This has been an interesting year for the swamp. One of President Trump’s promises was to drain it, and he seems to be making a serious effort, stirring up the fury of the creatures who live there. The President’s talent seems to be saying things deliberately that will incite his opponents to overplay their hand, which they appear to have done numerous times. In doing so, the swamp things have been forced to show their cards, demonstrating to all their true nature.
I have had an old book on my shelf for a few years, but I have not gotten around to reading it. I noticed it recently and took it down to read, “The Tragic Era-The Revolution after Lincoln,” by Clarence G. Bowers, written about ninety years ago. The timing couldn’t be better. It is a description of the swamp of the post Civil War years.
Immediately after President Lincoln’s death, a cabal got together to determine how to take over the apparatus for the reconstruction of the south, undoing Lincoln’s plan for reconciliation and replacing it with their own plan for military occupation, domination, and plunder. Andrew Johnson, as vice president, assumed the office of president after Lincoln’s death, as constitutionally directed. It became obvious to the radicals or revolutionaries, as Bowers called them, that the newly installed president was going to be a big impediment, as he vetoed most of the legislation that would pave their way. In the words Ben Butler, one of the radical congressmen at the time, “If any man stands in the way of the great march of the country… he must be taken out of the way.”
The only way to take Johnson out of the way was impeachment. They could find no grounds on which to proceed, so they instead decided to manufacture such grounds. “...The morrow found [congressmen] Loan of Missouri and Ashley of Ohio introducing resolutions charging Johnson with every imaginable crime. Absurd as these were, [congressman] Welles was fearful that ‘infamous charges, infamous testimony, and infamous proceedings could be produced as easily as Butler could get spoons in New Orleans.’” Congressman Loan insinuated that Johnson had incited the assassination of Lincoln. “Butler was mysteriously promising them, [the investigation committee] startling revelations soon; for it was at this time that Butler and Ashley were hobnobbing with jail birds in an attempt to manufacture a case of murder against Andrew Johnson.”
“Meanwhile, in the Senate, Sumner’s personal attacks on Johnson suggested to Welles ‘a demagogue filled with whiskey,’ and the London Times was commenting that ‘it is the constitution rather than Mr. Johnson that is in danger.’” Other than the names, could this not be an apt description of recent proceedings? President Johnson was the Brett Kavanaugh of of the 1860s.
It is true that the swamp of today is much more diverse and sophisticated, with tentacles deep into the powerful intelligence apparatus that is being used by radicals to attack opponents of the progressive agenda. The Russian collusion investigation is turning out to be a coup attempt against a duly-elected president, all while ignoring the piles of evidence of actual criminal activity of allies.
It is a testament to the resilience of America and the strength of the constitution that, though there have been many periods of the swamp rearing its head, the principles that have guided America for almost two and a half centuries, the rights of individuals against the collective and against the state, the rule of law, and limited government, are still alive, though, at this point, they are gasping for breath against the tide of progressivism. Hopefully enough people are waking up to give them breath again.