Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What American Political Party REALLY Supports Civil Rights?

Well, it is and always has been the Republican party.
Oh sure, nowadays, the Democrat party claims to be the party of civil rights.
But if that is about killing babies, making who one has relations with and sets race group against race group, then yeah, I guess that is the Democrat party.
The reality is brought to us by Kevin D. Williamson in the latest issue of National Review.
I, like most Americans knew that the Republican party was founded and motivated by ending the "peculiar institution" of slavery.
But what Mr. Williamson does here is lay out the case of the Republicans initiating and supporting the plethora of civil rights legislation from the time of its founding to yes, even today.
In this section of the article, Mr. Williamson lays it all out there for the world to see:

From abolition to Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, there exists a line that is by no means perfectly straight or unwavering but that nonetheless connects the politics of Lincoln with those of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

You get that, right? It was the GOP that supported legislation that many Americans know nothing about.
Take Civil Rights Act of 1875. It was to give all Americans equal access to public accomadations. That included inns (now hotels and motels), amusements, public access on land and water.
The proponents of the successfully passed legislation were Sen. Charles Sumner and Rep. Benjamin F. Butler. And, yeah, they were. . .Republicans. And it should be noted that Rep. Butler authored legislation, signed into law, to go after the most odious group in American history, the Ku Klux Klan.
But, sadly, in the deal with the devil to keep the presidency in Republican hands, once Rutherford B. Hayes became president and federal troops were removed from the South and a supreme court decision ruled the act unconstitutional, it was not enforced.
And understrand this.
The man that people give credit to passing the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, then President Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most openly racist, I mean really racist, men to ever hold the office of president of the United States.
Which leads to this contrast Mr. Williamson points out before launching into giving a brief, yet real history of Mr. Johnson:

And from slavery and secession to remorseless opposition to everything from Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, there exists a similarly identifiable line connecting John Calhoun and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

And of course Mr. Calhoun and and Mr. Johnson were. . .Democrats.
And Mr. Williamson points out that Mr. Johnson voted against legislation to protect Black Americans from lynching.
Yup, Mr. Johnson voted not to stop Blacks from being lynched but to allow it to happen. If ye can not vote to stop it, you're voting for it.
A brief digression.
A friend of mine always referred to Mr. Johnson as Lynchin' Baines Johnson. I do not know if he realized that he was not all that far from the truth. Maybe Mr. Johnson never actually lynched anyone, but he did not one thing to stop it.
While Mr. Johnson crippled the 1957 Civil Rights Act, he eventually allowed such a watered down version that no one was happy with. And while he got Northern Democrats to give him credit for passing essentially nothing, he could go back to his core Southern constituency and tell them he gave the dog a bone, so to speak.
Why, courtesy of Mr. Williamson, here is ol' Lynchin' Baines Johnson in his own words explaining the 1957 "compromise":

“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

Get that, Black America? The man many credit with being the Messiah because of the passage of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act thought that your forebearers were just too uppity! Your Negro forebearers were a problem that had to be dealt with.
But, there it is. And yet Mr. Johnson is seen as a hero. Some hero.
A lot of interesting information is provided by Mr.Williamson that shows Republicans were begining to make inroads into the South as early at 1938 when, in a reaction to the attempt by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt to pack the supreme court, the Republicans picked up 81 seats in the House of Representatives. One was West Virginia when a Republican broke the all-Democrat congressional delagation. And it really took a lot longer to finally elect a Republican senator but that happened in 1960 with the election of Texas Republican Sen. John Tower.
Mr. Williamson also explains that the conventional wisdom why Republicans are now the majority party in the South is all wrong.
For instance, in 1966. a young entrepenural Republican beat a veteran segragationist Democrat in a congressional race in Texas. Oh, that dude supported all civil rights legislation. That crazy right-winger was George H. W. Bush.
But what really got me thinking was what Mr. Williamson started his piece off with.
The fact that the Democrat party, with not one bit of irony, has enshrined itself as the party of civil rights.
Yet remember that awful Birmingham, Alabama police chief, Bull Connor? What party was he a member of? The Democrat party.
What president reinstututed segregation in the armed forces of the United States? Thomas Woodrow Wilson. And what party was he a member of? The Democrat party. Oh, for good measure, the first motion picture was shown in the White House while Mr. Wilson was president. Guess what that was? It was Birth of a Nation, the D. W. Griffith movie that glorfied and held up the KKK.
Of course I already went through LBJ and his true feelings about them there uppity Negroes.
And it was Democrats who opposed every minor or major piece of civil rights legislation up to and including the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In fact, President Johnson had to depend on Republicans to pass the landmark legislation.
Why in the hell has my party not gotten this out there to the masses?
Why do we allow the Democrat party to say the things that they say about a party that has done more to help those on the margins not by big welfare programs but respecting true dignity of all as individuals?
I belive that it is too complex for many in the party to explain. Some would say that look, Ronald Reagan opposed making MLK Day a national holiday. Never mind that he was opposed to the cost and not the honor of the man. Or that Mr. Reagan was not strong in dealing with apartheid in South Africa. No, he did not believe that sanctions would bring down the White government. And it did not. It was the collapse of the Soviet Union that ended many White South African fears of Blacks voting and participating fully in governing their country.
But one has to look at the history in total.
And this article by Mr. Williamson is one great place to start.

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