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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 05:54 PM
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The Nature of Democracy and the GOP
Once upon a time, 230 years ago, a bunch of assorted colonists from many lands and at least two continents decided that they were getting the short end of the stick and fought to cut loose from the King of England. They were delusional fools, and they freely admitted it. They weren't even particularly unified, and families and communities were split in the Revolution and the aftermath.

They fought with guns and knives and powder, they fought with diplomacy and publicity, but mostly they fought with words. Using the latest in social and economic theory (this was the time of the Enlightenment, and it wasn't just a fancy Madison Avenue buzzword, folks, since Madison Avenue had mercifully not been invented yet), the soon to be former colonists sent their best male minds to Congress to hammer out a new social contract. (They left the women home to deal with everyday things, like survival).

The new social contract (Thomas Jefferson, chief architect) was not universally loved, but a compromise was eventually reached to which all 13 representative nation-states agreed. The rest is history. The question is: does that Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution that followed it, have any future left?

The most striking feature of the Declaration was the axiom that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, etc, etc,
those ringing words that still lift the soul. This was indeed a revolutionary concept.

In a subsistence lifestyle as most of the country faced at that time, there was no leisure class, or damn little of it. Every worker, male, female, black, white, whatever, young, old, hale or creaky, was valued. And all were interdependent. Bigots didn't last long. Prejudice was a luxury reserved only for those whose wealth could insulate them from nature in the raw, and such people preferred to live in decadent Europe anyway if they could afford it.

By some accumulated wealth of hard work and fortune, a new nation was born. And immediately, the principle of all men are created equal began to get hedged in and shaved down. The majority: women, natives and Africans were eliminated right off the bat. Men were restricted by how much property they did or didn't control, and the concept of citizenship took root.

After several bloody civil wars, including one officially so-designated, the franchise, or right to vote on national decisions, was extended out to the poorer men, the African descendants, the women and the descendants of native Americans.

With the widening of the voting base, and the removal of legal inequities that followed from the expansion of the franchise, and the concepts of unions and workers' rights, Americans and America became richer, more powerful, better-educated, healthier, more benevolent, and a beacon to the rest of the world. It was a good and desirable thing, to be an American.

Which brings us to approximately 1967 and the development of the modern Republican Party, or GOP.

There were large numbers of American citizens who, for one reason or another, felt fear and loathing of their fellow citizens. Some loathed the descendants of Africans or the Asians that came to settle, some loathed the native Americans, some feared the poor, some despised women, and far too many rejected all these groups in a bigotry as breathtaking as it was absurd. They all found a home in the GOP, and set out to take a stodgy, commercially ruthless party and turn it into an engine of destruction of the perceived enemies of the Elite. If there is one characteristic that bound all these people together, it was ignorance: the commercial ruthlessness was combined with a complete rejection of any knowledge or experience that might mitigate it.

And so, America began to die. There were riots, there were war protests, there were drugs to escape the worsening conditions, and there were smaller and smaller opportunities for all. And behind every retreat from the promise of America, there was the GOP, destroying with fear and lies what Imperial England could not hold back.

We are at the crossroads now. This generation has the crisis: do we destroy the ignorance and greed and corruption of the GOP and its enablers in other parties, or does this great dream turn into a living and dying nightmare? There are no white horses, no knights, no friendly powers to come pull our bacon out of the fire. Under the leadership of the crime family that pretends to be our legally elected, representative government, all possible allies are enemies now. We have no choice: for ourselves and our children and all the children to come, we must resist. And we must prevail. FAILURE IS IMPOSSIBLE, our founding Mother, Susan B. Anthony said. So mote it be.

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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 06:08 PM
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1. No bigotry? No leisure class?!
"In a subsistence lifestyle as most of the country faced at that time, there was no leisure class, or damn little of it. Every worker, male, female, black, white, whatever, young, old, hale or creaky, was valued. And all were interdependent. Bigots didn't last long."

I'm sorry, but I can't let that pass uncommented. There was indeed a wealthy class at the time of the revolution. There were traders and bankers in Boston and New York. Nantuckett and New Bedford had already started their whaling industries, that led to many men's fortunes. Fur was exported. The slave trade still carried thousands of captives from Africa to lives of hard labor. All that shipping led to an industry of building those ships. The south had its own wealthy class in the large plantation owners. Picturing everyone in colonial America as living a subsistence existence is simply a mistake. The wealthy might have been few, but they also were well represented among those who led the revolution. And there already was a middle class of smithies, joiners, smaller merchants, physicians, dentists, and similar trades.

As to bigotry, keep in mind that slavery was well-entrenched. Yes, black workers were valued. And bought and sold.
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