“Government of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires” — Lincoln at Gettysburg and the GOP in 2017

The Republican Party and Lincoln at Gettysburg: “That government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from this earth”

The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln has morphed into a party that defends lies, takes money from the poor to give to the rich, fails to defend the Republic against Russian interventions, and has turned “the decent respect for the opinions of mankind” promised in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 into defiance of humanity’s efforts to moderate climate change, by remaining the only nation in the world which is not pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Convention.

In the Gettysburg Address, delivered on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln commemorated those who had died at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the following words:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

See The Writer’s Almanac, November 19, 2017

In 2017, the Republican Party has become the party of the Guardians of the President, the new GOP. It has sought–and seeks–to take access to health care away from millions of people, to cut the taxes on corporations and the wealthiest in the society and to pay for such cuts through massive cuts in Medicaid and other social programs.

The GOP in 2017, the party of Lincoln, has  has come to represent the proposition that “Government of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the billionaires, shall not perish from this earth.”

The shameless greed of the Republicans in Congress in 2017, and their supporters, has not been equaled since the Gilded Age in the late nineteenth century. Since the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court in 2010, allowing private money to corrupt our politics at every level, a new political class has emerged: “the donor class”.

The donor class can now threaten any congressman or senator who defies their will with a career-ending primary opponent who will draw on the support of the cult following of Donald Trump.

They call the shots now, and will continue to do so until men and women of courage in the Republican Party stand up for truth and justice, and Democrats find the courage to speak out and campaign for truth, justice,  and the rule of law.

In foreign policy, that means dedication to policies that embody “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind”, through promotion and observance of international law and the defense of international human rights.

Trump, too, shall pass.

After he and his GOP supporters have passed from the scene or been stripped of their power, Americans will find their way back toward the values upon which the nation was founded, and fought a disastrous civil war to uphold.  They will rededicate themselves “to the great task remaining before us…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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