The Daily Caller Managing Editor, W. James Antle III, posted an excellent editorial Saturday noting something Oklahomans – after 100 years of single party control – should know, “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Democrats.”
Antle begins: By now you’ve probably dismounted from your high horse.
After all, President Obama reminded us that while it is bad that the Islamic State (which apparently isn’t Islamic, “whatever ideology they’re operating off of”) is beheading people and burning them alive in 2015, Christians (who were obviously Christian) also did very bad things in 1215.
If you didn’t learn this presidential history lesson, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is here to offer extra help after class. He points out that Christianity was often invoked in defense of slavery, segregation and white supremacy for a large part of American history.
“The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power,” Coates theorizes. “That is what the Muslim terrorists in ISIS are seeking to do today, and that is what Christian enslavers and Christian terrorists did for the lion’s share of American history.”
Very well, then. The next time some Republican says dumb and ugly things about race, our Democratic friends will apply the same logic and say something like the following:
Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other party, remember that from its founding until the 1960s, people committed terrible deeds in the name of the Democratic Party. In our own party, slavery and Jim Crow all too often were justified in the Democratic platform.
Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, possibly the first grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, spoke at the 1868 Democratic National Convention. Most Klansmen were Democrats [party of Confederate warriors after the Civil War]. The party refused to condemn the Klan as late as its 1924 convention, a gathering wags called “the Klanbake.”
Woodrow Wilson, a progressive Democrat, was a white supremacist who re-segregated the federal workforce. Segregationists were part of the New Deal coalition and were running mates even to liberal Democratic presidential candidates into the 1950s. In 1956, 99 of the 101 politicians who signed the racist “Southern Manifesto” were Democrats.
The major civil rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s were supported by a lower percentage of Democratic members of Congress than Republicans. This included J. William Fulbright, who was a mentor to Bill Clinton, Al Gore Sr., who was father of the future vice president, and Robert Byrd, an ex-Klansmen who was the Senate Democratic floor leader until 1989 and an elected Democrat until his death in 2010.