The Recent ‘Who’s More Racist’ Meme
Donald Trump, a man who is running to be President of the United States, can apparently say any racist thing he wants and still pretend to have the interests of those he maligns at heart. Our jaws are constantly dropping because nothing sticks to this guy. The media, cold one day, critical and willing to announce that this is a man who should never be our President turns around on the next day and conducts campaign business as usual. They interview him, play videos of his statements, broadcast round-tables full of media commentators from both major political persuasions and by doing so normalize his campaign once again, all of their hyperbolic complaints set aside to be revisited on another jaw-dropping day.
It is obvious that the press has no idea what to do in an unprecedented situation such as the election of 2016, although they have no trouble beating up on Hillary Clinton every day. I guess because she is not holding press conferences, where they can beat her up in front of a camera crew to be stored on video for all eternity, they are driven to destroy her in absentia. Hillary is being made famous by the Donald for making one tone deaf statement about African American young people in the 1990’s, which does sound bad and brings forth a wince when repeated in 2016, but is still only one statement no matter how many times it is repeated. Meanwhile Trump has hired a roster of advisors who don’t mind rubbing shoulders with White Supremacists or even members of the Ku Klux Klan, or who are prominent White Nationalists. And yet it seems we are supposed to be deciding who’s more racist?
His new campaign advisor has perhaps pointed out to Donald Trump that he cannot win the Presidential election unless he embraces at least one minority group. It looks like Americans of African Descent are the chosen ones because he just burned his bridges with Hispanics and probably Latinos also. Donald Trump, a man who knows next to nothing about history is now trying to rewrite American history for an electorate that also either knows and cares little about history, or has been entertained for the last decade by the twisted versions of American history as told by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.
The Discovery of the Bigoted Democrats of the 60’s by the Republican Right Wing
These same media right wing guys have been so excited since they learned about the Democratic Dixiecrats — a group of Democrats who were virulently anti-integration in the South both before and after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the President at the time was Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat). It delights these grown men to crow about all of the segregationists with their whiter than white skin and their thick Southern accents who were members of the Democratic Party during the Civil Rights Movement. It is proof, they craftily contend, that Democrats are racists. Except that the Democrats were so inhospitable to Strom Thurmond, et al that the Southern wing of the Democratic Party (those very Dixiecrats) eventually left the Democrats and joined the Republicans where they found a better fit, and the Republicans became the party of Southern accents and perpetual bitterness at their loss in the Civil War, kept alive by the Confederate flags flown throughout the South, and on many a Republican truck bumper.
The Democrats Broke the Inner Cities (or Did They)?
Now Donald Trump has his people blaming Democrats for the fact that not much has changed in our inner cities. He is saying that 50 years of Democratic programs have done nothing to ameliorate poverty or to bring prosperity to Americans of African Descent. Sadly, in the absence of data, that does seem to be the case. There is some data available but Donald Trump is not a data miner. It is also true that Democratic programs have never been consistently funded and have been modified whenever Republicans had the votes. These programs have been under constant attack from the right who have made several very familiar arguments against such programs.
1) Giving people government support makes them dependent on that support and they will like the free money so much that they will never want to leave that support system or do anything to become self-supporting members of our society, so the very support government gives, turns people into the perpetually poor and dependent.
2) A strong central government is anti-American and will lead to authoritarianism or Communism; furthermore it is against the intentions of our forefathers as written in the US Constitution which gives more rights to the individual states than to the central government. This section of our Constitution is actually very brief and open to interpretation, so much so in fact, that our founding fathers wrote the Federalist papers to try to reach a consensus interpretation, which I believe they were unable to do.
Neither of these arguments represents more than a point of view. There is no proof that all people will see government assistance as a comfortable hammock in which to while away their lives or that having a very small federal government will insure our continuing freedom as a nation.
It does seem clear that societies without any support for those who are poor suffer more social chaos and economic inconvenience and health and hygiene challenges than those societies who do prop up their poorest citizens with at least minimal dietary and health initiatives, and that things improve even more when education, training, and work are offered also. We know these things because we have documented histories from societies that did not offer these thing to those who were at the bottom of the social and economic heap. (England, for example)
Do Republicans Have a Better Plan?
So when we have someone like Rudy Giuliani claiming that Democrats have failed Americans of African Descent for the past 50 years – after I get over my outrage at such a statement
[Would it have been better to have done nothing?
[Would tough love and state’s rights have produced better results?]
– it becomes important to look back over the past 50 years to see if Democrats really are the culprits who we should blame for the seeming stasis in our inner cities and if it is truly time to give Republicans a go.
However, I warn you, almost the only thing that the Republicans have to go on is that tricky time we already discussed when Civil Rights hung in the balance, when half of the Democratic Party (the Southern half) was a 60’s version of Dino’s or Democrats In Name Only, men so bigoted that the Democratic Party eventually could not contain them. It is the tale of those very Dixiecrats who eventually fled to the open arms of a Republican Party, a party which has obstructed social programs vehemently ever since (whenever they could get away with it and still get elected to public office) that is providing Donald Trump with his opportunity to “zap” Democrats.
Throughout the Obama years we have heard their spokesman, Paul Ryan, hailed by the party until recently as a truth teller, repeat the wisdom he gleaned from multiple readings of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand — that we are destroying the character of the poor by propping them up and that the poor are takers who will demand more and more from the middle class until they too join the ranks of the poor – the story of the takers and the makers. It has been a compelling story, but is it true?
It seems to me that we lose more as a society by not helping poorer citizens than we do by helping them. The jury is still out on determining what positive and negative effects the past 50 years of programs offered to the poorest Americans have had. If the same families whose grandparents were poor are still as poor as that previous generation, then why is that the case? Is it the failure of the programs, or the failure of the modifications to the programs, or some other factors altogether that are responsible for the lack of change, of growth? Whatever the reasons I do not believe that the Republicans have mentioned any approaches that will help inner city communities in any way.
Neither party is blameless when it comes to the stubborn stasis in our inner cities and so when Donald blames this on the Democrats he is being disingenuous and the most obvious reason is because it is politically expedient to do so. He has no insider knowledge that will help us unravel this stubborn problem and the Republicans sink or swim approach is a way to deny any blame for the current state of affairs and wash their hands of dedicating any more tax dollars to improving the situation. At this juncture I would say that actually going into our cities and asking residents what they believe would help the most and what their particular needs are seems as if it would be a great start.
Some of the Information and Historical Evidence I Reviewed
In order to refresh my own memory about the history of this argument about which party is more racist and which party has “broken” our inner cities I researched a number of topics. First I looked at the roots of welfare which are older than you might think. http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-14-3-a-how-welfare-began-in-the-united-states.html
Welfare and Social Security programs began during the Great Depression with the New Deal of FDR and, says Wikipedia, ended when Bill Clinton (Democrat) faced with a majority Republican Congress passed the Welfare to Work bill in 1996. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Responsibility_and_Work_Opportunity_Act
If is instructive to watch some of the video record saved on You Tube and elsewhere on the internet. When you hear the question “which party is more racist” and then you watch the evidence you are likely to be confused. Some of these men were saying racist things as members of the Democratic Party because they were from the South and they were vehemently opposed to integration. But this view was not typical of the Democratic Party overall. Lyndon B. Johnson, prime mover of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was also a Democrat. Eventually these immovable Southern men had to take their anger and hate and huffily leave the Democratic Party. When they did that they found their new home with the Republicans. So when you listen to Strom Thurmond and Bull Connor and George Wallace talk on these videos they are Democrats. But not for long.
The Confederate Flag
Bull Connor and Civil Rights
Segregation forever –
And even the Republican hero President, Ronald Reagan, appears very different when seen from a more liberal point of view:
Bill Maher on Ronald Reagan
RT.com on Ronald Reagan
Rachel Maddow on Reaganomics and how it hollowed out the middle class
Black folks and Reagan
Republicans may also try to convince you that the War on Drugs belongs to Democrats but the War on Drugs began in 1914 and has been a fairly consistent policy in the US since that time. It is true that Americans of color have been pursued and incarcerated at a much higher rate than white Americans or even than guilty Americans, but Democrats alone are hardly to blame in this regard.
War on Drugs
Actually began in 1914 – A Democrat and a member of the House of
Representatives named Harrison proposed the first bill in Congress which passed
Nixon (Republican) used the name War on Drugs
Drug Czar appointed under George H W Bush and raised to cabinet level status by Bill Clinton
Drug free media campaign act of 1998
Sentencing disparities have been well documented
Nixon creates War on Drugs
Stop and frisk
Lately we have also been made aware of how real estate practices like redlining (used by Donald Trump to avoid renting apartments to people of color) also made it difficult for some minority citizens to leave inner cities.