Opinion: Real details of Lincoln’s ‘Lyceum Address’

GOP Chair Dorothy Moon is correct, and there are clear parallels in the symbolism of the “Lyceum Address.” In his “Lyceum Address,” Lincoln spoke of his fear that ambition would take over the rule of the people. Lincoln saw this in the actions of people breaking away into mobs. Republicans should be questioning if Idaho can still be called a red state.

The Idaho GOP continues to brag about reducing taxes and being responsible with taxpayer money. The GOP has spent taxpayer money using private lawyers to fight culture wars. GOP Chair Moon is right in her op-ed about Lincoln’s call to the rule of law. However, her recollection of recent events appears to be clouded, like when her party broke their bylaws endorsing candidates — this mob of rogue Bonneville County GOP members.

In Moon’s op-ed, she shares that the Idaho Republican Party offers a sound platform. It must be kept in GOP Chair Moon’s pocket because it is not on their web page. Their page is full of Moon’s rants about other states’ left agenda or her affinity with others states’ extremist leaders. The page does mention “protecting” Idaho against ranked-choice voting. What’s strange is that topic is far from reality. Chair Moon wants to change voting so that only predetermined or qualified GOP members can vote in primaries. The only possible visual is something like “The Hunger Games.”

A well-funded third-party organization heavily influences the Idaho Legislature. An organization misbranded for Idaho and run by residents of other states. GOP Chair Dorothy Moon would rather give ear and action to this minority than listen to and promote policy that would help a majority of Idaho’s citizens. Lincoln saw that our government could be at risk with autocracy or the few fueled by money and ambition. The Legislature has kicked off the current session with a full attack on Idaho’s citizens versus solving the glaring problems we have around health care, education and inflation.

Idaho’s supermajority GOP is struggling to color in their own lines. Voting for the few, removing health care rights, taking away initiative rights and increasing government control does not look like the “red” state from 20 years ago. The Idaho Constitution ensures education and a voucher system strips schools of necessary funding to keep their doors open. It seems like a different interpretation of Lincoln’s call to focus on liberty. Idaho is the second-highest Republican-led state in the Union. People are getting left behind here, but it is not by Democrats.

Lincoln’s speech was written 28 years before the Civil War. It was a civics lesson on the rights and duties of citizens. Lincoln warned us to be watchful of events like Jan. 6 and how they may influence the efforts of one party. For GOP Chair Moon to bring it up on the heels of Nichols and the Buffalo murderer sentencing shows how little she understands the speech and her hopes that everyone would read the headline she shared and not the details of the address.

Dan Barker is a leadership consultant and the vice-chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.