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Examiner
  • What would the founders say?

  • Many conservatives claim to have channeled the minds of the founding fathers to justify the status quo or even advocate a reversion to conditions that prevailed in what they think of as the “good old days” – when religious and ethnic minorities were suppressed and women knew their place.

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  • To the editor:
    Many conservatives claim to have channeled the minds of the founding fathers to justify the status quo or even advocate a reversion to conditions that prevailed in what they think of as the “good old days” – when religious and ethnic minorities were suppressed and women knew their place.
    What the mind-readers conveniently ignore is that Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and Madison’s Constitution provide ample evidence that they were the radical progressives of their day, eagerly breaking with tradition for a better tomorrow. I think they would take us to task for how reluctantly we implement their vision. I am convinced they would laud the abolition of slavery, the institution of universal suffrage, the economic juggernaut that evolved as a consequence of trust-busting and union activism, and the extension of civil rights to all citizens. However, I also believe they would be quick to criticize our imperial tendencies and the inequalities perpetuated in our treatment of the poor, minorities, women, immigrants and even the gay community.
    Abraham Lincoln saved the union and abolished slavery. Theodore Roosevelt saw that greedy titans of industry were getting rich at the expense of the masses – and he busted the trusts. The promise of civil rights for all is in large part a legacy of Democrats. Harry Truman integrated the armed services, and Lyndon Johnson “lost the South” for Democrats by pushing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts through Congress. What they all shared, regardless of party affiliation, was the vision of the founding fathers.
    Statesmen do what’s right for the nation, regardless of short-term consequences. Party should be a distant third behind the well being of the citizenry and national interests. By openly stating that the principal goal of Republicans was to assure that Obama was a one-term president, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clearly failed the test of statesmanship. Obstructing progress might serve as a political statement, but radical elements that control today’s GOP have nothing else. Where are the Republican statesmen of today?
     
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