‘Going easy on these people will not work’

Mike Lofgren, an anti-Trump former Republican insider, said in an interview for Salon that pro-Trump zealots need to be crushed, banished and ostracized.

It is necessary to see the historical analogies that tell us what works and what doesn’t work.  The thing that pops into everyone’s mind is the Civil War.

People tend to get all misty-eyed about Lincoln’s statement, “With malice toward none, and charity for all.”   That was his second inaugural address in March of 1865.

What were the results?  A couple of weeks later, what he got out of it was a bullet in the head.  What Blacks got out of it was Jim Crow.  What Confederates got was pardons, amnesties, dropped charges and the ability to rewrite history.

The rest of us were saddled with them, and now we have a large portion of the country — a single region that is basically a Third World state.

Source: Mike Lofgren | Salon.com

Okay, let’s look at historical analogies.  Abraham Lincoln bore no animosity toward the white people of the South.  But he was willing to wage a war that resulted in the greatest killing of white people of any war of the 19th century.  More Americans died in our Civil War than in all the wars of the 20th century.

General William Tecumseh Sherman in his march through Georgia burned crops, slaughtered livestock and destroyed farmhouses and workshops.   General Phil Sheridan did the same in the Shenandoah Valley.

Not only the Confederates, but much of the world at large regarded them as moral monsters.  All this was done with Lincoln’s approval, but not out of malice.

In his speeches, Lincoln never said anything to inflame hatred.  But this did not make him weak.  It did not stop him from doing what he thought had to be done.

The Union government for a decade made a good-faith effort to guarantee equal rights to the slaves, with some success.

This came to an end in 1876 not through an excess of Christian charity and forgiveness, but through a corrupt bargain of the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties.

In that year, the results of the Presidential election were disputed.  Republicans agreed to allow the Democrats, then the party of white supremacy, to control the South in return for allowing the Republican candidate to occupy the White House.

Even though the two parties worked together at the top level, leaders both kept the memories and hatreds of the Civil War alive.  This diverted attention from their underlying agreement to support corporate monopoly and oppose labor rights.

Today, so-called “red America” and “blue America” are so polarized that there is talk of a new Civil War.  Top-level leaders of both parties keep these antagonisms alive.

This diverts attention from their underlying agreement to support unending war and corporate monopoly and oppose labor rights.

Crazy fanatics need to be kept from political power by all legal means.  Violent lawbreakers need to be punished according to law.

But the USA is a nation that is hurting.  A politics that begins and ends with crushing enemies is not enough.  Progressives need to keep their eyes on the prize.

LINKS

Longtime GOP insider Mike Lofgren on his former party: “Going easy on these people will not work,” an interview for Salon.

Biden could curb right-wing extremism with one weird trick: Ending the U.S. ‘forever war’ by Will Bunch for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Epidemic of Despair Could Haunt America Long After COVID by Lynn Parramore for the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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2 Responses to “‘Going easy on these people will not work’”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I fear you are preaching to deaf ears. We have two political groups, both of whom feel entitled to run the show because “obviously” they are right and anyone who doesn’t toe the line is a rotten (fill in the blank with all your favorite epithets) bastard.

    I really wish the GOP and the Democrats would break up into 4 parties. And then realize that you while can’t get everything you want, sometimes with a bit of horse-trading you can get what you need.

    Like

    • philebersole Says:

      I think the four largest factions in American politics are:

      1. Voters who see Trump as a political messiah.
      2. Voters who fear Woke Democrats so much they un-enthusiastically voted for Trump.
      3. Voters who fear MAGA Republicans so much they un-enthusisatically voted for Biden.
      4. Voters who don’t see any point in supporting either Trump or Biden.

      The fourth group is the largest and fastest-growing faction.

      Like

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