While watching Gangs of New York (an entertaining film, even if it gets so much of the history wrong I want to openly weep (Bill Tweed says things like “I’m talking about civic duty; things we owe to the people…”? My a&%)…they don’t even get the squalor right – do an image search for New York tenements to get an idea. But I digress…
…I’m reminded of the fact that, despite much hand-wringing lately about the incivility in political rhetoric these days (supposedly almost entirely by Republicans and their Tea Party co-conspirators *ack ptooey*, if the MSM has it right *g*), politics hasn’t changed much in the last 225 years and if anything is less hate-filled and violent. To whit:
“…that you could as soon scrub the blackamoor white, as to change the principles of a professed Democrat; and that he will leave nothing unattempted to overturn the Government of this Country.” George Washington
“Elect Lincoln and the Black Republican Ticket: You will bring on Negro equality, more debt, harder times, another DRAFT! Universal anarchy and ultimate ruin” George C. McClellan 1864 campaign poster.
Thomas Jefferson called “…a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” by John Adams’ campaign.
Jefferson calls Adams a “…hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
Makes what we see these days seem kind of tame. But then, we also haven’t had a good to-the-death duel between a sitting Vice-President and a former Secretary of the Treasury or a sitting member of Congress beat another one half to death with a cane on the Senate floor in a good long time. Anyone who thinks today’s climate is worse than it has ever been simply isn’t well read in history.