When the entire South, including the Democrat Party, was fighting to keep slavery, it was our Republican President and most Republicans in congress, who went against the grain, maintaining their convictions to abolish slavery. When it seemed as though the votes were not there to pass the Amendment, Lincoln stepped up and increased the pressure to get those votes.
This past weekend, I went to see Lincoln, a well made movie about the trials and tribulations of President Lincoln, and the process endured to eradicate Slavery. It showed how the congress at that time, manipulated, “purchased”, and negotiated votes, much like in today’s congress.
While hundreds of thousands of Americans fought each other, killing and dying for what they knew to be the future of the country, politicians were in the middle of negotiating the 13th Amendment, spearheaded by President Lincoln.
I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to hold your ground back then. Lincoln’s life was threatened multiple times, and previous assassination attempts had failed to get him off course. But despite the temptation to give in, even receiving pressure from the “Conservative” ranks of the Republican Party to stop the passage of the 13th Amendment, Lincoln persevered.
He wasn’t concerned with those naysayers who could only see Black people mingling among Whites as the destruction of America. He only thought of the slaves, and his belief that God created all men equally. He knew it was a difficult decision, but that he must hold the line.
Today, we’re faced with a similar situation regarding immigration. Some in the Republican Party “Conservative” wing, feel there is no need to resolve our illegal immigration issues. And because they feel this way, the rest of the Party is at their mercy. It doesn’t matter what we do at the State Party level because although we may develop a solution, unless it is implemented at the Federal level, it’s worthless. In reality, it’s simply an exercise in what could happen if our solutions actually made it to the RNC.
But what would Lincoln do? Would he simply turn a blind eye and act as if nothing were happening? I doubt it. I would like to think he would say to his congress, “It is up to you to solve this problem, and I expect our Party to lead on this issue, as we did on Slavery. It will not be easy. You will be called names, and some may not be reelected, but for the betterment of this nation, we must resolve this now.”
Wishful thinking…I know.
When all we get is pieced-together legislation that dances around the issue, one begins to wonder if Republicans even understand what’s at stake. Why can’t we resolve this problem? Instead, we merely create bills that only deal with a fraction of the real problem.
Would Lincoln have accepted “slavery-light?” Would he have appeased his base and the other party by only allowing Slaves born in America to be emancipated, while those brought here against their will were allowed to remain the property of their owners?
Sometimes I wonder if Lincoln could get today’s Republican officials to do anything.