What Would Lincoln Say?

In an MSNBC blog written on February 13, 2013 the formation of the Republican Party was described as follows:

“On February 28, 1854, a small group of abolitionists met in a tiny church in Ripon, Wisconsin, to discuss their efforts to oppose slavery.  After hours of discussion, the group dubbed themselves Republicans, and the party of Lincoln was formed.  Their main cause? Abolishing slavery, and establishing that all men could truly be equal.”

On Friday, February 28, 2013, Rachael Maddow of MSNBC said:

“There is something drastically wrong in America when the same political party that tries to take away Voting rights, Civil rights, Human rights, Religious rights, Social rights and Constitutional rights encourages people to take up arms in fear that “government” is taking away our rights.”

What is truly confusing is that the party that is described above as “the party of Lincoln” is the same party described by Rachael Maddow.  How could this be?  How did it transition from a party primarily concerned with human freedom, equality and dignity, to a party of hate, fear and elitism?  Is it possible that today’s Republican Party is rooted in the Republican Party described above?  The answer is, obviously not!  That Republican Party died decades ago, but it refused to acknowledge its death.  It just kept the old name, but became something entirely different.  
If we look at the Republican Party of Richard Nixon, with its “Southern Strategy” an effort to take advantage of the Segregationists South as a voting block against the Civil Rights oriented Democrats, we see the first major change in the focus of the Republican Party.  In fact, this change moved it 180 degrees away from its original focus.  It wasn’t too far a stretch to move from there to attract the Evangelicals and Conservative views on all social issues from abortion and contraception to Gay rights and Gun Control.   The government became the enemy and as if in some kind of “double speak”, freedom became government control.  Finally, Fiscal Conservatives found a home in a party that was anti-regulation and anti-union.  The name is the same, but the party couldn’t be further from its origins. 

The Republican Party of Lincoln died long ago.  What we have today is a dangerous group of hate mongers who are afraid that the government will regulate our guns, but welcomes the government into our bedrooms to regulate our sex lives.  How far the “party of Lincoln” has fallen.  What would Lincoln say?

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