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Arnold Ahlert / August 19, 2015

Democrats’ Inconvenient History

For the last few years the promise of electing America’s first black president has given way to the reality that race relations have actually taken a turn for the worse. While some of the grievances that have emerged have been legitimate, there is little doubt that the “fundamental transformation of America” demanded by the Left and their media allies requires the elevation of a narrative over America’s historical record.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, 1770

For the last few years the promise of electing America’s first black president has given way to the reality that race relations have actually taken a turn for the worse. While some of the grievances that have emerged have been legitimate, there is little doubt that the “fundamental transformation of America” demanded by the Left and their media allies requires the elevation of a narrative over America’s historical record.

And that begins with the term “African-American” itself. There’s a reason I’ve consistently used black American when discussing race issues in my columns. First, African-American is largely inaccurate because it lumps black people from all over the world into a single category of origin. Yet far more important, it smacks of exactly the kind of Us vs. Them separatism that makes a mockery of Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech, where he hoped one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood” and people would be judged by the “content of their character, not the color of their skin.” Yet there was an equally, if not more, important part of that speech that has gone largely unheeded:

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Does that sound like the agenda of the professional race-baiters/rabble-rousers who inhabit the New Black Panthers or #BlackLivesMatter? Does it sound like Ferguson or Baltimore, where riots in the former were triggered by a completely debunked narrative, and riots in the latter were abetted by a black American mayor who believed anarchists should be provided "space" to perpetrate their anarchy? Can anyone imagine the uproar if a Republican president gave former Klansman David Duke White House access, or attended meetings of his race-based European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), just as President Obama gives White House access to Al Sharpton and has attended galas at Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN)?

Does anyone remember it was mostly Korean businesses targeted by blacks during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, or that a similar scenario played itself out in Baltimore this year? How do such inconvenient realities square with the odious theory promoted by MSNBC pundit and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, who insists black people can’t be racist because they don’t control the levers of power? And how does Dyson square Dr. King’s exhortation with his odious contention that the exoneration of George Zimmerman is an “injustice” that will only be recognized as such when the deaths of white kids “approximate the numbers of black and other kids who die”? What could be more unjust than the effort to turn the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin into a racial incident, an effort so desperate it literally required the creation of the term “white Hispanic” and the doctoring of audio by NBC to do so?

Whose agenda is being served here, there and everywhere else? Who has a vested interest in keeping Americans at one another’s throats to the point where even reasonable people are wondering if bridging the racial divide is still worth the time and the trouble?

If we’re going to talk about the institutionalized racism to which the American Left constantly refers, how about referring to those who actually institutionalized it? It wasn’t Republicans who set dogs and water hoses on black protesters in 1963 in Birmingham, AL. It was Democrat Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Conner. It wasn’t Republicans who denied James Meredith admission to the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962. It was Democrat and ardent segregationist Gov. Ross Robert Barnett.

And it wasn’t Republicans who desperately tried to hide their history of racism as they prepared to nominate Barack Obama for president in 2008. How many Americans know there were 20 Democrat platforms that either supported segregation outright, or were silent on the subject, from 1868 through 1948? How many know it was Democrats who opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, banning slavery, guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves, and granting black Americans the right to vote, respectively? How many know the Democratic Convention of 1924 held in Madison Square Garden was known as the “Klanbake” and that a plank condemning Klan violence was defeated outright — followed by a KKK rally attended by 10,000 hooded Klansmen in a field in New Jersey directly across the Hudson from the site of the convention?

How many know it was Democrats who segregated the federal government at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson upon taking office in 1913, or that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the House came from Democrats, a total that was topped by their Democrat Senate colleagues, who accounted for 80 of the no votes in that chamber? (Hat tip to CNN correspondent Jeffery Lord for the above research)

What about the oft-repeated myth the these so-called Dixiecrats migrated to the GOP and thus blacks migrated to the Democrat Party? Revisionist history of the highest order. First, 93% of Dixicrats remained Democrats for life. Second, black voters supported both Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman (overwhelmingly) long before this so-called migration occurred — and despite the reality that both men were members of the KKK. That “club” also included West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd who led a filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Nonetheless, Democrats are overwhelmingly supported by black Americans for two reasons. One, LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, and the reality that more Republicans supported it than Democrats has been swept under the historical rug; and two, Richard Nixon’s ostensible pursuit of a “Southern Strategy” that turned southern states towards the GOP, due to Nixon’s ostensible pandering, described by Democrats as employing “dog whistle” (this is where the term originates) terminology and “code speak” to woo voters concerned about desegregation.

That Nixon's track record demonstrated a steadfast commitment to civil rights, including the creation of an Office of Minority Business Enterprise in the Department of Commerce, a more than ten-fold increase in federal government purchases from black businesses ($13 million to $142 million) between 1969 and 1971, a budget increase for civil rights programs from $75 million to more than $600 million from 1969-1972, the initiation of the Emergency School Act to help end school segregation, and an executive order that called on federal agencies to apply Equal Opportunity (EO) policies to every aspect of personnel policies and practices?

An old Soviet proverb provides the best answer: The future is clear; it’s the past that’s always changing.

But there is a far larger question that must be asked: What have black Americans gotten from Democrats for their unwavering support over the last 50 years? How about an egregious learning gap in public schools, courtesy of a Democrat/education union symbiosis that protects the odious status quo? Or the utter destruction of the nuclear family, courtesy of LBJ’s Great Society and its change in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program? Before the advent of the Great Society, AFDC had been reserved for widows, as a means of funding once-married women who had lost the primary male supporter of the family. In the 1960s, President Johnson and Congress changed the qualifications: Any household where there was no male family head present became eligible for taxpayer subsidies, thereby incentivizing the breakup of the traditional family structure.

During those same 50 years, Democrats unceasingly promoted the idea that black Americans are victims of institutionalized and endemic racism that is impossible to overcome absent government intervention. Their latest effort in that regard is the promotion of skin-based “white privilege,” a term that might resonate among the coastal elites who bemoan the ostensible advantage automatically conferred to those of the Caucasian persuasion. But for the millions of white and other non-black Americans in “flyover country” who struggle to make ends meet, one suspects the same half-century of copious affirmative action programs and diversity set-asides — that must be embraced, lest one be considered racist — are rapidly approaching the end of their shelf life.

And perhaps it’s time black Americans recognized that government intervention is a double-edged sword. It is Democrats who are bound and determined to take black Americans and their votes for granted like never before: If they get their way, millions of illegals will be given the opportunity to compete with black Americans in an economy where the labor participation rate hovers near a 40 year low. And Obama and Democrats will pursue that agenda with an unbridled impunity made possible only by black Americans’ unstinting loyalty. A loyalty so entrenched that anyone who dares to stray from Democrat orthodoxy is branded a “race traitor,” just as conservative black Justice Clarence Thomas has been from the time he was nominated to the Supreme Court to this very day.

When something isn’t working, it is often a good idea to reexamine one’s premises. Perhaps it is time black Americans reexamined their belief that Democrats, and only Democrats, are looking out for their best interests. That reexamination begins with the simplest of questions: Why hasn’t 50-plus years of loyalty yielded little more than the very same discontent that arose in the 1960s? Hint: One definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.

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