Monday, July 30, 2012

The Republicans, the Taxpayer, Suffrage, and History

I’ve recently pulled out my fifth novel set in Mississippi, a historical mystery/suspense set during Presidential Reconstruction (1865-1866) in Claiborne County. I completed the first draft and a series of tweaks to Camellia Creek before Katrina crashed into the Gulf Coast back in 2005, and I hadn’t looked at it since. In the interim, I established Loblolly Writer’s House and published my first four novels in all formats. I continue my struggle for effective marketing. This blog is a recent aberration of the latter; another is Twitter, which I hope will direct interested readers to my blog and my novels.

Regarding Twitter (the blog looms before you), I’m growing followers. Mostly I attract and am attracted to “Twitterers of a like mind.” Just the other day, one such follower mentioned we should be following the opposition if we want to start a dialogue. I think she made a good point, and I’m for enlightening discussion (140 characters a quip, however, does require some innovation), but I don’t think I want to give up people of like minds either.

My work is decidedly pro-South and therefore politically incorrect. I believe the South was right for all the right reasons, and to point out those reasons, I don’t have to look farther than the Constitution, the soul of this Federal Republic. The South’s losing the War Between the States proved a devastating blow, not only to the region, but to the Republic itself.

This brings me to the provocation that sparked this blog post. I’ve noted, and replied to, more than one of my fellow Tea Party followers regarding their 140-character tweets meant to, I think, malign the Democratic Party and its “racist history” while praising the Republicans for championing equality—hence, vote Republican against Obama in November. I can come up with lots of reasons to vote against Obama, and the Republicans are my only real alternative; I don’t need na├»ve and/or revisionist history to sway me.

The Tea Party champions the rights of the taxpayer within the framework of the Constitution; at least that’s how this Tea Party supporter interprets its purpose. References supportive of the Republicans of Lincoln’s day (and the administrations immediately following his death) while blatantly maligning the Democrats of that same time period miss the point, not to mention those tidbits of history tossed out in tweets are usually taken out of context or confused with later history, and when challenged, the tweeter can offer no valid reference. Okay, maybe he can cite what he’s seen on contemporary television or read on Wikipedia. Not one offered me even those.

I take issue with offenses cited between 1865 and 1876. This period is the setting for more than one of my books, and it’s one about which I have a good layman’s knowledge. I won’t try to mislead you; I look at that most disgraceful period in our nation’s history from the Southern taxpayer’s point of view. That was a time when the defeated Southerner across the war-ravaged South, couldn’t fight his way through mobs of non-taxpayers to the polling booth, assuming there was a candidate worthy of his vote even allowed on the ballot. That was true even if he had sworn allegiance to the United States and regained his vote (the ex post facto deprivation of which was unconstitutional to begin with). For years—over a decade in some states and Mississippi was one—the downtrodden taxpayer was not represented in his legislature or in Washington, and puppet governments squandered the revenues critical to the South’s recovery.

For those who delve back in time, and Tea Partiers do, look at Reconstruction not necessarily from a Southerner’s point of view, but as an American through the prism of the Constitution, because that’s the period when States touting loyalty to the Union abrogated their responsibility to not only the Constitution but also themselves by ceding unprecedented power to a Federal government flush with victory, drunk on power, and poisoned by the hate-filled greed of the Radical Republicans. Power never recovered by the States, freedom forever lost. For Tea Partiers to tacitly extol the virtues of the Republicans by maligning the Democrats of that period is oxymoronic.

Personally, if the objective is to represent the contemporary Republican Party as supportive of the taxpayer and the Tea Party, it would be prudent, in my opinion, to leave the Republicans’ dubious rise to power one-hundred and fifty years ago out of the justification.