Punchinello’s Chronicles

November 5, 2008

The Meaning of Republican

Filed under: Word of the Day — Punchinello @ 11:00 pm
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We hear a lot about the Republicans, and of course the Democrats. They’re the two major political parties in America at the moment, and everyone seems to have visions of what the terms mean.

A “republican” is someone who stands for an organized government by citizens of a republic. In most cases, the political ideology stands in opposition to a monarchy or aristocracy. A monarchy is essentially government by a king or queen, typically including succession through family lines.

The American Republican party began in 1854 as a reaction against the advancement of slavery into the new Kansas territory. According to Wikipedia, it was a civilian disagreement with the Southern aristocracy in control of the federal government at the time. The two major parties then, were the Democrats and the Whigs.

This Whig party was formed for the purposes of increasing the power of Congress over the Executive branch (the President). At the time, Andrew Jackson was using the presidency to make life annoying.

The original Republican purpose was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have spread the economic power of slavery into the new states then being formed. Throughout it’s history, the party has stood in opposition to slavery. Ironically, many people perceive the Democrat party as being the engineers of freedom and civil rights.

Beyond the basic premise of eliminating slavery, the Republicans held that power should be in the hands of American citizens. The country should be developed, using the still emerginc concepts of capitalism. There should be widespread (universal) education, common banking, technological and industrial development, and an equitable opportunity for wealth across the board.

My, my; how far we’ve come from those original ideals!

Today, we have exactly the aristocracy (and oligarchy) so rejected 150 years ago. An oligarchy is government by a small, elite group of powerful people. It often refers to government by wealthy business owners but how different is that from the wealthy men and women in Congress today?

Where is the actual party of advocacy for the American citizen who holds true the values of decency, freedom, responsibility, happiness and home? It certainly isn’t the modern Republican party, and it hasn’t been the Democratic party since that party’s inception.

The now inevitable shift into Liberal and Conservative comes from the fundamental disenfranchisement of everyday Americans by the political system. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the slightest idea of what core values drive most working Americans. Nor does mainstream journalism have a clue as to the hearts and minds of common Americans.

The so-called Fourth Estate isn’t controlled by memos descending from on high. The news media isn’t spouting bias and blather because they’re told to do so. Mainstream journalists continue to believe they represent the overall attitudes, values, beliefs, and thoughts of the average American. The fact that traditional news outlets are collapsing, losing ratings, and losing market share means nothing to these people.

It’s possible that we may end up with two parties that actually are called the Liberals and Conservatives. It isn’t necessary, but one way or another we’re going to have to get past the current debacle of a non-representative government.

In the same way, we’ve seen that the widening gap in salaries across the business sector is coming to an end. All of us, I think, have a general sense of what’s fair in terms of salary. We most of us know that people who own a company ought to make more than people who work there. We know that high-level strategic CEOs should be paid more than production-line workers. We all have a general number in mind, or at least a basic ratio.

But when we start seeing executive salaries in the multiples of millions, then we watch those executives destroy the businesses, banks, stock values, retirement funds, and overall financial system, we disagree. This split between the everyday realities of living a nice life and the astounding excesses “at the top” is representative of the same split in formal government.

It can’t continue. It won’t continue. The first step is to hand over a blank check to the federal government. We now have only Democrats and liberal Republicans in total control of the administration. They’re free to do whatever they feel like doing, unfettered by morality, ethics, law, or good will. When the dust settles, I think we’ll see a complete reorganization of the two-party system.

As so many people have been saying, “We’ll see.”

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