I don’t know how Democrats will lie and misrepresent their own history and the history of their political opponents this week in North Carolina.
But you can be sure it will be a major part of the Democratic convention.
I got to thinking about this after listening to Vice President Joe Biden insinuate to a mostly black audience last month that Republicans sought to enslave them, again.
Specifically, Biden said Mitt Romney is “going to let the big banks once again write their own rules – unchain Wall Street!” Looking around the room, Biden said in his best attempt at a Delaware drawl: “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
Biden is hardly alone. Democrats have been lying about themselves and their opponents for so long, few Americans understand the deep history of racism in the party. Even fewer comprehend that Republicans were the liberators of the slaves and the party that fought segregation.
I didn’t know this when I had my first opportunity to vote in 1972. I voted for Democrat George McGovern. I didn’t know this the second time I voted for president in 1976. I voted for Democrat Jimmy Carter. I still didn’t know the truth the third time I voted for president in 1980. I voted, again, for Carter and against the man who would later become my hero, Ronald Reagan.
That’s my political history in brief.
But let me give you a brief history of the Democratic Party, not according to me, but according to one of the most distinguished liberal American historians, Eric Foner, author of “A Short History of Reconstruction.”
I encourage you to read the whole book as you listen this week to the smug and self-righteous speeches in Charlotte. This is the history they don’t want you to know.
Take note of this summation of Foner’s book: “In effect, the [Ku Klux] Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to destroy the Republican Party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, re-establish control of the black labor force and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern Life.”
What occurs to me as I read these stunning words is how successful the Democratic Party has actually been in achieving those goals over the last 130 years. Today, it not only has “control of the black labor force,” it has control over the black vote – the very vote it sought to deny for most of those 130 years after the War Between the States.
This is why the late Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. He understood the history. He recognized who represented political allies and political foes.
Here’s some more from Foner, who tells the story most Americans have never heard – that the Klan’s war was not just against blacks, it was against Republicans:
“Violence was typically directed at Reconstruction’s local leaders. As Emmanuel Fortune, driven from Jackson, County, Florida, by the Klan, explained: ‘The object of it is to kill out the leading men of the Republican Party … men who have taken a prominent stand.’”
“Jack Dupree, victim of a particularly brutal murder in Monroe County, Mississippi – assailants cut his throat and disemboweled him, all within sight of his wife, who had just given birth to twins – was ‘president of a Republican club’ and known as a man who ‘would speak his mind.’”
“On occasion, violence escalated from the victimization of individuals to wholesale assaults on the Republican Party and its leadership. In October 1870, after Republicans carried Laurens County, in South Carolina’s Piedmont belt, a racial altercation at Laurensville degenerated into a ‘negro chase’ in which bands of whites drove 150 freedmen from their homes and committed 13 murders. The victims included the newly elected white probate judge, a black legislator and others ‘known and prominent as connected with politics.’”
“Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee social club, the Ku Klux Klan spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a ‘reign of terror’ against Republican leaders black and white. Those assassinated during the campaign included Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds, three members of the South Carolina legislature, and several men who had served in constitutional conventions. In Louisiana, even moderate ex-Governor Hahn by October complained that ‘murder and intimidation are the order of the day in this state.’ White gangs roamed New Orleans, intimidating blacks and breaking up Republican meetings. In St. Landry Parrish, a mob invaded the plantations, killing as many as 200 blacks. Commanding Gen. Lovell Rousseau, a friend and supporter of the president, refused to take action, urging blacks to stay away from the polls for self-protection and exulting that the ‘ascendance of the negro in this state is approaching its end.’”
I could go on and on with this well-documented history.
Not only are today’s Democrats lying about themselves and their opponents. They are telling a story that is the polar opposite of the truth.
How do they get away with it?
Who do you suppose really wants to keep blacks in chains?
In fact, look around – who has actually kept them on their plantation?