It’s the kind of image and message you’d expect to stumble upon at a white supremacist website, and it’s been taken down after outrage about it spread, but the Chisago County Republican Party in Minnesota posted on its Facebook page a 19th century cartoon of a slave auction accompanied by the caption, “Against slavery? Don’t buy one.”
Talk about giving new meaning to free market ideology!
Here’s what’s being connoted: if liberal women can have abortions, why can’t white male conservatives own black slaves? Why shouldn’t owning black slaves once again be a choice, an option for whites who have no moral qualms about it? Let the market decide.
In Colossians 3:22, the apostle Paul wrote, “Slaves, obey your masters,” so this argument may also be a matter of religious liberty for some members of the Chisago County Republican Party, a complaint about liberal activist judges and federal legislators exceeding their rightful authority, making laws against things the Bible clearly permits.
So the message rings, subconsciously, the “states’ rights” bell of the contemporary right and combines it with that other hot-button issue, abortion. Fair’s fair. If liberals can get abortions, conservatives can get slaves. Do you think it’s morally evil to own a slave? Don’t buy one. Don’t live where slave ownership is legal. But let the individual states decide.
Put another way, liberals took away something conservatives once wanted to keep, slavery, and now conservatives want to take away something liberals want to keep, legal abortion. If conservatives aren’t allowed to do this–to have a win on abortion–then anything goes, and slavery should be brought back. It’s only fair.
It wasn’t so long ago that it would have been unthinkable for a major political party in a western democracy to even “joke” in this ridiculous and obscene manner. But the Republican Party over the past two decades has tragically metastasized into the George Wallace party. It needs to find its way back to be being a center-right Eisenhower party. I have no idea how it will get there.