Staunch vs. stanch

My buddy sent me a couple proof reading corrections for the last post in the second paragraph. One pointed out I meant stanch when I used staunch. They can be pronounced the same way with the “aw” sound but I’ll admit I never recognized that they had different spellings. They both suggest something akin to the strength of reinforcement. For instance: The GOP must stanch the loss of elderly adherents by by being less staunch in its nativist inclinations.

The first nativist party in the US the “No Nothings” was anti immigrant. Too many Catholic Irish were fleeing the potato famine bringing their terrible religion with them. Subsequent bouts of nativism hit American shores when too many Chinese showed up during the California gold rush. Then horror of horrors strangely speaking Eastern Europeans started answering the Corporate advertisements from American firms looking for cheap labor. That was a straw that led to a law I couldn’t recall having ever heard about. At the turn of the Ninteenth Century Congress passed a law taking American citizenship away from women who married legal immigrants. For thirty years that law deprived tens of thousands of women of their birthright and did so retroactively including one woman from Two Harbors.

Abe Lincoln was a pragmatist who was quite happy to solicit Irish and German votes and even No Nothing votes. Today’s GOP wouldn’t have much use for that RINO kind of thinking. Over the next couple decades they will find it harder to stanch the loss of elderly nativists and will be forced back to Lincoln’s pragmatism. Viva el Rinos.

There is another tenant of the modern GOP that might have to undergo some revision, the wealth protection laws that turned estate taxes into “death taxes.” Apparently to discover just how it was that the once anticipated economic equality associated with democracy has been turne on its head one economist began reading antique novels from earlier centuries. inheritance and wealth. He quotes a character in a Victor Hugo novel who tells an ambitious young man to forget about work and to marry a rich woman. Hey my Mom could have told him that. She read lots of antique novels by the Bronte’s, Jane Austin Charles Dickens etc. We had talks about how families did their best to protect their wealth. I read about primogeniture in my own history books. That where only the oldest son inherited all the land and the younger brother’s took the hindmost.

Anyone who has watched a lot of PBS’s Masterpiece theater over the years has seen the same like Downton Abbey. Marry a rich American woman. That was the call of several generations of failing noble English families and its been grist for hundreds of period piece dramas.

Well-to-do Americans have jealously guarded their wealth by intermarrying their children in America for generations. Its been a fixation that has been shared by other rich folk throughout history. In more recent generations it has been aided by country club memberships and gated community living. Those knocking eagerly from the outside for a piece of the action have been regarded with suspicion. My Mother told me about the woman who married a cousin of hers who was regarded as a “grass widow.” I guess that meant she was hiding in the grass waiting to snare their precious son. The threat to disinherit never was broached but that is another very real threat that has made it into countless dramas.

Well, the rich are getting richer and not only because they have built a social wall around themselves but a legal and legislative wall built with a political agenda to keep taxes like the estate tax low.

What kind of folks would accrue this wealth and then fight back attempts to share it? That’s another NPR story. this. Is it any wonder that NPR and PBS are always on the GOP chopping block?

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