George Washington was a slave holder.
One of the men who is among my three favorite presidents was Thomas Jefferson, also a slave holder, who took one as his wife. She wasn't freed until after his death.
It wasn't until Abraham Lincoln that a would-be president made public announcements against the system of slavery.
On January 20th 2009, we shall have a president who because of his father's background might have been a slave under those conditions previous to Lincoln's election. Yet it is not likely that Barack Obama would have been born at all under the socially accepted conditions before Lincoln's presidency.
It has taken many years for human beings to understand that enslavement of another to be one of the worst of social crimes. Superiority of one human being over another is also an unacceptable convention and not expounded by any conventional religion or government today.
The French and American revolutions gave strength to the concept of human equality. Yet societies from that time through the American Civil War and through the great depression have been unable to achieve what might be considered to be a true equality.
World War II was fought mainly against those who believed themselves to be superior to all others. And although wealth has always been a part of what gives rise to superiority claims, it hasn't been until today when super wealth exceeds family background in the claim of superiority.
Just as the Republican party of Lincoln took on responsibility for eliminating a conventionally held view that permitted slavery, it can renew its strength if it takes on the role of bringing on greater equality among the American people of today.
Although the notion of equality has been a strain of political thinking among a segment of the Democratic party, it has become so thin that it seems to have lost its visibility. A note: the Democratic Party was at one time not opposed to slavery.
If the Democrats succeed in establishing a medical program, the base for medical care will be there and the Republicans can take that issue and build on that and Social Security as their basis for bringing an improved equality in this country.
To secure their position and to take on equality as their fundamental base, they can establish a private system of grants and funding so that education from childhood to the upper college levels would be available and assured to anyone in this country, but not necessarily government based.
The party of Lincoln was the party that aimed to fulfill the American desire for equality and it can again raise this flag.
The only way that the making of billionaires can be justified in this country is in directing the greater portion of their wealth, privately organized, to the support of an appropriate Social Security system, a universal health system and an educational system that is open to every American.
“No new taxes” and “smaller government” might be slogons accepted by most Americans, although they have no real substance in actual political fact. Yet other goals might help bring on these reductions, as a direct approach has minimal attraction in the political climate of the day.
Equal opportunity and equal human treatment within a free system is basic to Republican thinking and can become the base of a new approach to a renewed party.