Wednesday, March 02, 2011

When did up become down?

When exactly did the change happen -- the change during which democrats became republicans and republicans became assholes?

Let's look at a few noteworthy elements. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, republicans -- the party of Lincoln -- were fighting for the rights of freed black slaves to own property, vote, work for money, and other rights that only whites had previously. Republicans were pro-Union (USA, that is) and fought to keep everyone working as one nation. Democrats (Dixiecrats) were shouting "states' rights!" and Jim Crow-lawing the fuck out of freed slaves and black people right into the Civil Rights era, trying to keep alive the old ways of slavery, persecution, and lynching of blacks. Granted, republicans were always pro-business, but labor unions leveled the playing field and made sure that everyone made a fair wage for their work.

Today, it's the democrats who embrace the minorities, who fight for the little guy, who help the businesses but still support the unions. Republicans are now completely in the corporations' pockets, and corporatocracy favors the white man and all the money he can steal from pretty much everyone, black or white. Far-right republicans, or "tea party" supporters, are now the ones who shout "states' rights!" whenever a democratic president wants to do something they don't like. Gay marriage? States' rights to stop that perversion, no matter what Washington says! Legal abortion? States' rights to prosecute those baby-killing doctors and put 'em to death, no matter what the federal laws are! Labor unions? States' rights and "right to work" (i.e., right to be unemployed at the company's will) forever!

When did the switcheroo happen? Why did it happen? When did the republicans become the party of whiteys and the dems become the party of the rest of us? When did republicans say "fuck the Union!" and start hollering "states' rights!" everytime something didn't go their ideological way? I know that George "segregation foe-evah!" Wallace was a republican; my parents hated that guy! But when did that switch happen?

Did republicans, the party of anti-slavery, tap into the racism of the south in order to win the south's vote? Was that it? Or maybe they were always racist, and perhaps I'm unduly equating anti-slavery with anti-racism. Perhaps I'm generalizing that all northerners, and thus all northern republicans, were all pro-integration, pro-civil rights. Maybe it was just the poor ones, the ones NOT in power, who favored treating the black man fairly.

I'm no history scholar; I know only a little, albeit about a lot of things. But this has been rolling around in my brain for a while, as we watch the union battles in Wisconsin between the corporatocracy's republicans versus the common people's democrats. Why do republicans hate unions? Is it pure greed, pure pro-business at the expense of everything else? Hell, democrats are taking a lot of the same corporate money as republicans, but they're still largely supporting labor unions.

So what gives?

6 comments:

Dr. MVM said...

'States rights' is code for being able to discriminate against blacks, gays, Jews, etc.

kirby said...

Greed, plain and simple.

Abu Scooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abu Scooter said...

I'm not sure the GOP has changed so much as U.S. culture has.

Keep in mind that for some elements of the early Republican Party, opposition to slavery was largely about reducing overhead. So long as slavery existed, a manufacturer would have to pay to maintain both his machinery and his slaves. Without slavery, the same industrialist could pay his workers a wage and let them worry about feeding and housing themselves. Overhead down (he was caring for just the machines now), profits up. Freedom and dignity for workers (of whatever ethnicity) were just side effects.

Those elements have always sided with the Republicans, even though the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower weren't.

Mauigirl said...

Actually, George Wallace was a Democrat for most of his career, not a Republican. In fact, most of the South was Democrat in the wake of the Civil War (since Lincoln was Republican). The civil rights movement of the 60s is what changed it. In fact, President Johnson said when he signed the Civil Rights Act into law that he had just turned over the South to the Republicans for the next generation. Sure enough, Nixon used his "southern strategy" to appeal to disaffected white Southerners who disliked racial integration in order to get elected. Since then the GOP, one way or another, has appealed to this sentiment in the south and now, most of the Southern states are "red" instead of Democratic.

gmb said...

Started full speed with Reagan, helped along with Poppy, then that fucking turncoat Clinton, then completely unfettered by W, and then lovingly taint-licked by Obama, who shakes his finger at the dirty fucking hippies for pointing out the obvious (i.e., the middle and working classes are dying). We need to get rid of them all and jail their masters. I'm thinking we may need to start over. But first? We have to take back the media. Until that happens, we are one step away from serfdom (or are we there already?).