War re-enactment is a popular way for us Americans to remember our history…..down here where I live it is Civil War re-enactment……every year we have the weekend of reliving the famous battle of the Mississippi Coast….the problem is it is all made up there was NO famous or otherwise battle of the Mississippi Coast…..but yet the locals romanticize the death and destruction of the Civil War.
My question is….WHY?
In his book The Red and the Blue, Steve Kornacki offers an illuminating and concise history of the birth of contemporary political tribalism in the United States, tracing its origins back to the 1990s in the defining political contest between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and the Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. In retrospect, cast in a Long Edwardian Summer nostalgia, followed by the attacks of September 11 and the ensuing war on terror, the 1990s were indeed a time of political turmoil in the U.S. that periodically discharged into acts of political violence and terrorism, culminating in the Centennial Olympic Park and Oklahoma City bombings. Although political tribalism was not the direct cause of these acts of domestic terrorism, commentators at the time noted the poisoned political climate made such violent manifestations at least more likely.
Curiously, the rise of political tribalism in the 1990s, similar to the 1960s, coincided with a general rise in interest in the U.S. Civil War, America’s bloodiest and most costly political conflict. Since its conclusion in April 1865, the Civil War, cloaked in Lost Cause mythology, has inspired anti-federal government and white supremacist ideology like that of William Luther Pierce, a fierce defender of the antebellum South and the author of the dystopian racist novel The Turner Diaries, which inspired the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. The depiction of the Civil War in print and film in the late 1980s and early 1990s appealed much more to the broader masses than it had in prior times.
I wish I could give a good reason why adults want to play war……but I got nothing.