History serves many purposes.
It serves to let us know where we’ve been and how we got there. It serves to remind us of what worked and what failed. It serves to pick winners and losers. Most importantly though, history serves as a lens through which we can gaze at our own times to determine our future course. It helps to let us know which way to go.
In their effort to repeal, de-fund, delay or otherwise impede the implementation of the disastrous, (the website, Healthcare.gov and integral backend systems alone cost $500 Million) boondoggle known as Obamacare, Conservatives in Congress, led by members of the Tea Party Caucus, have been criticized by the mainstream media as “obstructionist” and “uncooperative”. Worse still, Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama have slanderously refered to the opponents of Obamacare as “anarchists“, “fanatics“, “terrorists” and “hostage-takers“. While it seems as if this response to a political disagreement is somewhat disproportionate, it is somewhat unsurprising, as Democrats have a long history of taking offense to Republican efforts to undermine their tyranny. The fact that the Republican Party began its existence as a direct response to the brutality, oppression and despotism of the Democrat Party plays a large role in the ongoing hostility.
Charles Sumner, a founding member of the Republican Party, was a committed Abolitionist and served as Senator from Massachusetts from 1851-1874. Prior to the Civil War, during the “Bleeding Kansas” crisis of 1856, Sumner attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act. His long speech – titled “Crime against Kansas” – argued on behalf of immediate admission of Kansas as a “Free State”, at the same time that it denounced the Congressional political arm of the slave owners. In his speech, he alleged that their goal was to continue to spread slavery through the free states that had made it illegal. Even allies found his language too strong, one calling it “harsh, vindictive, and slightly brutal”. From Wikipedia:
Two days later, on the afternoon of May 22, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks confronted Sumner as he sat writing at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber: “Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Andrew Butler (Senator, SC), who is a relative of mine.” As Sumner began to stand up, Brooks beat Sumner severely on the head before he could reach his feet, using a thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head. Sumner was knocked down and trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to strike Sumner until Sumner ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat the motionless Sumner until his cane broke, at which point he left the chamber. Several other Senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by South Carolina Representative Laurence M. Keitt who brandished a pistol and shouted, “Let them be!”
From Glenn Beck comes this stark reminder:
“Before the GOP was in existence, it was a two party system – the Democrats and the Whigs,” Beck said. “Charles Sumner was one of the most hated people by the Whigs and the Democrats…so much that he was literally beaten within an inch of his life on the House floor because no one stepped in to stop it.”
“Within four years,” he continued, “Sumner wasn’t the most hated anymore — he was the most beloved man in the Republican Party, and the Whigs were extinct…I’m telling you that’s what’s coming if we stand.”
In looking back at the formation of the Republican Party, one is immediately drawn to historical parallels to the dynamics that face the party today. The party was formed in opposition to Democrat tyranny, masquerading as the “political will of the common man”, and it continues to fight against that same oppression today. Since its founding, the Republican party has been criticized by the establishment and by the leftist oligarchy as “radical” and “fanatical”.
When the fight to stop Obamacare in its tracks came to (verbal) blows, it was no surprise which side was in favor of Freedom, Liberty and Independence, and which side was willing to use hatred, violence and threats to accomplish its goal. The fact remains that neither party has changed much in the last 150 years. Republicans are still fighting on behalf of the American people, and Democrats are still fighting against them.