Oameni și statui (II)

Spre deosebire de statui, oamenii au limite. Sunt guvernați chiar de două seturi de limite – cele personale și cele ale contextului – limitele vremurilor în care trăiesc. Cele două seturi se influențează reciproc. Limitele timpului sunt date de limitele omului. Limitele contextului/vremurilor instituționalizează limitele omului. Este un cadru căruia nu-i scapă nicio epocă.

Unii din oamenii care își depășesc limitele personale și forțeză și limitele timpului sunt eroizați după moarte. Eroizați sunt însă și oameni care n-au rupt asemenea bariere. În pofida unei postumități luminoase, antumitatea nu le-a fost ușoară nici unora, nici altora. Și-apoi, eroul de ieri, poate deveni ușor antieroul de astăzi. Eroizare și demonizare – un cuplu de nedespărțit.

Mai mult din interese politice, slujite cu patimă, și mai puțin din respect pentru faptul istoric, din când în când este relansat un cal de bătaie. Printre ideile zilei este reluată și aceea că poziția față de instituția sclaviei ar fi fost singura cauză a izbucnirii Războiului Civil. Cu toate acestea, istoricii nu au reușit să cadă de acord cu privire la Cauza care a declanșat conflictul.

Nici nu aveau cum. Poziționarea diferită între Nord și Sud în chestiunea sclaviei a fost una dintre cauze; nu singura și oricum parte a unui context în care economicul a jucat un rol mai important decât moralul. În 2011, rezultatele unui sondaj efectuat de Pew Research Center dovedeau cât de împărțite sunt și astăzi opiniile americanilor în legătură cu acest subiect:

48% – războiul a izbucnit, în principal, din cauza disputei legate de Drepturile Statelor (States’s Rights); 38% – războiul a început din cauza pozițiilor diferite asupra sclaviei; restul respondenților – “din ambele motive” sau “din niciunul dintre cele două motive/nu știu.” Pentru Lincoln, așa cum a declarat, miza războiului nu a fost sclavia, ci “preserving the union”.

Dacă mulți sudiști vedeau în aboliționistul Abraham Lincoln un pericol mortal, nu puțini nordiști îl considerau pe moderatul Lincoln cam șovăielnic. Astăzi, pentru unii imaginea generalului confederat Robert E. Lee este aceea a unui apărător înverșunat al instituției sclaviei, în vreme ce, pentru aceiași, imaginea lui Lincoln este aceea a unui aboliționist neșovăielnic.

Mărturia contextului (documentele vremii) spune altceva. Vorbește despre limitele omului și despre limitele vremurilor (contextului). Între pozițiile celor doi față de chestiunea sclaviei nu a existat o diferență fundamentală, o prăpastie care să poată genera un război sau care să justifice integral eroizarea unuia și demonizarea celuilalt.

Doar câteva exemple despre limitele omului și limitele epocii:

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Lee (1856): There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day. Although the abolitionist must know this, must know that he has neither the right not the power of operating, except by moral means; that to benefit the slave he must not excite angry feelings in the master; that, although he may not approve the mode by which Providence accomplishes its purpose, the results will be the same; and that the reason he gives for interference in matters he has no concern with, holds good for every kind of interference with our neighbor, -still, I fear he will persevere in his evil course. . . . Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?

Lincoln, 1858: While I was at the hotel to—day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]—that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied of its correctness—and that is the case of Judge Douglas’s old friend Col. Richard M. Johnson. [Laughter.] I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject), that I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this: that I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature—not in the Congress of the United States—and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause.] I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject.

William H. Seward, Secretarul de Stat al lui Lincoln: “We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.”

Lincoln: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Este  același Lincoln care făcuse campanie, în numele său și al Partidului Republican, în favoarea abolirii sclaviei în statul Illinois și atacase The Kansas-Nebraska Act. Același Lincoln care-i denunțase pe membrii Partidului Democrat care sprijineau o lege care “assumes there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another.”

Este același Lincoln care a crezut că legea respectivă contrazice principiul fundamental al Americii după care toți oamenii se nasc egali (“all men are created equal”). Și textul curge în continuare așa:

“Lincoln was an abolitionist at heart, but he realized that the outlawing of slavery in states where it already existed might lead to civil war. Instead, he advocated outlawing the spread of slavery to new states. He hoped this plan would preserve the Union and slowly eliminate slavery by confining it to the South, where, he believed, ‘it would surely die a slow death’ “.

Aceia au fost oamenii, acelea au fost vremurile. Chiar și cei care au spart limite personale și ale vremurilor au trebuit să se resemneze cu gândul că în Sud sclavia va muri într-o zi, dar nu atât de repede precum și-ar fi dorit-o mințile cele mai luminate ale timpului.

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Dorin Tudoran

Scriitor și publicist
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