March 2008 Archives

bourbon democrat

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Today I was going to be a Bourbon Democrat, but unlike the name implies, being one doesn't mean you get to sit around and drink large quantities of bourbon and poke fun at the other parties.


One of the more prominent Bourbon Democrats was born in Woodstock which gave me a glimmer of hope, but alas he was born before THE Woodstock, and so no correlation could be made.

No, a Bourbon Democrat was a "conservative liberal", who's convictions lay within capitalism, anti-protectionism (pro-free trade), and opposed imperialism (invading other countries). This segment of the Dems stood for limited government, fought for the gold standard and against government corruption.

Nothing about large quantities of strong drink. Although Woodrow Wilson was a Bourbon Democrat I doubt that he was an alcoholic. A graduate of Princeton, he created the League of Nations and won the Nobel peace prize, among other notable things.

And Grover Cleveland was a Bourbon Democrat too, but in contrast was a "conservative", had no college education but didn't do any favors for women's suffrage either, believing that women's roles had been determined by a higher power (sounds like bourbon talking there).

But what's in a name?

A term that would not have done ANY party any political favors if it had existed during prohibition, it was used from 1876 to 1904.

A branch broke off into a more, shall we say, "extremist" (southern) wing called the Redeemers, who opposed the Freedmen, Carpetbaggers, and Skalawags (a trio coalition of Radical Republicans...

(not to be confused with the Liberal Republicans...

or Moderate Republicans, like Lincoln the first republican-Republican president).

In a very complex Reconstruction era, Redeemers denounced high taxes and high state debts, cut government spending, lowered politicians' salaries; scaled back public aid to railroads and large corporations which all sounds pretty good except in a devastated post-civil war the money had to come from somewhere...

The FIRST income tax was implemented by Lincoln, along with printing money (yea, to pay for the war) but I digress....

oh yea, and they (the Redeemers) had, shall we say, a "conservative reaction" to Reconstruction, ...ahem.

So much for "redemption".

In the words of Inigo Montoya, "....that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

So I guess I could be an "unredeemed" Bourbon Democrat. At least for one day. Except I'm a woman, so maybe not.

Cracks me up that a "Bourbon Democrat" was lumped in with "Redeemer". I mean really, if you were a conservative Christian voting in the bible belt, which one would you identify with, not to mention vote for if you went by name alone. And if you were a Christian woman... well you couldn't vote anyway.

I admit cherry-pickin through history sort of takes the names out of the context of the times. And of course as contemporary folk today with greater technologies, a zillion channels and networks that can communicate higher thought, more education, and higher sensibilities we don't take things out of context...


Don't you love the name Skalawag? Or Carpetbagger? You wouldn't see today's version of the Republican party putting those names on their signs to get elected.

Maybe tomorrow I will be a Skalawag. Sounds fun and sort of pirate-ish. Arhhh!

Invalid login. That is what I got this morning when I went to login to my blogging software. Yes it has been so long that I couldn't remember my password.

And the reasons for the lack of blog of late is because I have always written about what was at the forefront of my brain. The blog for me, has been a quasi-morning pages recommended as a brain dump by author Julie Cameron in her book, Artist's Way. In her world this tool designed for breaking writer's block, is never meant to be read by anyone, but is just a vehicle for clearing out the proverbial cobwebs of the mind to achieve a clearer state in which your art (writing or otherwise) becomes unfettered. And although I have used this tool a little differently, my "brain dump" being inflicted on whatever poor soul chooses to read, it still works the way Julie intended.

Herein lies the problem.

What has been at the forefront of my brain just about every morning of late is of the political nature.

And me thinks the world could use one less political rant.

However, what I am left with in the silence is the equivalent of mental constipation. The problem with Julie Cameron's ritual is that it really works and so left undone has made me less affective in other areas in my art. The thoughts that cycle through my brain these days look like pinballs bouncing recklessly against one another and would probably make for some volatile blog. But at some point spillage must insue in order for me to continue to be the sane lovely woman that I was instead of the woman that my husband is currently living with, not to mention quieting the conversations I currently have with myself in the shower.

Once a mildly concerned citizen who shunned the news most nights, I have now turned into a news junkie and all the reading I have been doing could win me some sort of junior amateur historian award.

or at the very least I could design a trivial pursuit game with political content.

Hey, that's an idea probably good money in that.

At any rate I am on a quest to learn some of the interesting details that brought this country to a two party system against the original will of the founding fathers. Especially since the system in its latest form looks to implode removing the will of the people through the evolution of political devices that have accumulated over the decades. Super-delegates, anyone?

And who completely understands the concept of the electoral college? I went to college and I don't quite get this "indirect element in the process of electing".... thank you wikipedia.

A host of things interest me at this point as I delve into the nature of the dozens of parties this country has had, and I have to say the "need to know" parallels the days of my initial interest in Jesus (some call conversion).

After all we do not inherit our faith.

So we can not, in good conscience, inherit our party.

I had never considered myself a party person and when I went to register I had to fill in the blank, another somewhat "indirect element in the process of electing". Although I think it is interesting that thousands of good folk are currently taking the time and making the effort to re-register their party affiliation, being forced to function in the two party system, they are jumping sides to have a voice in the primaries. Is it covert political strategy, or conviction. Quite a statement.

Looking at the history of the evolution of parties may not inform my vote because I really just look at the candidates, but it may help me understand why people align themselves in such passionate ways to the current parties. I am confounded by the concept of voting your party just because its your party. How many people truly know where "their party" came from? Then again there are a lot of Christians that don't have a clue about the reformation and that most of what they currently practice is thanks to that good Augustinian Monk, Martin Luther, giving us some pretty good reading (the bible) in 1534.

And claiming political affiliation, in a like fashion I would have a hard time calling myself a "protestant". The world seems to be at a new threshold of breaking out of some of these "denominations" both political and religious.

The spirit is larger than the containers that hold them.

And so it should be.

So in light of my new quandry, that being the need to blog, the need to be an informed citizen, and the need to have something to call myself regarding political affiliation when asked at parties...

I am a Know-Nothing.

Don't laugh, it was an actual party. And although I really (really, really) DON'T hold the convictions of this party, being that at that time(1850) in our country the huge fear from protestants was that Irish and German Catholics were going to take over the country, and were wholy anti-immigration (can you imagine, by 1850 already), I DO like their motto when pressed regarding their political activities,

"I know nothing".

So today I will be a Know Nothing.

Of course being just one of the many components that make up the fabric of this country's parties, the Know Nothings merged into what we now today call republicans.

I think tomorrow I will be a Bourbon Democrat.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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