Attacks of Racism, Part 4

This entry is part 29 of 47 in the series Blog1

Questions for Political True Believers, Part 8

Did Democrats Change into Republicans?

True Believer: We find lots of major points. You sidestepped one a while back when I said that Lincoln was a liberal. If he were alive today he would definitely associate with the Democrats rather than the Republicans.

 

Thinker: And you think this because?

True Believer: Isn’t it obvious?

 

Thinker: No.  It is not obvious at all because it is not true. Give me one issue from the Left he would support today.

True Believer: We all know he was big on civil rights for he freed the slaves. Abolition was a liberal issue at the time. No doubt he would support civil rights today such as gay marriage, woman’s right to choose and rights for immigrants.

 

Thinker: Let’s take gay marriage. Did Lincoln ever give his views on this issue?

True Believer: No, but it is a civil right and he was for civil rights.

 

Thinker: Did Lincoln ever say he was in favor of civil rights as you define the term?

True Believer: Well, no, they didn’t have these issues back in those days, but if they did he would have been for them.

 

Thinker: And you know this because?

True Believer: It just makes sense.

 

Thinker: It may make sense to you but around half the population would disagree with you. One thing we do know for sure and that is Lincoln supported the true civil right of freedom in that one human being should not be a slave to another.  Can we agree on this point?

True Believer: I believe so.

 

Thinker: Why do you suppose he supported this principle?

True Believer: Freedom from slavery is very important.

 

Thinker: We agree on this.  Now let us list a few of the disadvantages of slavery. I’m sure you can think of a couple.

True Believer: I think we will agree there are quite a few.  For instance a slave has no freedom of choice, freedom to pursue happiness, free to do what he wants with his time etc.

 

Thinker: Yes, he didn’t have freedom to make and spend his own money, often couldn’t marry whom he wanted and could be separated from his family if he was sold. Being a slave was a pretty painful and degrading experience. Just the thought of being owned by another human being is disgusting, is it not?

True Believer: We agree on that for sure.

 

Thinker: Now let us compare the civil rights disadvantages of gays who cannot legally marry to slaves of the past.  What are the disadvantages for gays who cannot legally marry?

True Believer: Well, for one they cannot visit their partner in a hospital.

 

Thinker: Do you know of any circumstance where this has happened in the last 20 years?

True Believer: I don’t have any at the tip of my tongue.

 

Thinker: Neither do I because this situation is very rare since most hospitals have become more accommodating. And now the Department of Health and Human Services has made it illegal for almost all hospitals to deny visitation rights from gay partners so that problem has virtually disappeared. So this is no longer a disadvantage.  Also gays can now serve openly in the military so that problem no longer exists for them. Can you think of something else?

True Believer: A gay partner wouldn’t automatically inherit the estate of his or her partner.

 

Thinker: True, but that problem is easily solved through an instrument called the Will. Anything else?

True Believer: There are numerous tax advantages and benefits that married people get that single people do not.

 

Thinker: This is true but it also works the other way around.  There are also benefits to remaining single. I’ve read stories of happily married people who got divorced just for tax purposes.  On the other hand, I have never heard of a couple getting married for the sake of government benefits. Have you?

True Believer: I’m not sure, but the point is they should not be denied the benefits of a married couple if that is what they want.

 

Thinker: How about two heterosexual business associates of the same sex?  Should they be allowed to marry for sake of benefits?

True Believer: I never thought about that. I think such a thing would be rare.

 

Thinker: Not if the benefits are really as great as the Left seems to think. The point I am trying to make here is that civil rights denied to gays may pose a small inconvenience but it is miniscule compared to the civil right fought for by Lincoln. Slavery was a big deal and the cause of enormous suffering that has no comparison to any right denied people today – except maybe for one.

True Believer: What’s that?

 

Thinker: The right of citizens to keep their own money because of over taxation and the debt the government is placing us under. It is true we do not have all the painful suppression of the slaves but not having control over your income and the mortgaging one’s future certainly has some of the aspects of slavery. Since Lincoln was big on individual liberty I think he would have been for lower taxes and against mortgaging our future through overspending, as is the case today. As far as gay civil rights goes I think that the problem is so small in comparison to the slavery issue that it would have just been a big yawn for him.

True Believer: You don’t know that.

 

Thinker: True, I do not know for sure.  It is an intelligent guess, but at least there is some reasoning behind it. You say that Lincoln is more like a Democrat than a Republican because he was for civil rights?

True Believer: True

 

Thinker: Then why is it that the Right today are the ones who are always talking about freedom and going out of their way to encourage democracy and freedom throughout the world?

True Believer: I don’t see it that way.

 

Thinker: On the other hand, it is the Left who are the most supportive of totalitarian regimes that enslave their people. I don’t think you have a case for equating Lincoln’s efforts to bring freedom with the Left today. Lincoln founded the Republican Party and I see no reason why he would not still support it over the Democrats if he were alive today.

True Believer: I don’t agree.

 

Thinker: Why am I not surprised? Perhaps we should examine Lincoln’s accomplishments.  Let’s look at some things he did in addition to fighting The Civil War. On March 30, 1863 he issued a day of fasting and prayer for the whole nation.  Here is a paragraph from it:

 

“Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;”

 

Tell me… Does that sound more like something a Republican or Democratic president would do?

True Believer: Well, that was a different time.

 

Thinker: It may be a different time but many on the Right still have this same respect toward God and the scriptures. Lincoln also established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.  Here’s part of what he said in his proclamation:

 

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

 

Does this wording sound more like a Democrat or Republican president?

True Believer: Like I said, it was a different time.

 

Thinker: Even so many on the Right still love these words by the first Republican President. The media, led by the New York Times, also hated Lincoln for fighting an unpopular war. They regularly called him a buffoon, insulted his intelligence and even compared him to an ape. They also called him a tyrant and conservative. Does this sound more like the media’s approach to Bush or Obama?

True Believer: I’ll have to check that out.

 

Thinker: Lincoln was also very strict on adhering to following the law as written, even if he disagreed with it. For instance, he supported enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act that returned runaway slaves to their masters, even though he was personally disgusted with it.  He worked to change laws he didn’t think was fair but while they were in force he honored them as binding. So if Lincoln were alive today how do you think he would handle the illegal alien problem?  Would he enforce the law or not?

True Believer: He would have sympathy for the illegals.

 

Thinker: Maybe he would.  But he also had great sympathy for the slaves but he still supported enforcing the law.  What does that tell you about how he would have handled illegal aliens?

True Believer: (He stalls and cannot think of an intelligent answer.)

 

Thinker: It is obvious he would not support the Democrat position of ignoring the law or just flagrantly negating it. It is possible that if he were present today he would support changes in the law but while the law is in effect he would support enforcement. He really sounds like a Republican, does he not?

True Believer: Not to me.

 

Thinker: Of course not, because that is what you feel.  Feelings, however, do not lead to truth but reason does and reason tells us he was a Republican at the beginning of the party and he would still be a Republican today, or at least lean much more toward them than the Democrats.

True Believer: One thing you are not taking into consideration is the small item of the Dixiecrats in the South. These were a racist and biased wing of the Democrats that became Republicans after being disgusted with The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Obviously this bunch found a home for their racist in the Republican Party.

 

Thinker: Are you aware that the Dixiecrat party did not even exist in 1964?  It materialized for the 1948 election and afterwards faded away.

True Believer: Maybe so, but the racist Dixiecrat influence continued.

 

Thinker: Are you aware that this influence continued with all the Dixiecrats staying in the Democrat party?

True Believer: But the Dixiecrat adherents started switching after the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

 

Thinker: To accuse Democrats of switching to the Republican Party because of racism just doesn’t make sense. Since more Republicans voted for the civil rights legislation more than Democrats then why would anyone come to the Republican Party to be against civil rights?

True Believer: The racists did seem to feel more at home there.

 

Thinker: And by racists you mean the Dixiecrat leftovers?

True Believer: Yes.

 

Thinker: And do you know where the word Dixiecrat came from?

True Believer: Well, the Dixie part makes it obvious they were from the South.

 

Thinker:  That much is correct. The word Dixiecrat is called a “portmanteau,” which means it is created from two words. You identified one of the words which is “Dixie.”  The second is “Democrat.” If they felt closer to the Republicans they would have called themselves Dixiecans. The fact is the Dixiecrats were true blue Democrats who were against civil rights that temporarily bolted the Democrat party in 1948 to create an extra wing of the Democratic Party. After the election the party leaders made peace with them and just about all returned, including Strom Thurman. None joined the Republicans. It wasn’t until 1964, long after the Dixiecrats collapsed, that Thurman joined the Republican Party because he liked Goldwater’s stand on states rights.  The Republican party was a good influence on him. As a senator he hired black staff members, and became among the first of the Southern Senators to fully back integration of races in the 1970s.

 

So, the bottom line here is that 16 years after the Dixiecrat party collapsed one person switched to the Republicans and all the rest stayed with the Democrats. You’re not making much of a case that the Dixiecrats morphed into the Republicans.

True Believer: I do seem to recall that others followed Thurman into the Republican Party

 

Thinker: Two other Dixiecrat sympathizers joined the Republican Party much later. Jesse Helms joined in 1972 and Mills E. Godwind, Jr. came aboard in 1974 – a long time after 1948. By that time the Dixiecrat Party was a distant memory. They were drawn to the Republicans more because they were conservative rather than race as they could espouse racism in either party at that time. After all, the famous Dixiecrat and segregationalist George Wallace ran for President in 1972 as a Democrat. All but three Dixiecrats remained Democrats until they died. This makes your case that the Dixiecrats are now Republicans seem extremely weak doesn’t it?

True Believer: He mumbles something indistinguishable.

 

Thinker: It is also normal for few representatives to change parties now and then. For instance, Arlen Spector and Gabrielle Giffords used to be Republicans and switched to the Democratic Party, but we don’t claim it was because of something nefarious like bigotry.

 

I think we’ve covered enough ground here that even you will have to admit that there is little ammunition for the Left to accuse the Right as being the more racist.  Wouldn’t you agree?

True Believer: I’ll have to admit you have brought up points I have not heard presented before but I have to go by what I see before me and that is the Republicans show all kinds of signs of racism.

 

Thinker: But if that were true you would think you could articulate and justify even one point in your favor and you have not. You know what that tells me?

True Believer: No idea.

 

Thinker: It tells me tat you are not using your mind to examine racism but you are going exclusively by what you feel.  For some strange reason with no connection to reality you feel the Right is a lot more racist than the Left and facts just do not give any evidence of this.

True Believer: You have to admit that the Right lacks empathy and is a lot more mean spirited than us. It only makes sense they have no sympathy for minorities.

 

Thinker: If we are the big meanies then why is this whole conversation necessary?  I’ll tell you why.  It is not because we have accused you of anything nefarious but because you unjustly accuse us of racism and when accused we defend ourselves. You, at the beginning of this discussion, accused me of racism and I submit that defending myself does not show lack of empathy or meanness but is entirely justified.

 

If you are concerned about good treatment I have a proposition for you.

True Believer: What’s that?

 

Thinker: You don’t accuse me of racism, bigotry and being Mr. Mean Guy with no evidence and I’ll show you the same respect. Is that a deal?

True Believer: But if I have evidence I can accuse you?

 

Thinker: Sure.  If you have real evidence of wrongdoing then, fine.  Both sides deserve to be exposed for bad behavior.  The problem is that you have minuscule evidence of racism on our side.  If anyone has the right to accuse racism based on facts, it is us but we restrain ourselves. There are more important things to discuss.

 

How about it do we have a deal?

True Believer: All right I’ll bite.  I wasn’t as prepared for this discussion as I should have been.  The next time I’ll try and have better facts at my disposal.

 

They shake hands.

 

Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

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