It isn’t unusual for a party to run a campaign promising a return to the good old days. For the Republican Party this year, it would be wise to run on a campaign promising a return to the Reagan years, contrasting the deregulation and the economic growth of that era with current day expansion of federal power and a stagnant economy. However, many candidates who the Republicans have put forward seem to look even further back than that, to the great years of American history, such as 1953, 1947 and 1692.
First is Joe Miller’s recent assertion that the 17th amendment needs to be repealed to return power to the states. The 17th amendment, for those who’ve lost count already, establishes that the population of each state elects their own senators. Before its passage, the state legislatures or, in some states, governors, appointed their own choices of candidates to the United States Senate. Perhaps this is a sign of admission from Miller that he is not cut out for the rigors of the campaign trail. What fun is there to be had in abusing power when you have to earn the trust of the people first? Then again, maybe he simply wishes the Alaskan political process could have been expedited by his benefactor Sarah Palin simply appointing him to the Senate. Either way, Miller pines away for the days before people were allowed to choose who represented them. It’s not as if he is one of the more well-known faces of a movement that claims to want to take power back into the hands of the people.
Of course, Miller doesn’t just want to strip away rights from American citizens. He also wouldn’t mind implementing a bit of a police state. In a recent interview concerning his stance on illegal immigration and control of the border, Joe Miller sent a shout-out to his social control model of choice: “If East Germany could, we could,” control cross-border traffic. There is an inherent problem in giving people guns and a blanket order to kill anyone who crosses an imaginary line. I don’t think Miller sees it.
At the same town-hall where Miller rolled out his idea for a Soviet Bloc-style border security arrangement, he also rolled out a small-scale version of his own interpretation of the Stasi. When a reporter started asking him a question deemed ideologically unsuitable, Miller apparently summoned a private security detail to escort the reporter away. The private security guards were also getting used to the new role they would be playing in Alaskan life by “arresting” the reporter for a number of infractions, mainly trespassing upon a public event, and possibly being un-American and a traitor to the people. In the words of his opponent, Scott McAdams, “[Joe Miller], in case you were unaware, the Constitution also applies to reporters.” But in these hard times, some of us have to give up our Constitutional freedoms to protect the constitution. The scary part is that the previous sentence actually makes sense to Joe Miller.
Compared to Joe Miller’s desire to return to 1947 on the wrong side of the iron curtain, Rand Paul’s promise of segregated lunch counters and schools of 1953 seems almost timid. In an appearance on Rachel Maddow’s show, he claimed that the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1954 shouldn’t apply to businesses. It should be any establishment’s right to deny people of certain races entrance, because it is a right they reserve by owning said establishment, he argues. This runs roughshod over Brown v. Board of Education by again reiterating, in a different way, that facilities segregated by race can be separate but equal. It doesn’t help that his metaphor for explaining it likens black bar patrons to loaded firearms. Serving non-white people is a safety liability for businesses then? Paul claims he is “not in favor of any discrimination of any form,” but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind living in an all-white gated community. He might even be willing to locate a polling center in one.
The most idyllic time recalled by the Republican Senate nominees this year is close to our own hearts: Salem, 1692.
Christine O’Donnell has no issues with religious dogma controlling the law. Once accused of witchcraft, she has admirably proven herself innocent by crusading against masturbation, and she is now willing to fight to give Americans the right to be judged by religious tribunals. Because this country is not based on such ungodly concepts as the right to freely practice any religion and separation of church and state. “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” she defiantly asked her opponent Chris Coons in a televised debate. When her opponent brought up the first amendment, she was incredulous. “That’s in the first amendment?” she asked. Naturally, that amendment must be unconstitutional.
We will have to wait until tomorrow night to see, but I believe that American people are not longing for the days of the Salem witch trials, the Cold War, or the segregated South. For one, they’re already too used to those silly yellow buses. Sens. Boehner and DeMint, may I humbly recommend sticking with Reagan next time?
Yaroslav Mikhaylov is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.