Thursday, February 09, 2006

In response

Mr. James took the time to disagree with what I wrote. I will return the favor.

You can go look at his blog, his most recent entry charged that Islam is a faith of "hate, intolerance, and violance" and that it is "Satanic, vile, and evil." He also seems to think that Ann Coulter is attractive. He is lucky he didn't say anything about "poor taste" because he obviously has none.

What follows is in response to his comment.

I actually meant the statements of people like Katie O’Beirne were racist. They suggested that black people don’t know how to behave at funerals and don’t know how to act in general. It was demeaning, insulting, and racist. I stand by what I said. I didn’t hear what the president actually said; though I am sure it was very nice.

1. During the Civil War, it was actually the South that seceded from the Union. They were not successful. All of these states now reliably vote for Republicans. There are eerie similarities between the electoral maps of 2000, 2004 and the maps of Union and Confederate States. Mississippi, a former confederate state and currently Republican dominated state, still flies the stars and bars over its state capitol.

2. It was racists who formed the KKK, not Democrats. Certainly, at the time many of them voted for the Democratic Party. The KKK and their ilk are no longer part of the Democratic coalition, and it is laughable to suggest they are.

3. Again, it was mainly the south that fought for continued segregation. You imply that the Democratic Party was monolithic at these times. It wasn’t. Northern and Southern Democrats disagreed on this issue in particular.

4. Again, this was done by southern racists.

5. There is no evidence that these southern racists spoke for the Democratic Party. Indeed, people like “Bull” Connor differed sharply from the party on the Civil Rights issue alone. He actually led a group of Democrats in protest of a Civil Rights plank during a 1950 convention (many years before the Democratic Party was able to pass a comprehensive Civil Rights bill).

Strom Thurmond splintered from the party to mount a presidential campaign as a Dixiecrat. He ended his life as a member of the Republican party. Senator Byrd was a member of the KKK, and there is no way to explain that away. I have no idea how successful a Senator he’s been, but the people of West Virginia seem to love him. I’ve read portions of his book, specifically where he expresses regret for his past behavior. I cannot tell if he was sincere. If he is sincere, then the guilt that still haunts him is more than anything you might bring up.

You forgot to mention that MLK was spied upon at the order of Robert Kennedy, a Democrat. And that FDR had Japanese-Americans put into internment camps. Both of these actions are unforgivable. The Democratic Party is not perfect; there are many skeletons in our closet. That said, the party is very different than it was in 1940 or 1960. There are obvious reasons why the black community votes overwhelmingly for Democrats. Your party ignores them to its detriment.

The most recent Civil Rights accomplishment (by the Republican Party) that you mention dates back to 1964, when Republicans “accomplished” voting along with a sweeping Democratic bill. Most of their other accomplishments predate the Depression era. Perhaps politics have changed since then?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to the detriment of the Democratic Coalition. It was this bill that has lost the vast majority of the South to Republican control. To ignore this is to ignore the most obvious and sweeping electoral trend of the 20th century.

You never suggest how Jimmy Carter and Rev. Lowery are hurting the black community, but you suggest later it has to do with Democrats assuming everyone non-white is “disadvantaged.” You go too far here. There is no evidence that either of these men assume that all blacks, women, etc. are disadvantaged. There is compelling evidence that they believe that as communities, they are disadvantaged. There is compelling evidence to suggest that white males (as opposed to say, black females) are substantially more likely to succeed in life, due to better access to good schools, pre-natal health care, safe neighborhoods, etc. As a liberal, I believe strongly in the idea of equal opportunity. I am a member of the Democratic Party because it is they who are trying to “level the playing field.” They try many different ways (raising the minimum wage, making taxes more progressive, affirmative action, head start, etc.) of doing this. They all seem to arise from the belief that Americans don’t start out on equal footing, but they should.

The Republican Party, it seems, believes either that all Americans are on equal footing already, or that equal opportunity is an overrated idea. They seem to operate under the certainty that the poor deserve to be poor. For my entire political life they have actually exploited preconceptions of entire communities (Welfare Queens, Willie Horton, Illegal Immigrants, etc.) to further their cause. It is only recently that they seem to be (at least in part) realizing that operating as the white man’s party is a dying proposition. They have made mere gestures to minority communities. I find it deeply amusing that Republicans are shocked, shocked that moves to make Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice Secretary of State hasn’t moved black voters in their direction. These moves don’t actually benefit the black community.

I believe all Americans are entitled to certain inalienable rights. Currently, America fails to provide one of these (that of equal opportunity under the law). It is fantastic that you had such a good upbringing and that you are not “uncapable” of providing for yourself.

Though I am of Mexican heritage, I was lucky (among Mexican-Americans) to have access to a safe home, good parents, good health care, good schools etc. I know that I began life with a leg-up over most people. The only adversity I’ve ever faced concerned some small-minded policemen and a few racists (I grew up in a border state). This doesn’t mean I should handicap myself. I would much rather “bring up” those Americans who have been less fortunate than I have been.

The Democratic Party doesn’t deem anyone to be inferior. Your penultimate paragraph is such a clear case of projection that I actually refuse to delete your comment. Let everyone see the shameful workings of your subconscious.


At 10:04 PM, Blogger johnnie said...

This is exactly what political debate should be. Factual. Sensible. And with passion that does not succumb to senseless ideology.

I fear that those who preach that the poorest among us should "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" have no concept of a life without shoes.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous kiss my sass said...

BTW I forgot to mention that yes you were right about Bobby Kennedy. But that's about it :(


Post a Comment

<< Home