“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid,” Abraham Lincoln said in 1855. “As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ Soon it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
Though I am no fan of Lincoln, who was nothing short of a despot himself, I do believe his quote is as applicable today as it ever was. Do we not have a “base alloy of hypocrisy” in regards to our land of liberty? We seem to want to uphold our ideals, praise our Founders, and celebrate the 4th of July with picnics and parades. But in this day and age do we really believe it?
If we do, why then do we allow our federal government to run roughshod over the Constitution and the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence? Why did we just re-elect a man president who clearly does not hold any of these values? Continue reading
It doesn’t happen very often but occasionally a political party folds up its tent and goes home. In the 1850s, the once proud Whig Party of Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster collapsed. The main culprit was the expansion of slavery into the federal territories, a volatile issue that became a fissure, splitting the party in two and leading to its ultimate extinction.
It happened before and it could very well happen again. Just hours after Romney’s loss to Obama, the GOP began handwringing over the possible reasons why the unthinkable happened. Two answers have been put forth so far, with both sides facing off against each other. A great fissure is shaping up within the party, just like the Whigs in the 1850s.
The Whigs had what amounted to a pro-choice attitude toward slavery. They could get no consensus on that issue, so they fell apart. Today’s Republicans seemingly cannot agree about immigration and the continuation of the welfare state. So that is the essence of the debate: is our problem demographics or the welfare state? My answer: It’s demographics AND the welfare state. If not addressed, both issues will kill the party and the republic. Continue reading
Along with many in the Republican Party and the conservative movement, I was profoundly shocked at the loss Mitt Romney suffered at the hands of Barack Obama, a weak president with a pathetic record. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised since we had a weak and pathetic candidate ourselves, but I held out hope that things were swinging in our direction. It was not to be.
The question on the minds of many, including the GOP, is how this happened. Was it because of shifting demographics? That fact certainly played a role. With millions of Hispanics pouring into the country for decades, once reliable red states are now reliably blue, as that group voted 71 percent for Obama.
Was it because the conservative white base is shrinking, or that conservative white voters did not turn out? Both are true. Romney gained three million fewer votes than did John McCain in 2008, and McCain was no conservative favorite. Continue reading
It seems we never learn. Every now and then, the American people hand some poor soul, undeserving in many cases, the national levers of power. And in each and every instance, it has cost us dearly. There are several historical periods of note.
John Adams, himself a political giant, was imminently qualified for the presidency, at least on paper. But he had the most unenviable of tasks, perhaps in all of American history. He had to follow George Washington as president. And he did a lousy job.
Rather than reverse course from what Washington and Alexander Hamilton had begun, Adams built on it, continuing an oppressive system of taxation and top-down management of the nation’s affairs. A people who had just fought a war of independence over taxation now saw the imposition of an even more draconian system, one that included direct federal taxes on everything from whiskey and tobacco to land and homes. Continue reading