A Republican Fate?
Jim Gschwind, PHD
The Despondent Correspondent
What does the future hold for the Republican Party? Is the old fashioned “mainstream” Republican Party doomed to the same fate it dealt out to the Whigs?
I’ve obviously lost you on that one. Not many folks know that Abraham Lincoln formed the Republican Party out of a branch of the old Whig party which became defunct prior to the civil war. Even fewer know that the Democratic Party at the time was the “pro-slavery” party. What us southerners do remember though is that it was thanks to the Democratic party that we had those nasty Jim Crow Laws brought down here by the post civil war democratic “carpet baggers” from up north. Yes, I said “democratic” because that is exactly what they were and they…not republicans who were not in power…..were responsible for the segregation in the south that followed the civil war into modern times during the 60s and 70s. Even fewer people know that republicans did more for civil rights than the Democrats did and in fact JFK and RFK were very reluctant to use the National Guard at the time James Meredith enrolled in college. Even fewer people than that know that the leader of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a republican because he could get very little support from the Democratic Party for his cause at the time. (The King family descendants for the most part remain republican today and have made many appearances for tea-party events, something they claim would be a cause their famous ancestor would back totally as he believed as he preached that “all races” should be equal and that “all races” need to oppose government tyranny).
Our country was founded as a “representative republic” dedicated to individual and states rights and the federal government was supposed to be “limited” in scope with the only real power being “protection of the citizens” from aggression with the rest of the powers allocated to the states. When was the last time you had someone from Washington come down and express interest in your local school board and roads and local zoning laws? Seems continual today but when I was a child, it was “unheard of”. The Civil War would not have occurred if the states that had succeeded from the union had not fired upon union soldiers at Fort Sumter. Washington had no intention at that time of invading the Southern confederate states as they understood that the USA was a “federation” of independent states. Even the northern states acknowledged that concept and embraced it. If nobody had fired a shot, the continental US might still be divided into Confederate states of America and the United States of America today. The North really didn’t think with all their industrial might back then that they “needed” the rouge southern states. In fact the opposite was true, the southern states had almost no industrial capacity at all and were basically agricultural in nature and needed the north for trade more than vice versa. Originally the Civil War was based upon “states rights” such as our current argument also centers around that theme. Abolition of Slavery was not brought into the mix until Lincoln made it so with his emancipation declaration and that was done in order that the Northern Armies might provide employment in military service to freed slaves and also provide a “recruiting” inceptive to anti-slavery northern communities. This was needed as battlefield losses were “massive” and states such as New York were beginning anti-war and anti-draft riots, so something was needed to increase recruitment.
The only other president “impeached” (missed by one vote also) was Johnson who was Lincoln’s Vice President and a Republican who believed as Lincoln did that the south should NOT be punished but brought back peacefully into the union. This was unpopular and the Democratic Party took the lead for the next generation in southern governance in bringing unpopular carpet-bagger Jim Crowe laws into being, basically to punish the south and keep it under the union thumb.
So much for our history lesson exploding the “myths” of republicans and democrats. What we have today is something very similar at least with regard to “states rights” are concerned. The Federal Government has become so all encompassing that the States no longer even have the right to decide their own growth plans with regard to schools, transportation and infrastructure. Elected representatives were being sent to Washington to “straighten things out” and try and “uncorrupt” an absolutely “corrupted” institution. Of course they failed because the “system” in Washington was too ingrained in everyday life. This led to the Tea-party movement which stands for “taxed enough already….i.e. T.E.A” and basically branched into a total grass roots movement that found a home in the republican party but actually tasked itself with keeping BOTH republican and democratic elected leaders responsible to their voting public.
Today we see some success in the integration of the tea-party into the Republican Party. The Tea-party has made it clear, they do NOT want to become a “new” party and replace the republican party but the resistance shown during this primary to anything truly conservative that represents the Tea-party line by “old-guard”, “has been” republicans who can’t grasp the true meaning of the movement and are determined to hold on to what little power they still have might eventually destroy them completely by making them “obsolete” in fact when they are already obsolete dinosaurs as others see them. It seems the “national” republican leadership are the ones out of touch, while local Republican Party organizations are embracing the tea-party more and more.
It has been said that the reason the “old guard” continues to “hold on” is because their power base is IN Washington and that has never been a very conservative city even under President Reagan. The reason most don’t hear much about the tea-party in national politics right now is that they understand and are concentrating their efforts at the local level…i.e. school boards, county commissions, state legislatures in an effort to “build from the bottom” like a REAL grass-roots organization should. And don’t believe for a moment that this is a “white” movement only. I was on the mall for a number of demonstrations and saw firsthand how well mannered and well behaved (ask the DC park police…) these individuals were and that there were Latinos, blacks and whites in attendance all there for the same reason. In fact during the Glenn Beck demonstration, MLKs Niece, Alveda King gave the keynote speech and a group of protesters from the Al Sharpton MLK memorial event heard how many times MLK was mentioned with the founding fathers and honored, that they put their signs down and stayed. Rev. Al could only say “he cheated; he didn’t do what I thought he’d do”. How pathetic! We cleaned up the mall “after ourselves” by the way as opposed to the Comedy Central debacle and the Occupy movement who cost taxpayers in horrible expensive cleanup costs.
The tea-party knows the buttons to push and that the “American” people or at least a good majority are TIRED of politics as usual. What is politics as usual? Republicans refusing to “stand” for something and follow through on promises and laying down refusing to “fight back” when common sense is under attack, they want republicans to “stand FOR the people”. Americans are tired of the incitement of “thug”, “bully” “we know better than you” arrogant democratic party and it’s corrupt ignorance of constitutional law designed to protect Americans from people like them. Both parties practice “crony capitalism” as opposed to the type that made this country a force for GOOD in the world and made us a great people.
The old guard should understand that their day is “over” and if they persist in their reckless support for an archaic past just as those old Whigs did then the days of the “republican” party may be over and the “tea-party” may just change it’s mind and become a NEW party to replace them. If history is any measure, this may indeed happen. The American public is quite frankly fed up with both Republican and Democratic policies and want AMERICAN policies and a return to “common sense”. I think future history will bear me out on this. Both parties better realize that sooner rather than later that their future is totally dependent upon returning representation to the voter/citizen where it belongs.