-By Warner Todd Huston
First of all, despite all the chest puffing by sports-freaks and rock-music geeks who want to say that Civil War and WWII reenactors are “weird,” the very fact that there are such things as reenactors at all — not to mention sports nuts or music fanatics — is proof that westerners are well off, rich if you will. The existence of Civil War and WWII reenactors is great evidence that the United States is a success.
But first, let’s face the facts. Civil War and WWII reenactors are not any stranger than people that wear those silly looking bicycling clothes with the pointed hats and the skin-tight little pants. They are no goofier than those nut cases that paint themselves in their team colors and spend thousands of their hard-earned wages on time-wasting sports games. Reenactors are no stranger than model railroaders, Internet aficionados, joggers, fishing devotees, health nuts, scrapbookers, model airplane fliers, and any number of the other thousands of hobbies that Americans invest all their free time and spare money into.
And that is just the thing, isn’t it? That Americans have so much spare money and time to waste on hobbies really does show how successful we are as a culture. Put it this way, how many people in poverty-ridden nations can spend $1,000 on a rifle, or hundreds of dollars on clothing recreating those of 150 years ago or more? How many poor nations have people that can afford to buy a $2,000 bicycle, or year after year spend thousands on tickets to sporting events? Well, we can and we do.
Further, Americans aren’t the only ones. Many European nations have their own contingent of reenactors. England has thousands of reenactors of the Napoleonic era — they even reenact the English Civil War and Medieval eras. For that matter, England also has thousands of reenactors of the American Civil War who fly over here to participate in our Civil War events as well as holding their own in Europe and Britain. The same is true in Germany, Russia, France and several other European nations.
But the truth is it is idiotic to assume that every reenactor fully accepts the ideologies, biases, and precepts of the ancients they are recreating. Civil War reenactors are not slavemongers. Germany army reenactors are not Jew killers. Napelonic reenactors are not warmongering Empire builders and/or monarchists.
Can you find some that are a bit goofy here and there? Sure, but you can find an equal number of goofs in bowling, golfing, or the Lions Club, too.
Reenactors are simply interested in history and they span the whole gamut of society. They are doctors, truck drivers, teachers and professors, mechanics, policemen, bartenders, clerks, food service employees, government workers… in short there is almost no profession or level of education that is excluded from WWII or Civil War reenacting.
As we know, comparatively speaking Americans are wonderfully rich. Rich enough not to have to worry about living hand to mouth for the most part. They have time to indulge their hobbies. They have time to sit and dream of the past, read books about history, or waste time listening to music, play chess, ride a bike just for fun and exercise (instead of it being their only form of transportation), play sports and/or attend sporting events.
So, sit back and think for a minute the next time you want to claim that reenactors are “weird.” Ask yourself how weird it is that you can waste so much time on football, or baseball, or music, video games and movies. Then thank your lucky stars that you are an American and you have the free time and money to waste on such extravagances. And pray to God that Democrats don’t lay us so low that we truly are living hand to mouth like the poorest nations are forced to do.
Reenactors truly are a tribute to how great we are.