In the midst of all the statue pulling-downs, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi removing portraits of her predecessors as Speaker and demanding that various statues lining the halls of the US Capitol be removed, it is clearly the moment to ask:
Is it time to disband the Democrats? To abolish the Democratic Party outright?
After all, the portraits Pelosi removed were all Democrats. So too are those depicted in the statues she wants ousted. And, but of course, there was a reason.
Way back there in the ancient days of 2008, I took a detailed look at the Democratic Party’s record on race. It ran in The American Spectator with the title Democrats: The Missing Years. The Wall Street Journal picked up the piece as well.
I wrote the piece because as the Democratic Convention that nominated Senator Barack Obama was gathering, the Democratic National Committee had dedicated a portion of their website to recounting the party’s history. Except, well, the DNC’s account was missing – a lot. Not to mention was it deliberately and decidedly falsely trying to cast the Democrats as the party of civil rights. Clearly it was time to set the record straight, which I did. Here are a few excerpts:
“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, restrooms, 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 the 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, the 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 a reference to the fact that Democrats created the Federal Reserve Board, passed a 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.”
Now, of course, all of this history of judging – and punishing – by skin color has now morphed into so-called “identity politics” – the son of segregation and grandson of slavery. The Democrats – past and very much present – are the Party of Race.
Pelosi’s removal of portraits of four of her predecessors, not to mention various statues, is a quiet admission that all of them were, yes indeed, leaders of the Democratic Party. The move by Princeton University to remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the university’s public policy school is a quiet admission that Wilson, a former Princeton president elected as the Democrat governor of New Jersey and who, as the leader of the progressive movement that was at the core of the Democratic Party, was indeed a serious racist. Which is exactly why Wilson was so at home as both prominent member and leader of the Democratic Party.
So as the statues come down and the portraits of Democrats are removed the obvious question.
Isn’t time – perhaps past time? – to disband and abolish the Democratic Party? And start over?