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Dr. Lawrence M. Schall Headshot

A House Divided

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I was listening to reports from Indiana where Tea party candidate Richard Mourdock handily defeated long-time Senator Richard Lugar in the Republican Senatorial primary. I am no fan of Dick Lugar, although I did appreciate the comments he made in his concession memorandum questioning the platform of the victor that promised he would never, ever compromise when he got to Washington. That sure is exactly what we need in Washington, one more person who will help bring this country to its knees on the mantle of principle. Once again, this kind of anti-American rhetoric (and that's exactly what I believe it to be) made me think about the advent of the Civil War.

On June 16, 1858, Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech. Lincoln had just been chosen as the Republican Senatorial candidate from Illinois and proceeded to give the speech that cost him the upcoming election. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free." Illinois was not prepared for the starkness of that message in 1858. As we know, two years later Lincoln was elected president and before he took the oath of office, seven southern states had seceded.

I learned today that candidate Mourdock makes frequent reference to Lincoln's speech and the idea of America again being a house divided. He believes this government cannot endure as long as half of Americans (he means the poor ones, not the millionaires who manage to avoid paying taxes) are not paying federal income tax. Really. Another Lincoln in the making. Forget the fact that poor Americans actually pay a whole lot of taxes -- state taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes and the like. Forget the fact that poor Americans are poor and cannot even afford to put a roof over their heads and food on their children's table. It's not the massive income divide that is getting more severe that is dividing America; it's the fact that us financially able Americans are just sick and tired of supporting all the lazy deadbeats in this country and we won't take it anymore. I'm not quite sure how Mourdock proposes we spilt the country up as poor people seem to have found their way everywhere, even Orlando for God's sake. Maybe we figure out a way to put them all in prison.

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