What Do Civil War Democrats and the Tea Party Have in Common?
Lincoln, the movie, is a reminder of all that is right and all that is evil in the great American experiment. It is a story of the government-sanctioned stealing, abuse, and demonization of an entire race of people. It is the story of greed; the greed that made slavery possible and the greed of the congressmen who were bought off one way or another for their vote. It is the story of skirting the law, ignoring the law, and willfully breaking the law. It is the story of bending and twisting the trust given to the highest offices in the land. It is a story of the ends justifying the means.
It is also the story of how the radical and the weak have held the future of America in their hands on the floor of Congress for too long. In the end, slavery was abolished by a margin of two votes. Two votes changed America forever. 148 years later, those who cast those votes for and against are nameless now, and yet we continue to elect the radical and weak. We continue to elect people who show disdain for large chunks of their constituency, be that disdain directed at gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or political ideology.
There is Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, who thinks transvaginal probes are a punch line. Reproductive health is a matter of life and death to over half of his constituents and yet he managed a 56% victory. Missouri's Vicky Hartzler voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act before issuing a press release touting her dedication to protecting women and children.
Iowa’s Steve King calls for "liberals to self-deport," indicating that he is only interested in representing those ideologues whose ideas align with his. Still he won Iowa against the highly qualified and moderate Christie Vilsak with 53% of the vote.
Louie Gohmert of Texas is worried about America’s propensity to fall to Sharia law. Ted Cruz believes that climate change is a conspiracy to subvert American sovereignty. Then there is Michelle Bachmann, whose ideas simply can’t be contained in one brief sentence.
Of course, it isn't just the Tea Party candidates who are radical and weak. In 2012, there were dozens upon dozens of Tea Party, Green, Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates who hold radical beliefs and said weak-minded things. They are nameless now. But these members of Congress actually have a role in shaping our future.
They will, like the congressmen who voted on the question of slavery, one day be nameless. They will be lost to history with only their good or evil decided in hindsight. The larger question raised by Lincoln which has yet to be answered is why do we keep electing people to represent us who don’t?