Kanye West was right.
For some people, slavery — not to mention segregation and support for lynching and the Ku Klux Klan — was a choice. And the Democratic Party website — right this minute — has a not-so-clever bold faced lie that for the 19th and most of the 20th centuries the party quite voluntarily was choosing to write political platforms that supported all of the above.
Take a trip here to the “About Our History” section of the website of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is the Democrats’ governing body and, as also noted elsewhere on the site, was first set up in 1848. The very first sentence starts this way:
For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights….
Scroll down — and remember this is posted right now in 2018 — and one reads this under the heading “1964 — Civil Rights Act”:
This landmark piece of legislation outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women and prohibited racial segregation. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it ended unequal voting requirements and segregated schools, workplaces, and public facilities.
What is not said is that, as noted here by CNN, “more than 80% of Republicans in both houses voted in favor of the bill, compared with more than 60% of Democrats.”
More to the point? By 1964, the party had been in existence for 164 years, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1800 with Andrew Jackson given credit by historians as the co-founder a bit later, with Jackson becoming a two-term president in 1828. Hence all those “Jefferson-Jackson Day” Democratic fundraising dinners spread across today’s Democratic Party landscape. (Although now, red faced, some Democrats are trying to abandon the name because it does in fact draw attention to the party’s choice — say again choice — in supporting slavery and segregation as both Jefferson and Jackson were slave owners.)
In 1840 the party wrote its first platform for its presidential candidate (incumbent President Martin Van Buren) to run on, and has been at that task every four years since. The newer Republican Party picked up the idea of platform writing when it gathered to nominate its first presidential candidate — John C. Fremont — in 1856. And ever after the GOP as well has been in the quadrennial business of platform writing. But there was one very, very big difference between the platforms of each party.
Which is where Kanye West’s recent controversy comes into play. West said of the 400 years of slavery in America: “That sounds like a choice.” His critics pounced, making the obvious point, among others, that there had been resistance aplenty from slaves. They were, of course, correct. Let’s leave aside something Kanye has been trying to say — that Democrats and the Left view blacks not as individuals but as slaves of an intellectual plantation that, if an attempt is made to leave, brings condemnation if not retribution. The latter exactly is what has happened to Kanye West as he has been recently pilloried for being… himself. I have no idea about Kanye West’s positions on anything other than that he loves the President. For all I know he may be at the exact opposite end of the political see-saw from me — a point also made over there at Breitbart by John Nolte. What I do know is that Kanye West has the guts to stand up to the bullies who demand he think like they do — or else.
But Kanye’s words also bring attention to an infinitely less comfortable point — a point made plain by the DNC’s own website. And in fact also illustrated, if inadvertently, by another recent statement by my old CNN colleague Don Lemon, who is on record calling President Trump a “racist.” Don gave a talk in which he said: “If you have the evidence that shows you, that indicates, that leads you to nothing else but this president being racist, then I feel it’s my obligation as a journalist to say it. On that night I said it, and I don’t regret saying it, I believe that to be true.” Well, to say the least, there is evidence aplenty of the racism that drives the American Left. When I tried to discuss an aspect of this on Don’s show once I was dismissed this way by Don: “Don’t take me back to some before the war crap! I don’t want to hear about something from 50 darn-damn years ago!” To borrow from Don, “America has the evidence aplenty that shows the Left and the Democrats have a horrendous racial history — a history of choice — that has carried right to this day, and we all have an obligation to say it.”
And Kanye, whether he knows all the evidence in detail or not, instinctively knows enough to speak up.
Back there in the stone age of 2008, I wrote a piece here when the DNC had another version of their website posted. I said at the time:
The DNC website section labeled “Party History,” linked here, is in fact scrubbed clean of the not-so-little dirty secret that fueled Democrats’ political successes for over a century and a half and made American life a hell on earth for black Americans. Literally, the DNC official history, which begins with the creation of the party in 1800, gets to the creation of the DNC itself in 1848 and then… poof!… the next sentence says: “As the 19th Century came to a close, the American electorate changed more and more rapidly.” It quickly heads into a riff on poor immigrants coming to America.
And why, pray tell, was that the case? I wrote:
*There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms supporting slavery. There were 6 from 1840-1860.
*There is no reference to the number of Democratic presidents who owned slaves. There were 7 from 1800-1861
*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 1868-1948.
*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 Civil Rights heroine Rosa Parks became famous is that she sat in the front of a “whites only” 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 Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth banned slavery. The Fourteenth effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision (made by Democrat pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The Fifteenth gave black Americans the right to vote.
*There is no reference to the fact Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was passed by the Republican Congress over the veto of Democratic President Andrew Johnson. 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 Democrat platforms, 1908-1920, 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 lynchings (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 DNC-sponsored Democrat 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 of the United States, specifically 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.
So with all of that in mind — one example after another of the Democratic Party making a choice for a thoroughgoing racism the current DNC website says: “For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights….”
So I have, as they say in world of journalism, “reached out” to the DNC to ask them about their wildly misleading website. My note said as follows:
Hi… I am writing a column for The American Spectator with a deadline of 5pm Monday.
My question: In lieu of the controversy over Kanye West’s remarks about slavery being a “choice,” I wanted to inquire about this line from your website that reads: “For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights….”
In fact, having researched this issue, the Democratic Party has, since it first began writing its political platforms in 1840, written platforms with on-the-record support for slavery (six platforms) and segregation (twenty platforms either specifically supporting or being silent on the subject). Your party has also used the Ku Klux Klan as its “military force” (per Columbia University historian Eric Foner) and as “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party” per University of North Carolina historian Alan Trelease. President Woodrow Wilson segregated the U.S. government.
All of which is to say, for your party supporting slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Klan was a choice — and your party repeatedly supported that choice. Yet there is your website saying your party has “led the fight for civil rights” and done so “for more than 200 years.” A statement that is provably false.
My questions: 1. Will you be retracting that statement on your website? 2. Will you be providing the American people with the accurate history of your party on this issue? 3. Will you be issuing an apology to black Americans and Americans in general for your party’s choice in supporting slavery and segregation and the rest?
Since this issue has been raised in the media as a result of Mr. West’s statement it certainly seems fair to ask these questions.
The American Spectator
The deadline came — and went. The response? Silence. Complete silence.
But of course.
So. Kudos to Kanye West for showing up the game here. There in fact was choice involved in slavery — the choice of the slave masters to enforce it and the choice of the American Left and the Democratic Party to make a choice quite publicly to support the slave masters and the segregationists in return for serious political support in electing presidents, senators, congressmen, governors and who-knows how many thousands of state and local officials who supported the Left’s agenda of the moment. It was the most corrupt and openly racist bargain in American history, a horrendous deal-with-the-devil made by… choice.
If Kanye West does nothing else in his career but call attention to all of this, the man deserves all the credit out there that can be given.