Letter to the Editor

Political rage is nothing new

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Political rage is nothing new

To the Editor:

The recent episode of United States House Representative Nancy Peolsi dramatically grandstanding and grimacing while tearing up Presidents Trump's State of the Union speech is reminiscent of another hate-driven outburst in the Halls of Congress by a disgruntled South Carolina Democrat, Andrew Brooks. This being the severe caning with serious injuries to Senator Charles Summer, a Massachusetts' Republican on May 22, 1856 by Brooks. Senator Summer, an outspoken and anti-slavery proponent had presented a speech several days earlier on the Senate floor caustically condemning Senators Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina for their stand as pro slavery advocates for Kansas' partition to enter the Union as a slave-free state. Brooks was a kinsman of Butler and although he survived a House Censure resolution for his unwarranted attack he resigned from his Representative seat but was almost immediately reelected by the South Carolina voters. Apparently the Democrats haven't appreciatively altered their behavior in the past 160 years. However, they are to be commended for their restraint in merely tearing up a speech rather than resorting to caning an opponent.

The United States Congress remained in a state of constant turmoil for the next four years and after President Lincoln was elected in 1860, a constant uncompromising struggle ensued between the Republicans and Democrats over the secession of several southern states and the resultant Civil War. In fact, so divided and polarized was the Congress that when Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Emancipation in January, 1863, it narrowly passed the required two-thirds majority by a partisan vote of 119-56 with only 14 Democrats voting for passage. Evidently manumission was a wonderful Christian humane endeavor as long as the Democratic party or their states weren't affected.

So if polarization is prevalent in the current sitting Congress, and no reaching across the aisles for compromise, they can't hold a candle to what occurred in the Halls of Congress in the 1850's through 1860's. Lincoln was besieged on every front and that he survived and saved our Great Nation from total disunion and fragmentation is a tribute to his perseverance and foresight as a great president. No doubt if Representative Peolsi and her fellow narrow minded, salivating and hate-driven colleagues had been around in 1860 they could have impeached President Lincoln on several occasions as he used his war powers to make several questionable Constitutional decisions among which was the suspension of habeas corpus and arresting the entire sitting Maryland State Congress prior to that state's vote on secession; and yes, Maryland was a Democrat party slave-supporting state with a large slave population of 87,189 slaves according to the 1860 census and harboring strong anti Lincoln sentiment at every turn of the screw. And as current media today are anti-Trump, so was the northern mainstream media newspapers of that era mostly anti-Lincoln.

And Representative Pelosi, observing your apparent physically exhausting difficultly in tearing the SOTUS into shreds, you might have been better served carrying a cane into the Hallowed Chamber. With your advanced age and apparent dotage no one would have questioned this act and then instead of tearing up the speech in a childish rage you could have emulated your past hero Representative Brooks and taken a swing with your cane at President Trump.

Charles David Sliger


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