Monday, January 20, 2014

GOP - Grand Old Party of Racists and other Bigots

"Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness — justice. "
- MLK, Jr., "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" 1967

This is the danger of right wing revisionist history.

One week ago, to the day, Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder of GOProud left the Republican party, because of right wing intolerance and bigotry.

From Time Magazine:
I am not leaving because of one issue. I have never been a single-issue voter. If I were I would have left a long time ago, frankly. It is about a culture, and it is about what is acceptable in American life today and demonizing other Americans simply because of who they are, whether it is their ethnic or religious background or their sexual orientation, whatever it is, is not acceptable.
From LaSalvia's blog via Huff Po:
The other reason I am leaving is the tolerance of bigotry in the GOP. The current leadership lacks the courage to stand up to it - I'm not sure they ever will.  ...but there is more work to do to root out the anti-gay and other forms of bigotry in the party.

One of my greatest irritations on celebrating the holiday that honors Martin Luther King, Jr. is to hear our modern radical right Republicans making the claim that they are the party of Lincoln, that the civil rights movement succeeded because of Republicans, and that Democrats are the party of racists and racism, because of the events that occurred during the period of the Civil Rights Movement in which Martin Luther King, Jr. was prominent, and was assassinated.

It irritates me because it does not correctly reflect history then or now.  The Civil Rights Movement than - and now - was and is NOT about Democrat and Republican, but about Conservative and Liberal.  It was and continues to be the case that CONSERVATIVES have opposed racial equality and have appealed to the racists.

If you doubt that, look at this article from Salon that cites efforts at the time to discredit King and to oppose this holiday.  I've heard this same argument years later -- that the violence of southern racists was really all MLK's fault, not the fault of those who were violent (so much for the party of personal accountability):
that “violence was exactly what he wanted,” citing King’s own article in the April 3, 1964, Saturday Review. There King laid out his strategy: Nonviolent demonstrators went into the streets to exercise their rights, and racists resisted by unleashing violence against them, which led “Americans of conscience” to demand federal intervention and legislation. “So,” Stang concluded, “the violence he [King] got was not a surprise” and King “did not dislike it. He wanted it in order to pressure the Congress to enact still more totalitarian legislation.”

Continuing from the same Salon piece:
John Ashbrook did not show up for the hearing, but he joined McDonald in submitting a written statement. “It is not popular and certainly not politically advantageous to speak in opposition to a man who has been canonized by the news media and by many . . . who profess to advocate civil rights,” Ashbrook acknowledged. But “Rev. King’s motives are misrepresented. He sought not to work through the law but around it, with contempt and violence. How soon we forget. When will politicians learn to accept history as it really happened instead of history as told by the Washington Post?” The issue was whether Congress would “support the fictional assessment of Dr. King” by adopting a holiday that would “take the taxpayers for a ride to the tune of millions and millions of dollars” and whether America’s children would “be misled into believing” that King was a great man and learn to speak of him “with the same reverence” they now reserve for Washington and Lincoln.

Opponents to the MLK holiday have included President Reagan and Senator and presidential wannabe John McCain. Reagan actually BLAMED MLK for being assassinated, not the assassin for being racist:
The murder “was a great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order and people started choosing which laws they’d break.”
Because apparently civil disobedience is what is wrong when MLK was killed, not racism and a willingness to engage in unlawful violence?
This conforms to what I have so frequently observed in our modern conservatives, the pattern of falsely claiming to be victims when they are not.  The claim that someone made you attack them, with clubs, and police dogs, and firehoses when they exercised the same rights as white Americans is patently wrong on the face of it.  But conservatives eat up that nonsense with a spoon -- a BIG spoon -- and swallow it down with a smile.

Back in the 1950's and 60's, there were liberals and there were conservatives in BOTH the Democratic and the Republican party.  The liberals in the Democratic party, like Minnesota's own Hubert Humphrey, put platforms supporting civil rights in the Democratic platforms as far back as the latter 1940s - around the time that Democratic president Harry Truman desegregated the U.S. military in 1948.

Dixiecrats were the original DINOs, Democrats in Name Only.  After the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960's, and the support of the federal government for civil rights protesters and desegregation, those Democratic conservatives began the great migration to the Republican party where they were welcomed, and where racism continues to be welcomed.  Conservatives were racist back in the day when MLK was alive, and they continue to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment