There is little more grotesque in its complete ignorance of history than listening to a left wing ideologue wax disingenuously on race in America. Today, its Howard Fineman telling us why Harry Reid - whom I defended below - should be forgiven for his "light skinned, negro dialect" comments on Obama:
Republicans don’t want to engage in a long, drawn-out discussion of who’s more committed to equality in this society, and who has done more politically for the African-American community in the last, oh, say, 40 years or so, because that’s an argument and a discussion Republicans are going to really look bad in, and they don’t want to continue it. Yes, Harry Reid made a very unfortunate remark, and, yes, it’s troublesome, but if you attempt to put the Republican party next to the Democratic party, it’s not only African-Americans who are going to look with the Democratic party with favor on questions of race relations but everybody else in the society pretty much, too.
What an utterly scurrilous man. Republicans would love a dialogue on race and equality. I personally have been screaming about it for years. The far left that controlls all aspects of the Democrat Party today is committed to anything but equality. To the contrary, what they practice is a form of paternalistic racism and what they seek is to use permanent victim class status to achieve political power. It is time once again to trot out a piece I wrote a year ago on the history of race and equality in America, updated with some information pointed out by a reader, O' Bloody Hell.
. . . Here are some facts, some of which you might not be aware:
- The Republican Party - the party of Abraham Lincoln - was borne in 1854 out of opposition to slavery.
- The party of Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan was, as Jeffrey Lord points out in an article at the WSJ, the Democratic Party. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) is the only living member of the Senate who was once a member of the KKK.
- The 13th (abolishing slavery), 14th (due process for all citizens) and 15th (voting rights cannot be restriced on the basis of race) Amendments to the Constitution were enacted by Republicans over Democratic opposition.
- The NAACP was founded in 1909 by three white Republicans who opposed the racist practices of the Democratic Party and the lynching of blacks by Democrats.
- The 1940 Republican Party Platform included the following:
We pledge that our American citizens of Negro descent shall be given a square deal in the economic and political life of this nation. Discrimination in the civil service, the army, navy, and all other branches of the Government must cease. To enjoy the full benefits of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness universal suffrage must be made effective for the Negro citizen. Mob violence shocks the conscience of the nation and legislation to curb this evil should be enacted.
- In fairness, it was the Democrat Harry Truman who, by Executive Order 9981 issued in 1948, desegregated the military. That was a truly major development. My own belief is that the military has been the single greatest driving force of integration in this land for over half a century.
- It was Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former Republican Governor of California appointed to the Supreme Court by President Eisenhower, also a Republican, who managed to convince the other eight justices to agree to a unanimous decision in the seminal case of Brown v. Board of Education. That case was brought by the NAACP. The Court held segregation in schools unconstitutional. The fact that it was a unanimous decision that overturned precedent made it clear that no aspect of segregation would henceforth be considered constitutional.
- Republican President Ike Eisenhower played additional important roles in furthering equality in America. He "proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and signed those acts into law. They constituted the first significant civil rights acts since the 1870s." Moreover, when the Democratic Governor of Arkansas refused to integrate schools in what became known as the "Little Rock Nine" incident, "Eisenhower placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and sent Army troops to escort nine black students into an all-white public school."
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was championed by JFK - but it was passed with massive Republican support (over 80%) in Congress and over fierce opposition from Democrats who made repeated attempts at filibuster. Indeed, 80% of the vote opposing the Civil Rights Act came from Democrats. Women were added to the Act as a protected class by a Democrat who thought it would be a poison pill, killing the legislation. To the contrary, the Congress passed the Act without any attempt to remove the provision.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was the most well known and pivotal Civil Rights activist ever produced in America. His most famous speech, "I Had A Dream," was an eloquent and stirring call for equality. Rev. King was a Republican.
- "Bull" Connor was a Democrat.
. . . Nothing that I say here is to suggest that racism and sexism could not be found in the Republican party or among conservatives at any point in American history. But if you take any period in history and draw a line at the midpoint of racist and sexist attitudes, you would find far more Republicans than Democrats on the lesser side of that line. And you would find a much greater willingness on the part of Republicans, relative to the time, to effectuate equality. That was as true in 1865 as in 1965 - and in 2008.
Sometime about 1968, the far left movement emerged as a major wing of the Democratic Party. This far left wing hijacked the civil rights movement and made it, ostensibly, the raison d'etre of their wing. Gradually, the far left has grown until it is now the dominant force in Democratic politics. . . .
The far left fundamentally altered the nature of the Civil Rights movement when they claimed it as their own. They imprinted the movement with identity politics, grossly distorting the movement's goal of a level playing field for all Americans and creating in its stead a Marxist world of permanent victimized classes entitled to special treatment. The far left has been the driver of reverse racism and sexism for the past half century. That is why it is no surprise that, with the emergence of a far left candidate for the highest office in the nation, Rev. Jeremiah Wright should also arise at his side and into the public eye preaching a vile racism and separatism most Americans thought long dead in this country. Nor is it any surprise that the MSM, many of whom are of the far left, should collectively yawn at Obama's twenty year association with Wright. Wright is anything but an anamoly. To the contrary, he is a progeny of the politics of the far left.
The far left did not merely hijack the civil rights movement, they also wrote over a century of American history, turning it on its head. That is why
Bob Herbert[Howard Fineman], quoted above, is able to wax so eloquently while spouting the most horrendous of deceits. The far left managed to paint the conservative movement and the Republican Party as the prime repositories of racism and sexism. The far left has long held themselves out as the true party of equality. They have done so falsely as, by its very nature, identity politics cements inequality. Beyond that truism, the far left has for decades played the race and gender cards to counter any criticism of their policies, to forestall any reasoned debate and to demonize those who stand opposed to them. They continue to do so through this very day.
For example, Obama has attempted repeatedly to play the race card so as to delegitimize criticism of his policies. And today we have the Governor of New York calling the McCain camp racist for belittling the executive experience one could expect to be gleaned from the position of "community organizer." Apparently, according to Gov. David Patterson, "repeated use of the words 'community organizer' is Republican code for 'black'." What Gov. Patterson is doing is the well worn trick of taking any criticism of something pertaining to one of the victim class and recasting it as an illegitimate attack on the victim class itself. These tactics, which the left has used with incredible effectiveness in the past, have done incalculable harm to our nation over the decades. . . .
Mr. Fineman, it is not that the right does not want to debate this issue. The truth is you and your ilk will never willingly engage in such a debate. I can assure you, any number of us on the right would jump at the opportunity to have such a debate. The right has the facts, you have labels and a rewrite of history that will not stand up to the least of scrutiny. You are not the heirs to MLK, and little to anything for which the left has stood for over the past several decades can be called equality.