“Historians have traditionally regarded the series of seven debates between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Illinois state election campaign as among the most significant statements in American political history. The issues they discussed were not only of critical importance to the sectional conflict over slavery and states’ rights but also touched deeper questions that would continue to influence political discourse.....
“What is often overlooked is that the debates were part of a larger campaign, that they were designed to achieve certain immediate political objectives, and that they reflected the characteristics of mid-nineteenth-century political rhetoric. Douglas, a member of Congress since 1843 and a nationally prominent spokesman for the Democratic party, was seeking reelection to a third term in the U.S. Senate, and Lincoln was running for Douglas’s Senate seat as a Republican.Lincoln and Douglas participated in seven debates throughout Illinois, one in each of the state’s Congressional districts.”Senators were elected by the state legislatures until 1913, Douglas and Lincoln took their arguments directly to the people. The timing of the campaign, the context of sectional animosity within which it was fought, the volatility of the slavery issue, and the instability of the party system combined to give the debates a special importance\”The groundwork for the campaign was laid in Lincoln’s famous House Divided speech in Springfield on June 16, 1858. Douglas opened his campaign on July 9.... "By mid-August, the two candidates had agreed to a series of debates in seven of the state’s nine congressional districts.”The ‘real issue’ in his contest with Douglas, Lincoln insisted, was the issue of right and wrong, and he charged that his opponent was trying to uphold a wrong. Only the power of the federal government, as exercised by Congress, could ultimately extinguish slavery. At the same time, Lincoln assured southerners that he had no intention of interfering with slavery in the states where it existed and assured northerners that he was opposed to the political and social equality of the races, points on which he and Douglas agreed.”On election day, the voters of Illinois chose members of the state legislature who in turn reelected Douglas to the Senate in January 1859. Although Lincoln lost, the Republicans received more popular votes than the Democrats, signaling an important shift in the political character of the state.”
Got you! You saw the word Trump in the headline and couldn’t wait to argue with me.
I seldom write about politics, particularly during a political race. No matter what I write, I offend someone.
So let me be perfectly clear (as politicians often remark to clear up any misstatements they have made): This is not about Trump. But it is about how many times I hear his name on television news.
Yesterday in the first five minutes of a morning news show, his name was mentioned five times–that's one time every minute. And I didn’t even count the number of times the word “he” was used referring to him. During the same time period, I heard nothing about Syria, Russia, or any other world situation.
I could simply stop watching the television news and stick with the online news I get from the BBC. But yesterday even their lead story was about Trump.
I realize it will get better after the first week of November, and I eagerly await this. But I have a terrible feeling that it won’t even end then. If Trump wins, I will hear him more. And if he loses, I suspect he will start a new Trump network and I will have to hear his name more often.
In a world of strip malls and cookie cutting housing, we yearn for something better: a community in which we can live, work, and play. Most live lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau wrote. Our communities consist of strangers we don’t know and try to avoid. There is no corner store. It’s been replaced by a giant discount store. Sometimes we think there are more strip mall little stores than people Whether illusions or not, we remember the neighborhood in which we grew up where people sat out on the front porch, waved and called you by name as you strolled by, where you could walk to a corner grocery or stop in for coffee in the morning and talk with friends. These days we live in virtual communities where we pull the curtains to watch movies, log in to social media sites to communicate with people we don’t know, and hide. A long time resident of the township in which I live when I suggested we needed to find ways to build a better sense of community said he thought the same things a few decades ago but that he reached the conclusion after a number of failed efforts that when people moved out this way they went into caves. The fact is that there is a deep yearning for smaller communities, places where you could live, work and play. And there are attempts to adopt this kind of model, one in a township near me. It may take decades and commitment, but I am hopeful that it is a possibility. I grow tired of strip malls and industrial parks and cookie cutter houses.
What if we began with a different model–creating spaces where people could live, work, and play? Might this be the way to renewal?