Missouri HS Kids Call for a Return to Slavery: What Would Lincoln Say?

3 mins read

Last week a group of Missouri high school students apparently launched a petition calling for a return to slavery, which media outlets duly reported. As a resident of the state, I’m disgusted and appalled at this incident but not surprised. 

Missouri is a red state, solidly red post-Obama. What was the legacy of the two-term administration of the nation’s first Black president? Solid support for Obama’s racist, race-baiting successor, who in all likelihood could still win a primary and a general election in these parts. 

But students, young people nearing adulthood, advocating a return to slavery? Can you imagine a less-Christian thing to do here in the Bible Belt? Not that you’ll necessarily find a lot of actual Christians in red states. But I digress. 

This nasty petition — is this what Chief Justice John Roberts imagined when he declared America “post racial?” As he and his minority/majority brethren gutted the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act?

Is this kind of activity what today’s Republicans hope to inspire in our country’s young people? It must be. Because when you devote yourselves to racist policies, racist arguments, racist rhetoric, and racist behaviors, what do you expect? 

When the highest-rated conservative television host draws his materials from white-supremacist “replacement” doctrine, what kind of a message are Fox News-viewing parents sending to the impressionable children in their charge?

When disenfranchising minority voters is your screaming, screeching life’s mission and teaching America’s long, sordid history of racism becomes a fall-on-your-sword, scorched-earth taboo, maybe it’s time to stop calling yourselves the “Party of Lincoln.”

He’s the guy who freed the slaves, right? Well, he hasn’t been “your guy” at least since Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy. So stop invoking his memory. 

Lincoln, who would never be welcome in today’s Republican Party, was a patriotic American citizen and an example to his children, dedicated both to keeping this country united and to improving the human condition. He understood slavery as the scourge it is. 

Can today’s GOP and its followers make any of these same claims? No. And the old adage remains: The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. In the “Show Me” state of Missouri, we can confirm that. 

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Tilsen is a retired journalist whose 20-plus-year career included covering local politics and courts in her former home state of Minnesota. She has written for The Associated Press, Reuters, two newspapers and three television stations and is the recipient of four first-place reporting awards. She resides with her husband and mother in Cape Girardeau, MO, where she is a volunteer with the local Humane Society.

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