General Fiction posted April 6, 2017

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A letter from Decemeber 20, 1860

The Sins of the Father

by Mark Valentine

I voted Contest Winner 

I voted. History will record the ordinance passed 169-0. I voted with the majority because I convinced myself that my vote was inconsequential. Did it matter whether the final vote was 169-0 or 168-1? Either way South Carolina was leaving the union. Thus, I voted with the majority to save my marriage to your mother, to avoid estranging friends and family, to keep my seat in the state legislature. I voted with the majority because I am a coward.

I now know that my vote was of immeasurable consequence – its price was my soul. When you are old enough to ponder such questions, my son, you may wonder how it was that men who called themselves Christians came, not only to tolerate evil, but to embrace it; to call evil good, and good evil. This nation may well not survive the coming year, but even should it persevere for another hundred years or five hundred, the institution of slavery will be an indelible stain on our collective soul. We cast our lot with Satan even as we sang “Amazing Grace” from the pews each Sunday.
There are those who will say, “But surely, the Negro is not our equal. We do him a kindness by providing him work and food”, or “But, Mr. Lincoln is a tyrant who would enslave the southern white man to save his precious Negro. If he is for it, we must be against.” Their mental contortions and twisted logic will go to any lengths to avoid the truths that should be self-evident to any man. They see sinners everywhere but the mirror. They look at Satan and see God.

Is there a God? If so, how must He look upon a vote of 169-0? How must He look upon me?

But our Lord and Savior shows us a way out of sin. It is not an easy way. Given that it is all but certain that war is coming, I must fight in that war to cleanse my sin. I must fight on the side of the North to ensure that you will grow up in a nation that honors God with more than empty words and hollow hearts.  I must take up arms against kith and kin to belatedly declare my allegiance to a higher good. In so doing, I know I risk making an orphan of you, but it is better that you should grow up without a father than to know that he stood idly by as human beings were bought and sold.

On the morrow, I shall leave for Illinois and join with those who seek to avenge the blood of the slaves by exacting blood from the masters. Should God ordain that my own blood be spilt in that endeavor, so be it. May it be expiatory, and may it ensure that the sins of the fathers are never visited upon the son.

Ever your loving father,

Nathan Martin


Writing Prompt
Write a flash fiction story beginning with the words "I voted - " You can continue the sentence as you wish. Beyond the opening lines there are no rules. Maximum word count is 500 words.

I voted
Contest Winner

On December 20, 1860, shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. The did so by a vote of 169-0 in their state legislature. I imagine many of the legislators considered themselves Christians. This is a fictional insight into the conscience of one of the 169.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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