So I watched C-Span this morning - as it my Sunday custom. It is a more interesting Sunday news show than those interview shows as it does not cater in the same manner to the guests: guests are tossed any set of questions the callers who get through can ask - and some of those questions are insightful and some of the answers are revealing!
Today we had a chance to meet Black, female conservative: Angela McGlowan. Angela is all upset that Black folks are by and large members of the Democratic Party and she wails that we are being exploited.
Well of course we are; for that is the way of America - or perhaps she really believes that owners of Mercedes Benz vehicles really do swoon over their cars in evening gowns and flowers or longingly polish away even the slightest of mark of dust on the otherwise gleaming, incandescent paint schemes.
Our consumer culture is built on exploitation and has been ever since the first ad campaign for a candidate. Black voters are exploited by Democratic candidates as surely as they were before by Republican candidates and would be again under that banner.
So exploitation is not the question.
The question has to be: which party will respond to the needs of the Black community in exchange for our votes?
The Democratic Party has a terrible record in this regard; in fact, it is only better than the record of the modern Republican Party; a party which bears ill-resemblance to the part of Lincoln. Angela seems unaware of this history - or perhaps she really is aware but has learned to profit by putting a Black face on conservative policies and candidates. I stopped by her homepage and left this message:
I watched you on C-SPAN this morning and although it was clear that you are very intelligent, it was also clear that you are very disingenuous, at best.
You mentioned that you grew up in Mississippi and you also mentioned the transition that Trent Lott made from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party; what you did not mention is that of course it is easy to find examples of what the Democratic Party has done against people of African descent, for it was the party of the 'Old South', going back to and even before the Civil War. Why stop at Woodrow Wilson? Why not trace all the way back to Andrew Jackson? Not only was he President, but he was also the man who marched the Cherokee out of Georgia on the 'Trail of Tears' all the way to Oklahoma (which was to be their land forever - until an expanding country realized there was good farmland there and some new stuff folks called 'Black Gold').
But there is no need to join in a lengthy historical dissertation: it is clear that you know all of that. Here is the point: it is self-evident that the Democratic Party of the 'Old South' exists today as members of the Republican Party. This transition was led by the man who perhaps coined the phrase 'Dixiecrat' (or for whom it was coined): Strom Thurmond; a man who ran for President in 1948 as a Dixiecrat: and why was that? His decision to run was inspired by the traitorous act - to him and those who think like him - of Harry Truman integrating the armed forces of the country. Ol' Strom was a member of the KKK too - and he actually fathered a child with a teenaged Black woman who lived and worked for his family. In other words: Strom fathered a child through the statutory rape of a servant girl. There was no difference in this act than any other in the previous generations of Africans in America since before this was a separate country - and it was done by a Democrat who became a Republican when too many Black folks came to the party.
That act of Truman's - one that he could take as the executive without requiring a vote in Congress - was a transition point for Black folks to begin voting for Democratic candidates; for all of our decades of support for Republicans - back since when the US Constitution was changed to provide us the right to vote - this was the first tangible, nationwide program that treated Black men and White men the same - at least on paper. Black men like my grandfather came back from World War II having supposedly fought for freedom and then they chafed against the bonds of Jim Crow back home. It was those men and their families who moved to leave the Republican Party of their youth for this changed Democratic Party; this led first JFK and then LBJ to recognize that their was a powerful voting block out their which could be tapped to win elections.
One last point in closing: you and Trent Lott are both from Mississippi - where is where Emmett Till was murdered so grotesquely back in the '50s. This was perhaps the single event of the 20th century that ignited all of the changes that allowed both you and I to attend the good schools we did; a direct line can be drawn from that event to the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King and the passage of the Civil Rights Act (over the 'No' vote of Bob Dole) and here was Trent Lott, recalling the presidential run of Strom Thurmond fondly and acting as though he knew nothing of the struggles for Civil Rights.
There he was, growing up in Mississippi and a child of his same age is murdered so viciously for at best doing nothing Trent had not done himself as a boy slowly becoming a man. But as the classic racist he was then and is today, he could not see the humanity of Africans; to him - how could Strom Thurmond be anything but a hero?
My plans were to spend a relaxing, Labor Day weekend; watch a few college football games on TV and just take things easy.
Then my idyll was interrupted by a willful act of ignorance.
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