By Alan Caruba
The Democrat Party has made much of the fact that this year they had a woman candidate and a black candidate vying for the party’s nomination to be its candidate for President.
To some of us with long memories and who lived in the South as I did from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, the Jim Crow, segregated society that existed was a fact of life with all its indignities. Throughout the South the Democrat Party was the Party. You could find five possums faster than you could find five Republicans. It was a solid voting block that Democrat Presidents counted upon.
That’s why the preening of the Democrat Party over how much more sophisticated and egalitarian it is these days strikes me as a lot of posturing.
And that’s why Jeffrey Lord’s article in the current issue of The American Spectator
(http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13681) is so instructive. When the Democrats gather in Denver to congratulate themselves on selecting a black presidential candidate, they might also want to explain why the Democrat National Committee website has been sanitized to remove the following:
No reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms supporting slavery. There were 6 from 1840-1860.
No reference to the number of Democratic presidents who owned slaves. There were 7 from 1800-1861.
No reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms that either supported segregation or were silent on the subject. There were 20 from 1868-1948.
No reference to “Jim Crow laws,” nor is there any reference to the role Democrats played in creating them. These laws segregated public schools, public transportation, restaurants, rest rooms and public places in general.
There is no reference to the fact Democrats’ opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. 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’s much more, but not only did the Democrats oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1866, they also resisted that one signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, mostly as a tribute to the slain John F. Kennedy.
In my lifetime, the Democrat Party was so divided over civil rights that, in 1948, a group dubbed the “Dixiecrats” led by Sen. Strom Thurmond actually fielded candidates of their own at one point in a States Rights party. They eventually returned to the fold.
After signing the bill, Johnson famously told an aide that the Democrat Party had just lost the South for the foreseeable future. He was right.
To be charitable, perhaps the Democrat Party is just trying to make amends for all those decades in which racism was intertwined in its politics. I suspect, however, that today’s generation of Democrats running the party and supporting it have little knowledge or recall of its ugly history.
For that reason alone, I have always wondered why blacks in America have clung so strongly to the Democrat Party. Didn’t anyone tell them that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican?