used to live in memphis. in knoxville now...thats about it
This comment is regarding Phillip Stephenson and his sloppy history of the Republican Party. While I appreciate Mr. Stephenson's attempt at pedagogy, I think he has really misrepresented the ideals of the people who founded the Republican Party by likening them to today's Republicans. As we all know, words are just words, and just because the Republican Party was founded by abolitionists does not mean that contemporary Republicans share their values in sharing their name. An example will illustrate my point. I think its safe to say that most Republicans would prefer that Washington D.C. had as little influence as possible in the life of the average citizen. In other words, modern Republicans prefer less government, not more, and in some cases this preference manifests itself in Republican arguments for state's rights over many aspects of social life. This preference can also be understood as a desire for some type of federalism rather than a strong, centralized government. Now, lets get back to the heart of the problem with Mr. Stephenson's history lesson - Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party fought a war AGAINST FEDERALISM! And this example only demonstrates one of the many fundamental differences between Lincoln's Republicans and Reagan's Republicans. The Modern Republican Party became what it is today in the first half of the last century, primarily through opposition to the New Deal; and how fortunate for Mr. Stephenson's argument that he decided to skip that entire narrative. His nail in the coffin ("the democratic party was established by slaveholders") is also misleading. Yes, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were slaveholders (as were the rest of their peers), and yes they founded the Democratic-Republican Party in 1792 which later splintered into today's Democratic Party among others, BUT, and here's the kicker, THAT DOESN'T MEAN A DAMN THING IN 2008! So Mr. Stephenson, don't try to convince me that contemporary Republicans, because of their wonderful history, should be hailed as champions of civil rights. Because anyone who paid attention in high school U.S. history would know that your letter to the editor is a gross misrepresentation of the actual history of this country. And don't get me wrong, I'd like less government too, much less, but you'll never find me trying to validate my own political ideas by writing revisionist history for some awful political party. And they're ALL awful. So I'll end with a word from George Washington's farewell address regarding the formation of political parties - "They (political parties) are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion"
By Toby Sells
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