It’s becoming apparent that Democrats have run out of material to help them win policy-arguments with Republicans. Desperation has driven them to hurling wild charges of “racism” when they clearly have no other weapons for contending in the political arena. Former Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in an earlier Congress, declared that “…the Republican base [has] elements that are animated by racism.” This was Mr. Israel’s validation of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that “racist motives” had kept House Republicans from passing comprehensive immigration reform. These were just some recent salvos in Democrats’ determined effort to brand Republicans as racists.
At a certain level, one has to admire Democrats’ success in their half-century campaign of standing the historical record of racism and politics in the USA completely on its head. So successful has this media-assisted effort been that most Americans born after 1960 have no idea that Democrats were the historical “3-S” Party – i.e., Slavery, Secession, and Segregation – from 1820 to 1965. Indeed, even contemporary Democrats seem unaware that Republicans championed blacks’ release from slavery, and their integration into full participation in American life – including the right to vote. (If Democrats do actually know this, delicacy evidently prevents them from mentioning it.)
Most schoolchildren know that Lincoln and the Republicans freed the slaves. But I doubt if modern students are much taught that Democrats championed not only the Confederacy, but also the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, segregated water fountains and lavatories, blacks eating at restaurants’ back-doors, segregated schools and hotels, poll taxes, voter-literacy tests, fire-hoses, police dogs and lynchings. (How many under-45 voters even know this?) Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who grew up during the Jim Crow era, in Birmingham, Alabama, affirms that only Republicans would let colored people vote.
Democrats like to recall that presidential candidate John F. Kennedy helped get Martin Luther King, Jr., released from jail in 1960. This led Dr. King to endorse JFK and caused many blacks to regard Democrats as supporters of their cause. But springing MLK from jail was just a campaign gesture by JFK. He actually didn’t approve of the great “I have a dream” march on Washington in August 1963. Although now retrospectively revised into a great friend of black civil rights, JFK actually voted against 1957 Civil Rights legislation while he was a senator. And Robert Kennedy, JFK’s Attorney General, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated on suspicion of being a communist.
Southern Democratic senators (including Al Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and Sam Ervin) filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights bill for 83 days before Republicans, led by Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL), shamed some Democrats into breaking the filibuster and passing the landmark law. Former Vice President Al Gore’s claim that his father had battled Tennessee racists over black civil rights was just a little off the mark. (Details, details…)
National Black Republicans Association Chair Frances Rice provoked an uproar among black Democrats in 2006 when she sponsored ads asserting that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Republican. Standing by her ads, Dr. Rice said, “Dr. King absolutely was a Republican. We all were in those days. The Democrats were training fire hoses on us, siccing dogs on us.”
In a bit of comic relief (which he always dependably supplied), the late Marion Barry, former Mayor of DC, spoke out definitively on the Republican issue: “I heard a funny story that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Well, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and I can tell you he was not a Republican.” (Will Rogers always said he got his best material from newspapers.)
In her 2006 article on why MLK was a Republican, Frances Rice noted the following seldom-recalled historical details about Republicans’ involvement with black civil rights:
- Following the Civil War, Republicans amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom (13th Amendment), citizenship (14th Amendment) and the right to vote (15th Amendment).
- Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 – the latter designed to enfranchise blacks in the Democrat-controlled South.
- Black Republicans founded the NAACP in 1909.
- Republicans founded most of today’s black colleges and universities.
- President Eisenhower ended Woodrow Wilson’s limitation of minorities to menial jobs (janitors, maids, repairmen, food-servers, etc.) in the Federal civil service.
- President Richard Nixon’s 1969 Philadelphia Plan (designed by black Republican Art Fletcher) established the nation’s first “affirmative action” goals and timetables to help undo Wilson’s 1913 segregation of the U. S. Civil Service.
- Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL) – key senator for civil rights legislation in 1957, ‘60, ’64, and ‘65 – wrote language for the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah – all that was the distant past,’ say current Democrats. ‘But times have changed. Today’s Democrats are the great friends of minorities (of all colors), ethnicities, genders, and sexual proclivities (excepting heterosexuality). Republicans are the real racist-oppressors.’
What evidence is offered to support this charge? During Mr. Obama’s presidency Dems cited GOP opposition to the president’s policies as Exhibit A. Mr. Obama was a black man. (Well, half-black, anyway.) Obviously then, all Republicans opposed to such a good, well-meaning man-of-color must be motivated by racism. What else could it possibly be?
This pulls the veil away from Democrats’ entire political strategy in the current era: skin color trumps all. Policies can no longer be debated and critiqued on their merits or economic realities. Anything proposed or championed by any Democrat minority is sacrosanct. If such proposals are opposed by any Republicans, anywhere, then the swift and certain charge will be “racist!” And Big Media’s Storm Troopers will hammer the charge until it sticks.
No more of “I yield to the Honorable Gentleman across the aisle…” That’s kaput. All Republicans are racists now. (We know it, and we don’t need no steenking evidence.)
The worst part of this scenario is that we seem to have forgotten how ugly real racism was. The term is now thrown around so blithely that we evidently don’t remember that a whole segment of the American population – millions of people rich in talent and possessed of boundless potential – was denied full participation in the nation’s educational, vocational and commercial life for decades, because their skin was dark. In the process, the most outrageous racist stereotypes were propagated:
- We knew (absolutely knew!) that blacks were too stupid to be pro quarterbacks, or mechanics, or engineers, or lawyers, etc.;
- We knew they could never be expected to achieve at the same academic levels as white students;
- We knew they could never maintain a home in a respectable neighborhood; etc., etc.
Yes, we knew all these things – but they were all lies.
In 1955 a Chicago teen named Emmett Till was lynched in rural Mississippi for flirting with a white woman. It wasn’t the last such incident, but it was a final salvo from the Jim Crow era when hundreds – perhaps thousands – of blacks were lynched across the South for the “crime” of trying to rise above their station, or for disobeying social norms which they had no voice in establishing. It was a savage era.
Finally, we elected a black man to the presidency who promised to lead us into a “post-racial” era. He seemed to have all the answers. “Thank God, Almighty!” we were going to be “free at last” of racism and its depressing legacy. Many old friends and relatives criticized me for not embracing the wonderful future this transcendent leader would bring.
But I was raised to look under the hood of a car before buying it. My old dad used to say, “When a thing seems too good to be true, it probably is.” That was my view of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Even if he would be “post-racial,” he had socialist leanings which shouldn’t be overlooked. But I admit that in my darkest musings I never imagined how recklessly his administration and its supporters would drive down the “racism” road, once the public and the media began to see that his glowing promises were just a pleasing tale designed to fool a gullible public.
So now, having finally overcome racism’s vile calumny on our national character, we’re being politically and socially hamstrung by gross overuse of a term that once conveyed a truly wretched social construct. Now, it’s “all racism, all the time.” We saw this modeled when a dispute between Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder and the House Judicial Oversight Committee – over documents from Operation Fast and Furious – degenerated into accusations by Mr. Holder that the committee’s demands were motivated by (surprise!) racism.
Mr. Holder also denounced Republicans for racist attitudes toward President Obama – declaring that no previous president had to endure such treatment. (Really? Did Mr. Holder snooze through the classes on the history of the presidencies of George Bush and Richard Nixon – or did he skip those classes entirely?)
During Mr. Trump’s presidency, Republicans’ failure to enact the immigration legislation that Democrats desired was cited as evidence of racism. Democrats also savagely branded Mr. Trump as a racist for trying to control our borders. Certainly nothing as trivial as financial or social considerations could make Republicans refuse to legalize the 20 million illegal immigrants now living in the country. No, it must be racism. Today the racism-charge applies to hordes of illegals pouring across the southern border at a rate of 2 million a year. Racism is all that Democrats can see in any opposition to their electorate-packing plans.
Outside the halls of government the racism-obsession has invaded the academic and business worlds as well. All across the land the Word Police have been busily scrubbing terms like: “enslaved” – “black-and-white issue” – “horse of a different color” – “show me the color of your money” – “Indian giver” and (especially) “Washington Redskins” from the vernacular. No doubt, the list of proscribed phrases and words will quickly grow to tremendous size. In America’s Brave New World of the future, many “accidental racists” will be cast into Outer Darkness for using the wrong word or phrase.
Besides all the silliness about race-tainted language, the new construct of Critical Race Theory is being mandated from the university level all the way down to the pre-school. Little kids guilty of nothing worse than chewing gum in class are being taught that their skin-color is more important than their intelligence, morality, ability and character. And if their color is white, they’ll branded for life as racist criminals.
Successful businesses have also been bullied into adopting race as the primary credential for placement and advancement – replacing the time-honored qualities of honesty, skill, experience, and ambition which formerly brought those companies to pinnacles of profitability and success. “The inmates are running the asylum,” is how many old-timers are characterizing modern business’s pell-mell rush to the bottom.
Perversely, this racially motivated destruction of education, business and government might become the final legacy of Democrats, whose current fixation on race is a continuation of what they were during those halcyon days of Slavery, Secession and Segregation. Under their transformative “Hope and Change” president’s leadership, race-relations were set back 50 years. And now Dems’ racism shock troops are on their way to making our society so obsessed with race that it will be the Devil’s own job to find our way back
The ray of hope for citizens of the Normal Culture, however, is an important facet of the American character: we can be pushed only so far before we stiffen and refuse to be pushed any farther. Extremists always assume that our easygoing nature means there is no limit to how far we can be pushed, so they always end up going too far. That’s what Democrats are doing now with their “race über alles” campaign. You’ll know we’re reaching the tipping point when you hear black parents denouncing Critical Race Theory and demanding that schools give their kids a solid education.
Hopefully we’ll soon shake off our racial amnesia and start thinking straight. We have a lot of work to do – setting things right in government, education and business. A key to accomplishing this will be recognizing who the real racists have been, and still are. Democrats haven’t really changed, and we have to stop listening to them. This needs to be their last gasp. It’s time to move ahead.
“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” Psalm 37:1-2