Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Just a brief report from MA

Since I confided to you that Massachusetts voters had the option to repeal our income tax, I thought I ought to let you know that we had the good sense to pass on the option. We did not repeal our income tax. We also voted to do away with greyhound racing on a 4 year schedule, and to reduce the penalties for possession of an ounce of marijuana to a fine. We also voted blue for the Prez and our senator Kerry.

What a difference 145 years makes! From 1863, the year of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the states of the Confederacy to 2008, is 145 years. And black people in the United States of America have moved in that time from being treated as chattel to becoming electable as the President. The other astonishing thing is that the party which nominated Barack Obama is not the Republican party, but the Democrats!

I was looking at a book of essays by Civil War historian James McPherson, This Mighty Scourge. One of the things that was striking was the shift between what the Republicans stood for in the 1800's and now, and the Democrats as well. And the geographic coverage has nearly completely flipped as their social messages have flipped. The deep South now has a strong Republican leaning, which would never have been predicted when the GOP was the party of Lincoln, the party that freed the slaves and brought about the Reconstruction. The Democrats were the party that held the loyalty of the South at that time. The interests of the regions' races have not shifted so much, but the parties' rhetoric and social agendas have nearly completely switched. I wonder what Lincoln would think?

1 comment:

Marie S. Newman said...

Lincoln would not recognize today's Republican Party.