Our own Cynic, beautifully channels, Faukner:
Why isn't there, for every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he
wants it, an instant when it's still not yet four-thirty on that April morning in 1861, the batteries are in position opposite Fort Sumter, the guns are laid and ready, furled flags are already loosened to break out and Edmund Ruffin himself with his long, stringy white hair and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up waiting for Beauregard to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Stephens and Toombs look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Morality and self-respect and progress and development. Maybe this time they won't fire the shot that doomed the South to a century of reactionary backwardness?
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power