Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What have they become?

With the Republican National Convention underway, I can't help but throw a bit of a bitch fit.  Republicans today do not stand for what the party was originally founded to support.  The things they are pushing for today, are completely the opposite as why as a young, naive 18 year old I registered as a Republican (shocker huh?  Me, a registered republican?)  So, what do Republicans stand for?  I'll tell you.

Originally, Democrats and Republicans were one party-the Democratic Republicans.  This was the 1800s, before the Civil War.  They wanted small government and a small, agriculture and industrial nation.  It was the Federalists that wanted stronger government and a national economy.  It wasn't until the 1850s that the Republican party was created from the Whigs and abolitionists.

Before the Civil War, it was the Democrats who were predominate in the South.  They wanted to maintain states' rights and, in effect, continue slavery.  They hated the Bank of the U.S. (which hasn't really changed) and subscribed to other Jacksonian ideals.  The Republicans were the progressive party.  Lincoln himself was a Republican.  They opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the extension of slavery, as well as being openly against the decision in the Dred Scott Case.

In 1860, the Republican platform included a call for a high protective tariff (or tax), free homesteads, and a transcontinental railroad.  With Lincoln as their nominee, they won the election and freed the slaves.  Lincoln himself created several government agencies: Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the national banking system.  He passed the Homestead Act, because he understtod the "importance of... having a piece of land to call your own."  He passed the Land Grant College Act, which created universities throughout the country by donating land for agricultural and technical colleges to the states.

Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed the 14th Amendment in 1868, passed the National Eight Hour Law (which while only limited government workers to 8 hour work days, set a precedent for all workers), passed the 15th Amendment in 1870 (which guarantees voting rights to all citizens of age), authorized equal pay for female government employees in 1872, the Pendleton Act in 1883 (which required at least 10% of the bureaucracy to be a professional workforce and created the Civil Service Commission), and in 1890 passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.  Later Roosevelt,  a Republican, used this act to break up several large monopolies.

Roosevelt did several things today's Republicans would find appalling.  He became involved with foreign policy by supporting the creation of the Panama Canal.  He negotiated the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the conflict between Japan and Russia.  In 1906, he passed laws concerning safe food and meat production.  Later, he began naming forests as federal reserves and created the Department of Labor.

In 1919, the Republican party successfully passed the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.  The first woman elected to Congress was a Montana Republican in 1917.

In the 1920s, the party ran on platform opposing the League of Nations, high tariffs, and promoting business interests.  These low tariffs and business policies led to great prosperity until 1929 when Wall Street crashed.  The hands off approach by the party led to FDR being elected in 1932. I n 1940, they became them first major political party to support and endorse and equal rights amendment for women.  When Eisenhower was elected he created the Interstate Highway System and continued American space exploration, as well as creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Civil Rights Commission and the civil rights division in the Justice Department.  These led to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which kept the government from interfering with blacks wanting to vote.

The first mention of bipartisan effort in any of my research was when the parties joined together on foreign policy after the Republican support for the nation's war effort (began by the Democrats).  In fact, it was the Republicans that were usually against the wars the US fought. 

It wasn't until Nixon was elected in 1968 that the Republican party began believing that America had the best form of government.  It was then that the country began having a larger role in world politics and promoting the values of the country.  He reopened relations with China, helping with globalization, ended the country's involvement in the Vietnam War, signed arms control treaties, promoted our manned space program, brought inflation under control by implementing the traditional Republican policy of fiscal control and by cutting the dollar loose from the gold standard, and helped to pass the Clean Air Act.

Reagan followed.  He increased military spending and had the largest peacetime military buildup in US history.  However, his revamping of the tax code exempted million of those with low incomes and eliminated many deductions.  He had the Iran-contra affair to mar his record, where the US sent arms to Iran without Congressional approval and to Nicaraguan guerrillas.

Bush Sr., supported free trade, Middle East peace, and NATO.

What has the Republican party become?  They supported W. when he invaded Iraq on a lie of nuclear weapons.  Granted I understand we had been attacked, but because he couldn't figure out who did it he fabricated a report.  Yet many still think he was in the right.  He created tax cuts that left the lower and middle classes to pay for the functionings of our government.  This led to over $3 trillion in debt.  Something that was almost unheard of in the Republican party before.

Once they supported civil and individual rights.  Now they want to deny gays the right to marry.

They once respected the Constitution and, therefore, the separation of church and state as that is created by the Constitution.  Now they want to impose Christian values on all of those in this country and create laws that reflect this, when the Constitution states that the government cannot do so.

They have always wanted small government and less government regulation in our lives.  But by passing laws on marriage, "legitimate" rape, and other similar things creates more regulations and more of the government "butting into our lives."

Before they supported helping the middle and lower classes with tax cuts and the Homestead Act, now they rally for corporate and wealthy tax cuts as well as not helping the homeless or unemployed.

They stood for education at one point; they actually created many of the universities around the country.  Now they want to stop funding education and helping students afford education beyond the secondary level.

They have always supported businesses but not to the extent of putting them over their constituents.  With corporate tax cuts, out sourcing, and the like they are hurting our economy, putting us out of work, and creating wider gaps between economic classes.

These are all stances held by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Please consider who you support and what they stand for before you vote this November.  Do your homework.  Realize these policies are not helping our country, but hurting it.  We are becoming a nation that discriminates based on religion, sex, sexuality, and tax bracket.

The Democrats are not perfect, not by a long shot, but they are not trying to take away the things they gave you.  Republicans are backing out of so many things they promised with the laws they passed in our country's history and are now passing laws that will in effect repeal or block them.


1 comment:

Andrew Piller said...

Thanks for your great writing. You wrote a deep thinking on this topics.