We are in the midst of another Presidential Election. As has so often in the past, it is also being said today – “This is the most important election in my lifetime.”
There have been twenty-one presidential elections since my birth. I remember 19 of them, and this November I will vote for the 16th time in a presidential election. I can safely say that each one of those 21 presidential elections was important and had far reaching implications for the Republic.
In July of 1952 I was 13 years old. I listened to the radio during every minute of both the Democratic and the Republican national conventions. I was thrilled when General Dwight Eisenhower was nominated by the Republican party. Ike promised to end the Korean “police action,” and he managed to bring it to a negotiated cease fire the following summer.
Ike was, in many respects, very similar to our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln. In 1862 President Lincoln sent troops south to eliminate the evil of slavery in the United States. During the Civil War over 600,000 mostly white young men were killed to defeat the Confederacy. By 1865 the Confederacy had been defeated. President Lincoln was assassinated at the hands of Democrats who violently opposed the result of the Civil War. The freed slaves in the south were given the vote.
Many black men were elected on the Republican party ticket to many public offices, including both houses of the United States Congress. That was set back, as the Democrats in the south established the Ku Klux Klan to resist the political and economic advancement of the former black slaves. By 1871 another Republican President, U.S. Grant, had to physically crush the activity of the KKK. But by 1877 the eleven states formerly part of the rebellion were firmly in the control of the Democratic party. They remained that way for over 100 years.
In 1957, for the third time, a Republican President sent U.S. Army troops to the South to advance the cause of equality for the black citizens of the United States of America. President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce a Supreme Court ruling that public education could no longer be “separate but equal.” The reason for the ruling was that although schools in the south were indeed separate, they were not even remotely equal.
In 1964 Democratic President Lynden Johnson was able to obtain Congressional approval for the Civil Rights Act. Without overwhelming approval of the Republican members of Congress the Civil Rights Act would not have been approved. While 63% of the Congressional Democrats supported this legislation, over 80% of Congressional Republicans voted for approval. Without this overwhelming Republican support, the Civil Rights Act would have never been approved.
History shows that the Republican Party has been a greater friend to the blacks than any other political party in the United States. We are currently experiencing widespread turmoil in many of our major cities and the local governments (almost 100 % of them controlled by Democrats) seem to be both unwilling and unable to reestablish peace.
The ancient Romans controlled the poor masses by providing bread and circuses. We can do better. We need to provide job opportunities, quality education and economic possibilities for all people of this great republic. When this happens, every man and woman will have the opportunity to obtain a good job to provide for themselves and their families. Then we all will be able to hold our heads up in pride, knowing that this nation of opportunity works for all of our citizens.
This is truly a very important election. We are at a crossroad. Either we will remain a free nation, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed or fail by their own merits – or we will become ever more dependent on the “Government” to solve all our problems.
I close with a quote from Ronald Reagan. “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
Mike Lang is the chairman of the Union County Republican Central Committee.