“I doubt whether from the beginning of the world until now, a community, nominally civilized, has been so fully under the domination of systematic and organized depravity…the most atrocious organization that the civilized part of the world has ever known.”
When I read this statement by United States Attorney General Amos T. Akerman — our first AG who headed the newly created Department of Justice — I had an odd reaction: I shook my head a couple of times, to free my brain from thinking this quoted response to our immediate world was produced a few days ago.
I’ve frequently had this reaction while reading Ron Chernow’s biography, Grant, and especially while reading the chapters covering Reconstruction and the rise and horrors of the Ku Klux Klan, which is the organization Akerman was referring to.
If you like to think what we’re living through now is radically different from what has gone before in our history, read Grant.
You avant garde-ists might also consider dipping into Anthony Trollope, especially his second of The Palliser series, Phineas Finn. So much of his barely fictional descriptions of Parliament’s workings…well, again I must shake my head.
Things have changed, sure. But some things have changed only in public face, while the inner workings 0f racism and violence and voting suppression remain the same.