Writer calls previous letter sour grapes
May 23, 2019
To The Eagle:
Three weeks ago in these pages we were treated to a dystopian diatribe from ol’ JB maligning the intent of Madison and other founders for designing the government, and specifically the electoral college. to keep the slaves and us other deplorables in our place. Sounded pretty devoid of historical fact to me, but there was precedent: Senator Stephen Douglas made much the same argument in 1857 campaigning against upstart candidate Abe Lincoln.
Lincoln said that his argument “came to nothing at all. I think the authors of that notable instrument meant to include all men …. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal – equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality… They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all and revered by all – constantly looked to, constantly labored for and even, though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated; and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, of all colors, everywhere.” Of course, we should no doubt disregard anything ol’ Abe had to say, because he, like the Donald, was another one of those illegitimate presidents who snuck in to office with only 39 percent of the popular vote.
And, slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person, not 1/3. That hard-won compromise achieved two things: fairer representation for the southern states and solidifying the underlying principle that representation was based on people, not property, and that people were not property. Bouchard concludes that calling the electoral college a travesty and acting to eliminate it is a high form of responsibility – I’d call it the lowest form of sour grapes.