These are John's views - I've reconstructed them best as I can. Mine are different, and I am not American.
Before the war they had all been Democrats. Lincoln had not even run in the South. A Republican in the White House was seen as a man doing his very best to steal their shining stars of dignity, integrity and identity. The war had been about national banks and the control of finances not by men but by Washington, about tariffs and control of their cotton, their lives. It had been about work, a system of hiring and firing driven by pure need, a scrabbling and competition for money and labour under the thumbs and power of luckier men, not necessarily better men. Policies and philosophies had vied then - not the issues but the overarching principles governing them. The South had lost the war, so many good men killed. Abolition had been nothing to the North at first, and now the first causes were almost forgotten save the cry, but not the nature, of States' rights.
Considering himself betrayed, John disowned his father who had, among other sins, joined the Northerners and their punishing courts and impositions. He had in effect run away from home, though he had fought the Klan too, when they had attacked his relatives. He held absolutely to what he himself believed was right, regardless of sides. Part of his code of honour, in this as in all, was active participation; even when he was dying he was intensely involved in political meetings and community projects and service.
He signed up to vote in every election - every one. His listing read, 'John H. Holliday, profession Dentist;' even when he was far beyond a dignified pursuit of this work. One could have tracked him by these simple registrations, state to state, election to election.
He had remained a Democrat until he met Wyatt. Then he had fought for politics on a local basis, for politics are also war. They were not just a war of words, but a war for fists and guns, spying and diplomacy, sabotage and betrayal. Then their goal had been to settle the West. John saw himself as a pioneer, creating a country for those who would follow, and threw himself into what he saw as responsibility.
Often - in Dodge, in Tombstone - the Democrats had been the Texans who still fought the war, had turned it to thievery, thinly disguised guerilla actions and a vengeance of threat and chaos. They brought with them a unity of hate and defiance, at once superior and disenfranchised. John should have been one of them - Georgian, an itinerant lawless sporting man, but he was on the wrong side to everyone.
After the war the sides changed. The good men were dead, and the violent and filthy were left to avenge them. And the Republican rearrangement of the smallest details of their lives was so deliberately all-consuming that everyone - everyone
- seemed to have forgotten it had not always been so - that the possibility of each man standing and thinking to determine philosophy and code of policy had once driven the portion of their lives dictated by politics. John nevertheless did his best to build the country that was left.
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 529
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