Friday, April 17, 2009

What a Difference One Hundred Fifty Years Makes

The Republican Party, born in the midst of talk of secession, sectional rivalries, slavery, and war, has turned one hundred eighty degrees from its founding fathers' outlook. Abraham Lincoln is probably turning in his grave today, with his party holding a death grip on his old rival, the South. One state of the old Confederacy has its governor talking secession, while the other southern state Republican parties cater to the racist, anti-United States base.
Lincoln strove to preserve the Union and fought a terrible war to achieve that end.

Today's party appears ready to strike the match of revolt in an effort to tear the Union apart once again. It is a party of intolerance and religious fundamentalism that would rival the Taliban should it ever achieve the totalitarian power that it appears to desire. Daily it seems less inclined to accept the American Constitutional government, appealing elections, filing lawsuits over voting, and increasing the negative rhetoric about voter fraud in many instances of Republican losses.

The Democratic Party of 1860 was the Republican Party of today. It was willing to sacrifice its young men, ultimately, to preserve a "peculiar institution" that threatened to destroy its very being. Yes, there were the states rights issues and the northern industrialist's desire to hold the south in servitude. At the root of it all was the south's determination to hold on to the slavery induced agricultural base that brought wealth and power to southern planters.

Southern Democrats of that day were like the modern day Republican Party, intolerant of African Americans with a belief system steeped in fundamentalist Christianity. As today's Republicans lift passages from the Bible to support their ant-Gay, anti-Abortion stances, the Democrats of 1860 found those that supported their desire to enslave their fellowman.

Today, the Democratic party is inclusive of African-Americans, gays, pro-choice, Christian and non-Christian. It caries on its books of membership, a wide range of beliefs from center-right to far left. It doesn't have all of the answers and it has taken some stances that are repulsive to many. Yet, for me at this time it more closely represents my views than anything else offered to me. Libertarianism comes close, but I can't accept all of it. Should the Democratic Party fail, as the Republican Party has, the Libertarian Party stands ready to fill the void. Many Democrats and Republicans could probably easily make the transition.

As a fellow blogger, Michael Westmoreland-White has said, there are other parties than stand ready to take on Republicans and Democrats. We may see a major change in this country's political structure in the next eight to ten years, as presidents form coalition governments that are more inclusive and less partisan in their make-up. For political junkies it will be interesting to watch. For those steeped in the partisan rhetoric of Democrat/Republican rivalries, frustration might be a better word.


That Baptist Ain't Right said...

That was a great post! You are right: there is a void right now that either the Democrats or the Libertarians should fill. The Core of the GOP has turned extremist. Be careful: if a few had their way, you would be locked up for anti-gov't speech.

Diane J Standiford said...

LOL, I'll bail you out GMM. Yes, this is an interesting time to be alive. How will history judge us? I wonder...