A Reenacting

June 26, 2021

Dearest Mother,

My smart phone and computer were confiscated, and I couldn’t text you. So I write in hopes you will receive this letter. I suspect you too have met your fate and are somewhere out there alone and afraid. It has happened. Papa, a year ago on his deathbed told me of his own conversion and urged me to consider the truth. My own ego prevented me from seeing that truth, Mother, and I fear that I let you down.

Being the kind of family we are, Papa and I Union Civil War reenactors, and you in costume as part of the crowd waving your brave boys in blue into battle, I suppose I allowed myself to think that we were immune to the darker forces taking over our country today. It used to be that black church congregations would stand on the sidelines and cheer us as we freed their ancestors. Now they taunt us. Mama, I freed the dang slaves. What more could people expect of me?

I write while packing my mandated one bag, readying to be shipped out to a white people concentration camp outside of Fargo, North Dakota. Nationwide, we are being rounded up and sent to some 70 such camps, mostly located in the West. Where are you, Mama?

At my last reenactment, a black woman playing a freed slave, as an aside to me, whispered, “Black Lives Matter,” quite a thing to say to her liberator. Gallantly (so I thought), cheerfully, I patted her on her kerchief and said, “All lives matter, dear.” And she proceeded to tell me that having an ancestor who fought at the 1854 siege of Petersburgh, was not a free pass to the modern world. Reenacting was acting, not commitment. She stripped off her hoop skirt and accoutrements and strode back to her car, in tights and a tee shirt.

Papa, as you know, dear Mama, had already turned to the right. The Right was right, he said. He shared with me the warning of conservative commentator Michael Savage: “Attacks on white people is exactly what was done to the Jews in Germany in the ’30s. Don’t fall for this garbage. This is the road to the death camps.”

I once mocked Mr. Savage because I knew his leanings re his long-ago friendship with the Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. Like many rightwing media commentators who really were just into white rage demagoguery for the money and the attention, I knew—I thought I knew—he was just a bad actor in search of a gig. He and Tucker Carlson.

Oh, how I weep, Mama. Saint Tucker in his tighty whiteys, now crucified and hanging from the Mt. Rushmore monument. The Prophet Tucker. I once was disgusted by him, but I see it now, Mama: Tucker wept; Tucker died for me.

And then I heard the words of the prophet Hawley, a man of wisdom: “Critical race theory is in fact very real. [Biden’s people] “believe that this is a country founded in racism and shot through with corruption. In our American flag, they see propaganda, and in our family businesses, they see white supremacy.”

Mother, we are the critical race. Were. The prophets have been executed by order of Maxine Waters, and humble, plain citizens like me are being shipped to a gulag for the “crime” of being white. Because my European ancestors were superior. Because Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” Because George Armstrong Custer and his admirer L. Frank Baum called for the extermination of the Indian savages who previously lived in this land. Because compassionate Southerners shipped poor Africans to this country to give them a chance to whiten. Because the Roosevelt administration interred 100,000 Japanese US citizens to teach them the ways of proper white American Christians. Because the prophet Ayn Rand through her prescient novels warned us that [white] exceptionalism would be punished.

Rand was right. After that black woman playing a freed slave accosted me, I turned on FOX News, and I finally saw the truth—too late. The liberal lie bled from my eyes like tears. I saw that the reenactors who played the boys in butternut, were the real heroes. I saw that Martin Luther King was an FBI informant. I saw that Alexandria Ocasio Ortiz was a Communist. I saw that the Proud Boys were killed for being heroes of the truth.

I am told there will be a court hearing, Mama dear, and that to save my life I will have to plead guilty, for slavery, redlining, segregation, white privilege. I am told I will have to sign a paper on racial harmony stating that I believe that I am responsible to exact social change in the future.

I protested to the authorities, that I, Daniel Aloysius Wilson, had played a Lieutenant in many a stirring Civil War battle. They laughed at me, Mama. The uniform meant nothing to them. They tore off my uniform and my authentic Union long johns and stomped them to dust.

Am I my brother’s keeper? (Little known fact, according to Mr. Savage: The question is the first known historical reference to the “brothers,” the blacks. The miracle of the Bible is that, despite its setting of just a tiny bit of northeastern Africa and environs, everyone in the Bible was white, which explains it, there was a White Jesus!)

The charge, at the black tribunal (Tucker Carlson warned his viewing audience that this was coming) was not being “woke.” What does that mean, Mama? I wake up every morning at 6:30 am. Am I guilty? Am I responsible to help black people? The only black person I knew was the woman who played the slave that I freed. No black person ever reached out to me. Isn’t slavery over? The court deemed me immoral. What does morality have to do with racism?

No one loved the theory of equal opportunity more than me. Our Methodist church had a banner hanging in the vestry proclaiming equality. It was fun to say, at church, to my kids. I believed—we believed in equality. We did our part. Words, about supporting black lives, matter! But the reality? Of giving money to black people as payment for what allegedly happened to their enslaved ancestors? Giving money to Lebron James? Of showing favoritism to black college students, thus depriving brilliant white scholars of their due? Of allowing a backward people to have more polling places, more higher paying jobs, less police interference? Free health care?

Is a joke.

And now, just like the six million murdered Jews of Europe, we “white Jews of America” march to the American-made furnaces of death, mobs of black and brown and Asian people jeering at us. So, I go to my death, a proud reenactor, slave-freeing white man. I will see you in white heaven, sainted Mama whose tit of wisdom nourished me, for the Lord through his son Jesus Christ told us about the Alabaster City.

“It is a far far better place that I go to.” A white man wrote those words (thank you Michael Savage) about white heaven. I shall be there shortly.

Your loving son,

Lieutenant Dan

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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