Today’s Republican Party, coming off major national repudiation, is engaged in serious self-assessment, weeping, teeth-gnashing and internecine battles for leadership. There is talk about re-branding the Party, not re-branding it, or just killing it off and burying it. This year’s Abraham Lincoln bicentennial should serve as a history lesson and baseline reminder to today’s “just say no to everything because we have no answers” Republicans. (Thanks to fellow neighbor and truthsayer, Monty M. for penning the following for Praajek’s blog)
Leading up to 1860, the Republican Party stood for national unity, government support for economic progress and education; it embraced immigration and equal access for all Americans to the land in the west. The Confederacy was born out of a rejection of that Republican Party.
Confederates were parochial and regional. They opposed government support for new roads, bridges, canals and railroads. Their opposition to the industrial revolution and government support for education was rooted in their dependence on the plantation economy of the South. The Confederates’ were suspicious and hostile toward cities and immigrants; their class-system with plantation owners at the top supported by slaves and their free labor served them well.
Although the Confederates were defeated in their attempt to destroy the country to protect their parochial interests, vestiges of the confederacy lingered. Jim Crow laws challenged Reconstruction and the South continued to lag behind the rest of the county in education, industrial progress and equality. Despite the eventual demise of Jim Crow laws and the success of the Civil Rights movement, the culture of the Confederacy persisted. White Democratic Southerners were ripe for exploitation by the Republicans’ “southern strategy” of the 1960s, effectively transforming the Republican Party into new Confederates.
Today’s Republican Party is now primarily a regional, southern white party. As in the 1860s, there are still some copperheads in the north, some even who recognize this. RNC party-leader Michael Steele, the organization’s first Black, pitifully says he wants to make his party more “hip hop” and appealing to urban Blacks. His hope is an admission that Republicans are now small town, white and rural with little appeal in America’s cities.
America today faces enormous challenges transforming its economy based on new sources of energy and emerging technologies, building a new national infrastructure, health care system and educating young Americans to transform the country. The Republican party continues to be the defenders of old-world big oil, coal and Big Pharmacy, opposing the infusion of new immigrant talent, continually opposing programs such as Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, safety-net nutrition programs such as food stamps and school meals all at the expense of national progress.
The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 unified the Confederates in opposition to everything his Republican Party stood for; it tore the country apart. The New Confederates today, as did their predecessors, stand united in opposition to progress. Lincoln would not recognize his Republican Party today and in honor of his bicentennial the Republican party should change its name to reflect it’s values: the Confederate Party.
For other views on this subject, check out the book, “Neo-Confederacy and the New Dixie Manifesto (Euan Hague, Edward H. Sebesta, and Heidi Beirich).