Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cooper Union Again

The current state of our political discussion, what with Birthers and Teabaggers along with the current Republican Party, which is in the minority, is determined to obstruct all legislation unless it is authored by the Republican Party puts me in mind of the Cooper Union Address by Abraham Lincoln. In particular this part towards the end:

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

Prior to the quoted part Lincoln has described the general state of the debate between the sections and is answering the question, what can Republicans (of his day) do to reach an agreement with the opposition. The Republican Party wanted to reach a peaceful agreement with the Southern opposition. But as the above quote indicates there could be no compromise because the only position tolerable to the Southern Slaveholders was complete surrender to their position.

I would say that today's Republican party has now taken up the same kind of stance that their opposition had in his day.

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