Ideas worthy of debate

Today, we’re near the home of Howard Baker, Jr. (1925-2014), in east Tennessee. For a century after the Civil War, east Tennessee was evenly divided between Democrats (many of whom were descendants of Confederate sympathizers), Republicans (many of whom were descendants of Union sympathizers), and independents (of various lineages). Things change.

Earlier this week, I asked my 90-year-old aunt (born six years after Howard Baker) about her “group of five” very close friends from her years at Hiwassee College (1949-1951). She said, “We lived in the same dorm on the same floor.” Then she added, “We were all Methodists and all Republicans.” I have some nostalgia, and considerable grief, for the GOP.

Both major political parties are debating their essential convictions. The Republican Party, beginning with Lincoln, has a heritage of noble ideas and principles. Will they be true to them? Or, will they be a personality cult that tolerates insurrection? God be with them.

Last Friday I saw a refreshing conversation on Firing Line with Margaret Hoover and George Will: “What does it mean to be a conservative today.” Click here to watch it on YouTube.

From the September 17, 2021 edition of PBS’ Firing Line with Margaret Hoover. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will discusses the conservative movement from William F. Buckley Jr. to the present, why he says many modern Republican politicians are not true conservatives, and what’s next for Trumpism

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