Just like siblings, the Democrats and Republicans just can't seem to get along with each other. After more than two centuries of squabbling through peace, war, prosperity and decline, I guess it is a bit naive of me to think they would ever put aside party politics for the good of the Nation.
On occasion, I receive a catalogue of rare Americana from David Lesser. Not only are these documents fascinating, they are also a great glimpse of our history which usually falls outside the curriculum of history textbooks. I was particularly taken by a broadside printed around 1864 entitled, Democratic Catechism of Negro Equality.
Who said that all men are created equal? Thomas Jefferson, the Father of Democracy.
Who gave the negroes the right of suffrage in New York: The Democratic Party.
Who presided over the convention which gave this privilege to negroes? Martin Van Buren, a Democrat.
Who married a negro woman, and by her had mulatto children? Richard M. Johnson, a good Democrat.
If President Van Buren had died, and Richard M. Johnson had become President; who would have become the Democratic mistress of the White House? This same negro woman.
This goes on ad nauseam, but the point of the document is to "enlighten" the public that the Democrats were actually the ones responsible for extending Negro civil rights. I find it highly amusing that anyone would "blame" the Democrats, when the Republicans, as in Abraham Lincoln, were known to be supporters of Negro rights.
Looking at the document in today's light, it reflects more of the same rhetoric that we constantly see coming out of Washington. Politicians take credit for what makes their constituency happy and blame someone else for the existing problems. Isn't it also a bit ironic that we actually have a Democratic minority president representing a party which has a large minority backing when the Republicans actually started the whole civil rights movement?
They say history repeats itself, but sometimes it just confounds us.
(If you are a fan of history, check out David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books at www.lesserbooks.com