Poor Man Survival
Self Reliance tools for
independent minded people…
A Digest of Urban
Is a lack of civility in
political discussions going to tear America apart?
Most Americans seem to believe we are
experiencing a political divide like never before seen in America. Such a
belief belies history. Sharp political divide and resulting demonstrations have
been a part of the American body politic since the beginning.
In the early 1790s the nascent political
parties, Federalists and anti-Federalists (later Jeffersonian Republicans),
divided sharply over how to respond to the French Revolution and the French
Revolutionary Wars, with Federalists favoring allying with Great Britain and
anti-Federalists favoring the French.
President George Washington issued a neutrality
proclamation in May of 1793 over the protests of members of both parties.
American merchants continued to trade with both England and France.
But as hostilities between England and France
escalated the British began seizing American merchant vessels attempting to
trade with France. After they had seized hundreds of ships and their cargo,
Washington sent Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay to work out a treaty with
the British for the return of the ships and deal with some business left over
from the American Revolutionary War that weren't solved by the Treaty of Paris.
The terms Jay worked out fell short of
Washington's expectations and angered both political parties. The controversy
over the treaty's terms sent Congress behind closed doors for negotiations. The
more Americans learned about the treaty's terms the less they liked it.
When demonstrations opposing the treaty broke
out they often included the chant:
"Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won't
damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won't stay up all night damning John
Jay was burned in effigy during many
demonstrations that included pushing and shoving. Secretary of State Alexander
Hamilton was heckled when he appeared at a meeting in New York to explain the
benefits of the treaty. Some in the crowd even threw stones.
Of course, the difference between those
demonstrations and the ones we are seeing now is obvious. Those were grassroots
demonstrations carried out by Americans who understood threats to liberty posed
Today's demonstrations are AstroTurf
elitist-funded and fueled riots that are drawing in useful idiot leftist
(mostly) millennials and single-issue pro-baby-murder women from across the
nation who know little about American civics and even less about liberty and
who are advocating for totalitarian government intervention to throw our
borders open to a host of Third World America-hating socialists and destroy
Leftist never-Trumpers are still shouting,
"Damn Donald Trump! Damn everyone who won't damn Donald Trump! Damn
everyone who won't stay up all night damning Donald Trump!" As he's not
even the president anymore.
It seems as though there will never again be
civil political discussions in America.
Even if you overlook the clashes between the two
fascist forces — BLM/Antifa and the white supremacists, who are nothing more
than an extreme but vocal minority — as fringe elements and not reflective of
reality, all political discourse seemingly deteriorates quickly to calumny,
contumely and vitriol, if not open conflict.
We are at a point where television pundits and
deep state operatives call Donald Trump delusional and who continually
questioned "his ability, his fitness to be" in office, while ignoring
the seeming lack of mental acuity of the sitting president; when supporters of
the opposition are "deplorable"; when right-leaning Hollywood actors
"are very hesitant to speak out in support of Trump because they fear that
they will never work again"; and where journalists condescend to
conservatives, implying — if not stating outright — that conservatives are
simply unthinking Neanderthals with single-digit IQs.
There is nothing new under
So the question becomes, is this a new
phenomenon? Are we experiencing something never before seen in American
The short answer is no.
Our country was only a dozen years old when
political divisions began rearing their head; mostly between the Alexander
Hamilton faction of High Federalists and the Federalists and Jeffersonian
The political differences taking front and
center in the early days of the republic cost Thomas Jefferson many friends and
opened rifts between him and other friends. One of them was John Adams.
Jefferson spoke of this in an 1808 letter to
Richard M. Johnson, writing:
It has been a source of great pain to me to have
met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish
between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person,
the hatred they bore to his political opinions.
Those conflicts sometimes resulted in duels.
Let's hope cooler heads can prevail today. It's not looking likely... but
America is still here, despite a history of political divisiveness. I can only
hope we are enduring a harsh winter and that a spring thaw will come one day.
Otherwise, another civil war seems likely.
Yours for the truth,
Editor, The Bob Livingston Letter®
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