (as part of ensuring the rest of the states would sign on).

This is all the same problem: failing to put an end to the perpetuation of generations-worth of racism, nationalism, ignorance, ego, and scapegoating. Dear America: Look yourselves in the mirror. If you’re wearing the uniforms and waving the flags of nationalism, racism, and fascism, you’re not a patriotic American; you’re a member of an outdated, outmoded hate group that embarrasses your country. The USA literally fought in a war against facism and genocide (WWII, look it up). The American civil war happened before your parents were born; it was never your cause to take up. When you claim to march to protect the symbols of racism that perpetuate that war to this day, you’re appropriating someone else’s racism to prop up your own. Your problem is within. Learn to think outside the script prepared for you by the culture that guided you toward becoming a racist.

The same goes for politically left-learning white people who disclaim their privilege while continuing to tolerate institutional racism with “I’m not racist, but…” Learn to think outside the script that was prepared for you by your predecessors. Racism, sexism, religion, nationalism… If you don’t want to be told what to think, look deeper at the things you came to believe before you got angry about being told what to think.