“I was astonished to hear from the prisoners that you was color Bearer of the Regiment that assaulted the Battery at this point the other day.” James continued, “I was in the Brest work during the whole engagement doing my Best to Beat you but I hope you and I will never again meet face to face bitter enemies on the Battlefield but if such should be the case You have but to discharge your duty for your cause for I can assure you I will strive to discharge my duty to my country and my cause.” ~ Letter from Confederate James Campbell to his Yankee brother Alexander after the Battle of Secessionville
I never thought anything could ever separate us again. We were foolish kids together. We came of age together. We explored the frontiers of first loves and broken hearts together. We absorbed The Graduate, Easy Rider and One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest and learned to challenge authority together. We purchased our first adult beverages together…from Ben & Slim at that convenience store next to the Hob-Nob. We hitch-hiked across America together and we cried over lost friends together…and then we grew up to raise our own kids and watch our parents grow older…together!
Look at us now! I was more like you than you were! And today it seems more like we are standing on different planets. There are only two things I can think of that could explain our different perceptions of the very same troubling events. I did not go to college. And I spent eight years of my life from 1986 to 1994 experiencing government from the perspective of a small business owner sweating to make payroll every week.
I’m afraid there exists the same dark energies in our world today to bring about a repeat of 1862…only I wanted to write you before the “Battle” rather than after…because there are things I need to know from you, and there are things I need you to know from me before we cross the threshold. You see, I can understand each Campbell brother’s deeply held convictions that only the misery of tremendous bloodletting was finally able to resolve. But knowing you as I thought I did, there are some things that I can’t make sense of…
For instance, when I commented to you that “It must be exhausting…defending the indefensible (Obama)”, you replied, “It’s exhausting batting away the gnat-like objections to anything Obama ever says or does or supports. No govt program is anti freedom or anti American.”
This is what doesn’t make sense to me. I had two bizarre dreams last night. In the first dream I found myself in the faculty lounge of Brown University trying to fit in, relate and communicate. It was actually pretty hilarious. In the second dream, you and I were with the families at the funerals of Border Agent Brian Terry (Fast & Furious), Chris Stevens, Ty Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith (Benghazi), and the 17 members of Seal Team 6. But when I looked for you in the receiving line when it came time to pay our respects, you weren’t there…you were gone! I need to know where you went and why!
And this is what you need to know from me. Unless you can convince me otherwise, I will believe that you were led away from them by your own denial in following the broken promises of a very convincing liar. Regardless of what he has promised you, the promise of a liar can only be a lie. And what’s worse my friend, those who swallow their empty promises can only become liars themselves.
Please know before the Battle that we are being forced to, that I love you and I can’t imagine anything other than side by side when Truth is known. But it is not for me to find yours…and if you should choose a different course… “if such should be the case You have but to discharge your duty for your cause for I can assure you I will strive to discharge my duty to my country and my cause.” We used to talk together all night long…