Recently, I received an email from a former television colleague. I’ll call him Jack (not his real name). Jack lamented the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and invited me to read and post on his blog. It had been years since we’ve had any direct contact, but I have great respect for this man. Therefore, I went to Jack’s blog and began reading. It sickened me, so much so that I was, for one of the few times in my life, speechless.
It was one of the worst biased political rants I have ever seen.
It began with a personal story. As a young photographer, Jack covered a race riot in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where he discovered that the local police chief had sent officers in blackface to stir up the rioters so he could crack down on them. After that, the “chief” ran for Congress as a Republican and won.
I don’t doubt Jack’s veracity. However, it was as if time has stood still for him. Therefore, he believes all Republicans (and tea party members and other conservative-leaning organizations like the Heritage Foundation) to be racist.
Jack went on to equate the events in Ferguson to what happened in Ft. Lauderdale so many years ago.
There were two pictures on his post: One was from “Occupy Wall Street.” The other was a cartoon of an elephant (the symbol of the Republican Party) in a Klu Klux Klan robe. Jack ends with this: “Any American Citizen who votes for any Republican this fall, 2014, must be either asleep or self-destructive.” Jack tags his blog with “essays based on research and truth.” Wow!
Like Jack, I grew up in the south. You might say I was born into the Democratic Party. Where I came from, you were either a Democrat or you were un-American. At that time, in most of the south — south Florida being one of the few exceptions — Democrats had all the power.
While most people were kind and decent, segregation was part of the culture. It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized that “separate but equal” wasn’t equal at all. I also witnessed abuse on the part of some Democrats who were the power brokers in my area. However, unlike Jack, I didn’t let a few bad apples form my complete political worldview. If I had, I would have become a Republican a lot sooner.
Had Jack wanted a real political face for that Klan robe, he could have used Democrat Senator Robert Byrd. Byrd was a Grand Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan. He recruited 150 of his friends to found his local chapter. Furthermore, Byrd was the lone senator to vote against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, the only two black nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Did I mention Byrd was one of a block of 18 southern Democrats and one lone Republican who filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Did I also mention that this landmark piece of legislation passed with the support of over 80 percent of the Republicans, while the support of the Democrats was in the 60 percent range?
If Jack had looked for other political faces to put with that Klan robe he could have selected:
- Rep. George Gordon (D-TN).
- Clifford Walker, Democrat, governor of Georgia
- Bibb Grave, Democrat, governor of Alabama
- Senator Theodore Bilbo (D-MS)
- Hugo Black, Democrat, Supreme Court associate justice
- Harry Truman, Democrat, president of the United States
All of the above office holders once were card-carrying members of the Klan, as opposed to one lone Republican, Ed Jackson, governor of Indiana.
Most of these men eventually said they regretted their Klan involvement. Was this sincere or simply a smart political move as times changed? I will not judge. The important thing is times have changed. It’s not 1964! http://www.wnd.com/2014/08/suddenly-its-1964-again/
Like Jack, I deplore racism. Also, as the first woman sportscaster, I know something about discrimination. As it turned out, we both relocated to southern California. Jack spent his later years in academia, I spent mine researching, writing and reporting on political issues.
As I began to study the political parties, I learned that Democrats were being elected because they took money from working people and gave it to people who were content not to work at all. While most people believe in giving those who are down-and-out a hand-up, few believe in handouts without accountability. Evidence shows this hurts the poor, especially minorities.
Jack, that is why I left the Democratic Party. More correctly, the Democratic Party left me.