Friday, September 19, 2008

Political History

It never fails. Every election cycle, it seems, requires that both the candidates and the media bemoan the lack of civility, mudslinging, dirty tricks, and the alleged unprecedented level of vitriol in the campaigns.

This election is no different. Sarahcuda gets her Yahoo account hacked (somebody REALLY needs to school her on the basics of password security) Rush gets his statements misquoted, McCain lies about Obama, on and on. That's just today.

Same as it ever was...

Except it used to be worse. I'll name two examples.

In the runup to the Civil War, in 1856, to be exact, Sen. Charles Sumner was severely beaten on the very floor of the Senate by one Preston Brooks, beaten with a cane so severely he did not return to the Senate for years. Mr. Brooks was incensed over insults to his uncle, Andrew Butler. Sumner, in a famous speech entitled "The Crime Against Kansas" had insulted Butler severely, to include mocking Butler mannerisms that were the result of having suffered a stroke.

In the election of 1828, Jackson named his opponent, John Quincy Adams, as a monarchist, spendthrift, sybarite, and a procurer. (In modern terms, a pimp). Jackson was called a gambler, cockfighter, drunkard, and insane. The Democrats today use a donkey as their mascot after Jackson was called a jackass, and proudly adopted the animal as the party symbol.

Jackson eventually shot and killed a man in a duel (one of the many duels in his life) after his political opponents had the man insult Jackson's wife.

So, are the campaigns of today negative? Certainly. Will this incivility endanger the Republic? I don't think so. There are many potential dooms in our future, but, if history is to be our guide, Palin Derangement Syndrome, the JSM and BHO camps calling each other names, and spinning fact into fiction, don't even quiver the DoomMeterTM needle.

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