This war is for America’s soul: Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and how wealthy white elites protect themselvesRoundup
tags: election 2016, Paul Ryan, Trump
Today’s political crisis is the latest phase of a conflict that began a century and a half ago. The fight is over two fundamentally different ideas about the nature of America. On one side are those who believe that that every hardworking person should be able to rise. On the other are those who believe that wealthy white men should always rule over a permanent class of workers.
This fight was bred into the nation’s DNA when the Declaration of Independence promised equality of opportunity but the Constitution defended property. It did not break into the open, though, until the 1850s, when wealthy southern leaders felt their control of the government slipping. To protect their authority, they articulated, and then defended, a class-based vision of a nation dominated by a wealthy elite.
They lost the Civil War, but their vision did not disappear. It is now the driving force among Republican leaders.
When Paul Ryan talks about “makers and takers,” National Review denigrates minorities and poor whites, and Republican legislatures suppress the vote, they are echoing the ideas, the language, and the actions of Civil War-era slave owners.
Like today’s Republicans, slaveholders advanced the elitist version of America when they realized that they no longer controlled a majority of the popular vote. They were accustomed to using the government to advance their own interests, and had no intention of permitting their domination of the country to erode. To entrench their authority, they glorified their culture, rewrote American history, manipulated the laws, and tried to override the popular will. Republicans today are in the same predicament, and they are using the same formula. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- How the US stole thousands of Native American children
- A history of selling out the Kurds, people with 'no friends but the mountains'
- 9 Landmark Supreme Court Cases That Shaped LGBTQ Rights in America
- A newspaper accused the president’s family of profiting from a foreign deal. The president sued.
- Here are the indigenous people Christopher Columbus and his men could not annihilate
- Serhii Plokhii on Ukraine’s Political Frontiers
- ‘Return to the Reich’ Review: Refugee Redux
- Black Perspectives Announces Online Forum Honoring the Life and Work of Dr. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
- It was the nation’s largest auction of enslaved people. Now, a search for descendants of the ‘weeping time.’
- Historians Jon Meacham, Mark Summers, Keri Leigh Merritt, Michael Ross, Brenda Wineapple, and Benjamin Railton Featured in Article on Andrew Johnson and Impeachment