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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ERIC ZUESSE IN RINF

 

Well, I do like what I read of Tulsi Gabbard.

And for me, good political qualities and values are never found on just one side, Right or Left. Never.

People who think that way are naive in the extreme and generally have no real grasp of history.

In the end, parties almost do not matter as guarantors for the personal qualities of leaders. This has been demonstrated countless times in history.

Indeed, parties frequently interfere with the natural ability of some leaders to communicate with people in the interests of pure partisanship.

Parties are control-mechanisms, they are money-raising machines, they are organizational armies, and they are, for some, virtually secular religious organizations.

They are not honest, sound, trustworthy organizations for the assembly of people with similar beliefs.

Having said all that, I want to disagree with the author’s characterization of Lincoln as “progressive.”

I have read many of the important biographies, and I do not believe that word applies.

He was a decent, fair-minded person, a self-made man, well liked for his humor and modesty and honesty, but he has come down to us as almost a secular saint. He was not a saint and his politics were only “progressive” if you stretch the word beyond its reasonable meaning.

He was moreover quite a hard man at times. His horse-like work on his father’s farm until he was an adult, and his hard work at becoming a successful lawyer with less than two years of formal education made him that way.

His big clients included corporate interests like the growing Illinois Central Railroad. Those were the kind of fees that enabled him to build a handsome house in Springfield, Illinois.

He is in fact responsible for creating the imperial colossus America has become. He was a kind of later-day re-founder of America. The Civil War, never about slavery or rights from his own words, welded America into a more unified and industrialized and militarized society.

Whether you think that is a good achievement is just opinion, but it cannot be termed progressive.

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