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Rebecca Sive

Rebecca Sive

Posted: December 22, 2009 03:55 PM

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

What's Your Reaction:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." --Lincoln.


"When you have both extremes saying they're unhappy, I think it's [the Senate's December 21, 2009 health care bill] a fair compromise, "Mrs. Boxer said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/health/policy/22health.html?th&emc=th

Well, Senator, Boxer, I have two words for you: Missouri Compromise.

How preposterous is what Senator Boxer said to the nation today? Let me count the ways.

Senator Boxer: Just because:

1) people disagree, doesn't mean each side has an equally valid argument.

2) you made a compromise, doesn't mean you made good public policy.

3) you wrote a bill that 60 people voted for, doesn't mean it's a good bill.

4) you helped women somewhat, doesn't mean you helped them enough.

And, Senator Boxer: Just because you made a compromise today and everyone's equally unhappy today doesn't mean that those who need help will get help, either today, or at any point in the near future.

Just review today's history lesson, the one about the Missouri Compromise, to see how well that strategy worked: Remember the Missouri Compromise? Well, it, and the compromises that followed it, didn't lead to more freedom for the slaves; they led to less, and then to the Civil War.

Here are the particulars: The 1820 Missouri Compromise divided the Louisiana Purchase territory, much of the western and southern parts of the United States at the time, into a nation "half slave and half free." If the state was below the Mason Dixon line, it could have slaves; if it was above, it couldn't.

But, surprise, surprise. Things didn't get better as a result of this compromise; they got worse, culminating in the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision, opening the door to legal slavery in all the states because, in the view of the Court, African Americans were property, not people, and, thus, protected by the U.S. Constitution.

By 1858, in his immortal "House Divided" speech, Abraham Lincoln, then running for the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas, (one of the great compromisers of American history), pointed-out why the compromises proposed by the U.S. Senate, following the Dred Scott decision, wouldn't work either.

Lincoln summarized his view by saying: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Lincoln was right: Two years later, our nation was a house divided, a people at war over the issue of slavery, that issue for which no number of compromises would ever work (keep reading).

It took 99 more years to put into law the equality the Constitution hadn't brought to African Americans.

Well, Senator Boxer: Will American women have to wait 99 years to get equal footing with men because of the compromises you've made?

Senator Boxer: If, by some chance, you're not aware of the implications of your compromise, read this summary from rhrealitycheck.org.

It's horrifying: At bottom, you've endorsed a return to pre-Roe days when women had to shop around the states in order to obtain a legal abortion--it reminds me of the Senators who came before you creating a shopping list of states to benefit those who wanted to own slaves.

This is pretty damn damning, if you ask me.

Senator Boxer: What did you think you were doing when you sat there with the big boys? It boggles the mind.

" Even Lincoln's friends believed the speech (the "House Divided" speech) was too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, thought that Lincoln was morally courageous but politically incorrect. [But] Herndon said Lincoln told him he was looking for a universally known figure of speech that would rouse people to the peril of the times."

Senator Boxer: Lincoln was willing to make the speech and lose the election, as he did. He didn't give up. Neither should you.

Senator Boxer, I quote Lincoln to rouse you to the peril of (these) times: "We did this (fight the American Revolution) under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through....Did we brave all them to falter now? ...We shall not fail-if we stand firm....Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."

Senator Boxer: Heed Lincoln's wise counsel: Respond to today's "common danger," the danger to American women that this Senate health care bill poses. Become morally courageous, even politically incorrect, and lead your sister Senators in a "single impulse of resistance" against this morally bankrupt compromise.

 
 
 

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