“Radical” is a word that’s been tossed around a lot lately. Both sides of the proverbial aisle have lobbed it out of the trenches like a stun grenade, intending to disorient the opposition before launching an assault on their barracks.
In our modern political lexicon, it’s a term that is meant to simultaneously discredit its target and grow the rift between it and the popular discourse of the day.
But it wasn’t always such a loaded concept. In fact, the Radical Republicans of the 1850’s wore it as a badge of honor in their fight against slavery and the subsequent battle for equal rights (over a hundred years before Democrats found it fashionable to join in), only to wind up beset by what we would now refer to as RINO’s and a Democratic party that was in the mere infancy of its pharisaism.
Let’s take a quick look at which conservative causes are warranting the “radical” label in our own times:
- Just about anything Tea Party related. In fact, over a quarter of Obama voters consider Tea Party members a bigger threat than Muslim extremists.
- The Defund Obamacare movement. Even the Boston Globe has commented this week on how President Obama seems to write it off as just “more craziness from the radical right”.
- 2nd Amendment activism. Brace yourselves for another round this week regarding the events here in Georgia over the last 48 hours.
Of course, those are the usual suspects. But even I have found myself in the crosshairs lately from my fellow conservatives regarding my recent thoughts on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.
So maybe if this talk about a third-party splintering off from the GOP is of any substance, it might be time to resurrect the Radical Republicans.
The times couldn’t be more ripe for such a switch. Just as the abolitionist movement was gaining steam in the run up to the Civil War, we were a party divided. One wing was willing to abide the Democrats’ desire to see full swaths of our population slapped into chains and live under the lash of tyrants; without even the right to their own children. While another faction, yet outnumbered, took a stand for true Conservative principles and gladly bore the yoke of “radicalism” for having the audacity to speak against slavery.
And even the Radical Republicans of over a hundred and fifty years ago knew what it was like to engage a Democrat in friendly discourse, although to be fair, the Dems did finally manage to stop using clubs and fire hoses to enforce their racism a few decades ago.
So if it’s a radical Tea Party the left wants, it’s Radical Republicans they’ll get. Perhaps it’s been too long since last time.
Follow Rich Greene on Twitter @VivaRichGreene.