Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More About Shirley

Getting the apology she deserves, I think.

Both sides of the aisle are using the issue to make the other look bad. Sherrod and others have blamed Fox and Glenn Beck, which actually didn't air the story until after her resignation. And Glenn Beck did not rail against her at all, in fact sided with her based on known information. Although I had the impression Beck relished using her situation to make ObamaCo look bad, not so much in defending her.

NAACP now claims it was "snookered." No, they reacted with a knee-jerk because they know that this sort of black racism is common. So did the White House, and have now sent Vilsack to pull Shirley from under the bus.

Here is a transcript of the speech in question. Quite a speech. In one part she says:

"I want to just share something with you and...I think it helps to -- it -- you know, when I learned this, I'm like, "Oh, my goodness." You know, back in the late 17th and 18th century, black -- there were black indentured servants and white indentured servants, and they all would work for the seven years and -- and get their freedom. And they didn't see any difference in each other -- nobody worried about skin color. They married each other. You know, these were poor whites and poor blacks in the same boat, except they were slaves, but they were both slaves and both had their opportunity to work out on the slavery."

I learned the same thing during my genealogy research. I saw in the 1700s and 1800s black and white married. Indian men and white women married. I was shocked as my cowboy history was under the impression that Indians kidnapped white women and made squaws of them. I found that Irish men married black women most often (true in my family). Many of the records I've read through portrayed a different idea than what public schools taught me. I saw slave families married and baptized on the plantations and attending church with their owners - I thought all slave marriage outlawed. I found black lawyers, doctors, business owners, politicians.

And I began to suspect that extreme racism was created after the Civil War by a political party that had no platform. Democrats. They pandered to the poor southern whites in the 1870s/1880s, and the party of victimhood was born. The defenders of poor Johnny Anywhere and poor Southern Johnny. Democrats birthed the Jim Crow era in the 1890s. They gave poor whites one thing to feel good about - they might be poor but at least they weren't Negro. Until then I found blacks and whites living side by side in the census in the north, the south, big cities, small towns, in whatever neighborhood they could afford. It was in the 1889-1890s that laws appeared banning interracial marriage and enforcing segregation. The Democrat party strengthened along with racist laws.

What's missing from the Democrats history:

* There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms supporting slavery. There were six from 1840 through 1860.
* There is no reference to the number of Democratic presidents who owned slaves. There were seven from 1800 through 1861
* There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms that either supported segregation outright or were silent on the subject. There were 20, from 1868 through 1948.
* There is no reference to "Jim Crow" as in "Jim Crow laws," nor is there reference to the role Democrats played in creating them. These were the post-Civil War laws passed enthusiastically by Democrats in that pesky 52-year part of the DNC's missing years. These laws segregated public schools, public transportation, restaurants, rest rooms and public places in general (everything from water coolers to beaches). The reason Rosa Parks became famous is that she sat in the "whites only" front section of a bus, the "whites only" designation the direct result of Democrats.
* There is no reference to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, which, according to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, became "a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party." Nor is there reference to University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease's description of the Klan as the "terrorist arm of the Democratic Party."
* There is no reference to the fact Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The 13th banned slavery. The 14th effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision (made by Democratic pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The 15th gave black Americans the right to vote.
* There is no reference to the fact that Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was passed by the Republican Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, who had been a Democrat before joining Lincoln's ticket in 1864. The law was designed to provide blacks with the right to own private property, sign contracts, sue and serve as witnesses in a legal proceeding.
* There is no reference to the Democrats' opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1875. It was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses Grant. The law prohibited racial discrimination in public places and public accommodations.
* There is no reference to the Democrats' 1904 platform, which devotes a section to "Sectional and Racial Agitation," claiming the GOP's protests against segregation and the denial of voting rights to blacks sought to "revive the dead and hateful race and sectional animosities in any part of our common country," which in turn "means confusion, distraction of business, and the reopening of wounds now happily healed."
* There is no reference to four Democratic platforms, 1908-20, that are silent on blacks, segregation, lynching and voting rights as racial problems in the country mount. By contrast the GOP platforms of those years specifically address "Rights of the Negro" (1908), oppose lynching (in 1912, 1920, 1924, 1928) and, as the New Deal kicks in, speak out about the dangers of making blacks "wards of the state."
* There is no reference to the Democratic Convention of 1924, known to history as the "Klanbake." The 103-ballot convention was held in Madison Square Garden. Hundreds of delegates were members of the Ku Klux Klan, the Klan so powerful that a plank condemning Klan violence was defeated outright. To celebrate, the Klan staged a rally with 10,000 hooded Klansmen in a field in New Jersey directly across the Hudson from the site of the convention. Attended by hundreds of cheering convention delegates, the rally featured burning crosses and calls for violence against African-Americans and Catholics.
* There is no reference to the fact that it was Democrats who segregated the federal government, at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson upon taking office in 1913. There \is a reference to the fact that President Harry Truman integrated the military after World War II.
* There is reference to the fact that Democrats created the Federal Reserve Board, passed labor and child welfare laws, and created Social Security with Wilson's New Freedom and FDR's New Deal. There is no mention that these programs were created as the result of an agreement to ignore segregation and the lynching of blacks. Neither is there a reference to the thousands of local officials, state legislators, state governors, U.S. congressmen and U.S. senators who were elected as supporters of slavery and then segregation between 1800 and 1965. Nor is there reference to the deal with the devil that left segregation and lynching as a way of life in return for election support for three post-Civil War Democratic presidents, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
* There is no reference that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the U.S. House came from Democrats, or that 80% of the "nay" vote in the Senate came from Democrats. Certainly there is no reference to the fact that the opposition included future Democratic Senate leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia (a former Klan member) and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of Vice President Al Gore.
* Last but certainly not least, there is no reference to the fact that Birmingham, Ala., Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor, who infamously unleashed dogs and fire hoses on civil rights protestors, was in fact--yes indeed--a member of both the Democratic National Committee and the Ku Klux Klan.

--- The party did so well for so long with pandering to southern whites and poor whites that, as the winds of change blew, they made appeals and promises to other oppressed groups, blacks and women - more "have not" votes. I began to think about this a couple of years ago. My oldest daughter asked me recently, "Where is my mother and what have you done with her?" I pointed out that if she looks close she will see that my ideas on justice, fairness, liberty, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, have not really changed. I simply started to question what didn't make sense when facts began to collide with what I thought I knew.

It explained why my dad, having been born in 1890, was a republican - he knew this. Some folks believe the Democrat and Republican parties have flipped platforms. I don't think so. The Democrats simply capitalized on ignorance and keep it always about "us" versus "them", a term I'm thoroughly sick of. Of course current politicians seem to meld into one party - the party of Reelection.

It used to be "us" was southern, "them" were yankees. It used to be "us" was colored, "them" was white. Now "us" is poor, "them" is rich. And usually when one of us is supposedly working for "us (poor)" we become one of "them (rich)".

Unfortunately Sherrod used us/them ideology in her speech. There's really no "we" in America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"There's really no "we" in America."

I have had that same thought with great sadness.

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