The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) is one of the wars in which the losers are documented much more than the winners.
Some people may be tempted to discount this essay because of the source. Don’t. It is an interesting and objective account of the complexities – both ideological and personal – surrounding the Spanish Civil War. As such, it has relevance to the tangled situation we find ourselves in today: and although I deeply and passionately hope we do not end up in a civil war here in the U.S., it would be unwise to completely discount that possibility.
As this article makes clear, “liberal” and “conservative,” “traditionalist” and “progressive,” “radical” and “reactionary,” “socialist” and “fascist,” “left” and “right,” were (and are) a good deal murkier and more fluid than is often appreciated. We have a tendency, as Americans and as humans, to want to view both history and ideology in clear-cut, neatly-categorized terms. Unfortunately the real world is rarely so black-and-white: it is mostly varying shades of grey, blending into one another…
And of course, the more one insists on ideological purity from one’s companions and compatriots, the smaller grows one’s circle… and the more fragmented grows the battlefield, literal or figurative. In a war of all against all, no one wins. Ultimately you end up standing next to one person, the two of you nervously and critically eyeing one another for any sign of ideological wavering.
In this context, I am reminded of the words of the late former President, Ronald Reagan:
“Someone who agrees with you 80% of the time is an ally, not an enemy.”
If we are at a time where lines need to be drawn, and support groups formed – as it seems, sadly, we may be – we would be wise, in my opinion, to heed his words.