The Reflexive Racism of the American Left
Jeffrey Lord
by

“Treat the Negro as a citizen and a voter — as he is, and must remain — and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle.”

So wrote President Ulysses S. Grant in a message to Congress in 1875. As Grant biographer Ron Chernow points out in his recent book, this was a “prophetic message” indeed from the man who won the Civil War that freed black Americans. Black Americans chained into the tyranny imposed in a political deal with slave owners that created the Democratic Party — and established the culture of racism that exists in the party to this day.

All of this, sadly — make that very sadly during the week that celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — surfaces yet again. Surfaces as, once again, the reflexive racism of the American Left is front and center in the controversy over President Trump’s alleged “s***hole” remarks.

Let’s leave “alleged” out of this. While two Senators present for the meeting say they didn’t hear the remark and the Senator who says he did — Democrat Dick Durbin — was outed by the Obama White House for making up comments by Republicans at a leadership meeting with President Obama. Let’s say President Trump did say it. Then?

Then a comment that had nothing to do with race was immediately transformed into an example of out-and-out racism. In the New York Times, Emory University’s Professor George Yancy asserts that the President is a “white racist.” And over at CNN, my old sparring partner and friend Don Lemon closed his “Trump is racist” monologue saying this:

And for all of you who over the last few years uttered that tired, lazy, uninformed, uneducated, ignorant response of calling me and others who point out racist behavior racists, you know what you can go do? I can’t say that, but you can go read a book. A history book.

Let me make this crystal clear. Respectfully to my friend Don — and I do mean respectfully — I have read history books. Lots of them. Plus original sources. And it is crystal clear from those original documents of history that the reflexive racism of the American Left — the Democratic Party — that the media determinedly ignores and that disturbed President Grant 143 years ago flowers still today in the Left’s “Culture of Racism.” And for a reason.

Let’s start with the history. Back there in the ancient times of 2008 I took note of that history in this space. I had discovered that the website of the Democratic National Committee was boasting of its party history in civil rights — with the curious omission of 52 years of party history. As I wrote at the time, what was missing was interesting indeed. And it certainly wasn’t getting much media coverage — then or now. Let me remind:

So what’s missing?

* 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.

* 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 reference 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 Democrat 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 percent of the nay vote on the bill in the Senate came from the 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 future Vice President Al Gore.

* Last, but certainly not least, there is no reference to the fact that Birmingham, Alabama Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor, who infamously unleashed dogs and fire hoses on civil rights protestors, was in fact — yes indeed — both a member of the Democratic National Committee and the Ku Klux Klan.

I am often criticized for mentioning this history. But the fact remains that history counts. To bring this to an individual level, if someone has spent their entire life chain-smoking cigarettes, it should come as no surprise when the doctor tells them that they have cancer. In this case, the American Left — specifically their party of choice, the Democratic Party — has been inhaling the poison of racism since Thomas Jefferson created the Party with the support of slave owners. It is now a full blown cancer — a “Culture of Racism.” There are very few Leftists not infected with this party cancer.

Let’s look at Grant’s message to America again: “Treat the Negro as a citizen and a voter-as he is, and must remain-and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle.”

A full 143 years after Grant wrote those words of warning the American Left and the Democrats have done exactly what Grant feared. By approaching issues always out of the Left’s Culture of Racism they have divided political parties not on principle — Big Government versus Limited Government or free markets versus socialism — but, as Grant put it, they perpetually have divided it “on the color line.”

The tragic part of this, as mentioned here last week, is that it has turned the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on its head.

Among the famous lines from that famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. King’s was this:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Dr. King was, in other words, in complete agreement with then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, when Kennedy said this in a speech in Kentucky a few months earlier in 1963 at Kentucky’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Said RFK, approvingly quoting Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan from an 1883 dissent to the overruling of the 1875 Civil Rights Act:

He (Justice Harlan) said, “Our Constitution is colorblind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.”

Kennedy also noted that Harlan had accurately predicted the future (not unlike Grant) in his dissent, when Harlan wrote that if the 1875 Civil Rights Act was overturned doing so:

… gives no other result than to render permanent peace impossible and to, keep alive a conflict of races, the continuance of which must do harm to all concerned.

That is exactly what happened — and the 1875 law written by Republicans, opposed by Democrats, and signed into law by President Grant had to be re-done in 1964. After almost 100 years of Leftist-driven racism that ran the Democratic Party with an iron fist — an iron fist of racism still at the center of the American Left today. Which the media simply ignores.

Now the Left is telling us, as did Laurie Rubel, a Brooklyn College math education professor, exactly the opposite of the King and Kennedy message — not to mention the Ulysses Grant message:

Teachers who claim color-blindness — that is, they claim to not notice the race of their students — are, in effect, refusing to acknowledge the impact of enduring racial stratification on students and their families.

By claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that she is dismissing one of the most salient features of the child’s identity and that she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction.

And as also noted last week, the Daily Caller surfaced a memo from ex-Hillary Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri, now President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, in which the bold pitch that “defending Dreamers” (aka DACA) was nothing less than a “Defining Political Moment for Democrats.” In other words, as Grant warned 143 years ago, the Democrats and the Progressive Left are still all about tying racism to the progressive agenda. That’s how they win elections — which the ex-Hillary aide candidly admitted.

Thus there is just incredible irony in Professor Yancy’s closing words in his Times article. Wrote Yancy:

So, as we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we must face the fact that we are at a moral crossroad. Will America courageously live out Dr. King’s dream or will it go down the road of bigotry and racist vitriol, preferring to live out Mr. Trump’s nightmare instead?

We are indeed at a moral crossroads. And those of us who believe in Dr. King’s dream of a colorblind America where all Americans are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character understand that the “bigotry and racist vitriol” in this country is not coming from President Trump or his supporters but rather from the American Left and the Democratic Party.

Which intends to perpetuate it for as far as the political eye can see.

That isn’t just sad. It’s tragic.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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