You know you are losing an election when you and your party are compared to the ‘planter elite’ that reigned, in the US, in the mid 1800’s. An essay by Mike Lux is a stinging indictment of what passes for Republican party politics today and he compares it to the politics of John C. Calhoun and the later ‘Robber Barons’ of the 1880’s. Ouch. One really doesn’t bring back the dead like John C. Calhoun unless it’s serious and I believe that this time in history is serious for the choice we all need to make on Tuesday.
But history calls to us in every election year, and there are some big things moving and shaking this time around, too. On the one side we hear the echoes of John C. Calhoun, the Social Darwinists and Robber Barons of the 1880s, the people who cried out that Social Security and the New Deal would lead us to slavery, the Southerners who said that states’ rights trumped civil rights, and the selfishness-is-a-virtue-charity-is-weakness philosophy of Ayn Rand. On the other side, we hear the call for community and equal opportunity that is reminiscent of the Pilgrims, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and Martin Luther King. We should choose to be on the right side of history.
The Republican definition of freedom has become that of Calhoun and the Southern plantation elite of the 1800s. Freedom to them was the freedom to do whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted to do it, and they were quite explicit about that. When Romney and Ryan extol freedom, wanting to lift the burden of regulation and taxes from those job creators on Wall Street, wanting to celebrate the “makers” (wealthy people) in contrast with the “takers” (those folk who get Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and the like), they are echoing Calhoun’s celebration of the planter elite.
If you think this is hyperbole, a Republican friend of mine admires Andrew Carnegie, totally ignoring the terrible working conditions the man practiced in creating his empire.
So, do you want to move forward, out of the mess from 2008, or backwards, all the way back to the 1800’s?
*Side Note* John C. Calhoun was a flip-flopper so he also has that in common with Romney