In the movie Lincoln, the audience gets to view a historically accurate drama depicting how President Lincoln and the Radical Republicans passed the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives and on its way to its eventual ratification by all the states. Republicans controlled a super-majority in the Senate, so passing the Amendment was a piece of cake. But they did not own a super-majority in the House, so they had to use some less than legal methods to get Democratic votes. Though these tactics gained them votes, they needed to make sure not to scare the Democrats away by appearing too radical. Because of this, during the debates, Lincon himself encouraged radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens to appear more moderate in order to appeal to the Democrats.
Stevens was persuaded by Lincoln, and when he was asked if he took the idea that “All men are created equal” literally, he said no. Democrats claimed this was just the beginning and would lead to blacks having equal protection, blacks voting, and even women voting, but Stevens was able to avoid falling into this trap despite believing in equality.
The situation shown in Lincoln is one that is a constant theme throughout the history of government. Politicians, swearing they just want this one law passed, and nothing more. And each time, the law is only the beginning. Whatever system the law implements, whether moral or immoral, expands drastically.
Party Flip-Flopping on Important Topics
We have seen this recently in politics for both sides. Often, Republicans do this with abortion and spending cuts. They will pass laws only restricting the conditions of an abortion clinic claiming they have alternative reasons for this. But really they would like to see abortion banned and the federal government reduced in size at a dramatic level. Without arguing with either of these in principle, it is clear they won’t tell the public the full truth about what they want to do.
It is the same case with the Democrats. They claim to want ‘common sense gun reform’ and that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t just the beginning of more. Of course, these were lies as well. They may claim that they only care about saving kids when debating a bill, but Senator Feinstein has no problem saying she wants us to turn in our guns when asked about it. And though we were promised the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t lead to more, we are now being told it is flawed, and we need Medicare for all and socialized healthcare. They lied too.
Which brings us to the recent Alabama law which bans abortion at point of birth. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, its a refreshing show of honestly by the government of Alabama. No lying to seem more moderate, no promise this one tiny policy is the only one, and after that, they’ll be satisfied, no deception, no manipulation. Alabama simply put their heartfelt beliefs in a bill and passed it.
The Law Opening Up a Real Debate
Now we may debate the law both in Alabama in the state and the country as a whole. We may agree and we may disagree. But now we actually get to debate. There’s no need to spend the debate with one side swearing the other side wants to do more and then having the other side claim that’s absurd when it’s 100% true.
We can just discuss the laws and their merits as truthfully as possible. Those for it may defend it, and those against it can attack it. And then the voters of Alabama will have both sides views presented very clearly in front of them, and let those politicians know just how they feel about it at the polls.
This is exactly how democracy and government are supposed to be. No lying, no manipulation. Just presenting the best your side of an issue has to offer and living with the results. Good for Alabama.
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