Where elephants come from
September 27, 2012
It’s hard not to see our country in terms of class warfare. I don’t know who stacked the deck so that billionaires pay 13.9 percent tax on income while the rest of us pay twice that, but I’ll bet it wasn’t an hourly employee.
Who says the economy is bad? Certainly the 2,600,000 Americans who sank into poverty in 2010, but just as certainly not the 600,000 new millionaires, a record number, created that same year. For the crime of gambling away the value of our homes, the government made good Wall Street’s loss. Do you think the middle class orchestrated that scheme?
Too much reality, let’s roll the clock back to our 7th president, Andrew Jackson who served two terms from 1829 to 1837. “Old Hickory” was a national hero, whupping the British in The Battle of New Orleans. Jackson’s popularity swept him into office, but once there, he ruled with complete disdain for his political opponents. Fueling the fire, he placed more than 2,000 political pals into government jobs. Jackson was notably the only American president, before or since, to pay off the National Debt.
In 1834, Jackson’s enemies united, calling themselves Whigs, which became the battle cry of those opposing Jackson’s assertion of power. Jackson was a Democrat, or as they were known then, he was a Democratic Republican.
The Whigs gained in strength and numbers until the election of 1840 brought a Whig victory in President William Henry Harrison. Harrison was the former governor of the Indian Territory who was charged by Presidents Adams and Jefferson to get the Native Americans out of the way. Plying them with promises, threats and liquor, he secured much of Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri for the extravagant sum of one dollar per 10,000 acres.
Harrison’s inaugural day was cold and rainy. In his address, he went on for nearly two hours, speaking longer than any president ever had. He spent over three hours underdressed and bare-headed in the snow on the steps of the East Portico. Later he attended several parties in his honor, still wearing the wet clothes he wore at the oath of office. When he contracted pneumonia, White House physicians immediately began “bleeding” him in the same medical exsanguination that killed George Washington. He died exactly a month after being sworn in.
The next and final successful Whig Party candidate was Zachary Taylor, elected in 1848. The Fourth of July 1850 was a scorcher. President Taylor was at a party at the base of the Washington Monument where he grew dangerously overheated and reacted by eating an eye-widening amount of iced milk and cherries, so much so that his doctor begged him to stop. Apparently he responded, “I won’t stop. I don’t have to, that’s why I became president!” Later that evening, he complained of stomach cramps and died. Whig contenders were badly beaten by Democrats in the next two presidential elections
The Whig Party split into two factions over the Civil War with the northern Whigs opposing slavery while the southern Whigs were in favor of it. After the War, the southern Whigs joined up with the Democrats, while the northern Whigs went on to become today’s Republican Party.
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” – Warren Buffett