prev next

Jerry Shenk


Ban One, Ban All Symbols of Racist Past

by Jerry Shenk
 

BImmediately following the horrifying Charleston church shootings, demands arose to remove a vestigial symbol of the old slave-holding South -- the Confederate flag.

It's unclear how purging an artifact of American history will repair the senseless act of a homicidal lunatic, but, if it's logically defensible to ban a flag, shouldn't that instinct be applied consistently? Shouldn't all surviving historical symbols of slavery and racial animus be similarly eradicated?

One enduring symbol of bigotry which supported slavery, segregation and the Ku Klux Klan has an ugly history of institutional racism — the Democratic Party.

Democrats still annually observe Jefferson-Jackson Day. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and slave-owner Andrew Jackson, father of the modern Democratic Party, dispatched native-Americans on a "trail of tears and death."

Writer Jeffrey Lord recounted Democrats' troubled racist history by reviewing the Democratic platforms from 1840 through 1860, all of which contained planks explicitly defending slavery. Prior to secession, their 1860 platform expressed implicit support for the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision "which legal scholars say was designed to write slavery into the Constitution."

Northern Democrats opposed Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and, as the Civil War wound down, resisted passage of the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery.

The Confederate battle flag was surrendered forever in 1865, but Democrats continued to fight equality by opposing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments which guaranteed rights and protections for American citizens, including former slaves. Democrats then devised new oppressions such as poll taxes and Jim Crow laws.

In the 20th Century, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, an avowed racist and eugenicist, segregated the Army and federal government. Both were integrated by Republicans before Wilson and re-integrated by Republicans after FDR.
Founded by Democrats, the Ku Klux Klan, described by Columbia University historian Eric Foner as "a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party," ran the Democrats' 1924 New York convention, known widely as the "Klanbake"

President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Hugo Black, a lifetime member of the Klan, to the Supreme Court, and KKK Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops, Democrat Robert Byrd, was president pro tem of the Senate, third in line to the presidency, from 1989 to 2010.

A 1956 "Southern Manifesto" expressed opposition to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education which directed the integration of public schools. It was signed by 101 members of Congress. Ninety-nine were Democrats. There remain, extant, official portraits of, monuments and memorials to dozens of the signers and their racist Democratic antecedents. If the flag of a failed 150-year old insurrection must go, shouldn't those disappear, too?

In the current climate of politically-correct hysteria, there is no modern "context" to excuse Jackson, Wilson, Byrd and other racist progenitors and members of the modern Democratic Party.

If an inanimate flag must be banned, why not ban the animate Democratic Party?

At minimum, Democrats should admit and apologize for their history of institutional racism and stop accusing their political opponents of the sins for which, for two centuries, their own party has been guilty.

http://www.ldnews.com/opinion/ci_28464096/ban-one-ban-all-symbols-u-s-racist


Share   Share

Featured Columnists
Featured Audio Links