Exit, Exit, Enter

Democrats: the Party Founded on Racism
April 7, 2016, 8:28 am
Filed under: Politics

Race, political identity, and why political generalizations suck

Donkey and Elephant fighting on a track & field course with the catchphrase underneath, 'They're neck and neck folks... AND BOTH HEADED THE WRONG DIRECTION!'The United States Democratic party is known as the party for states rights – diametrically opposed to the reach of a centralized, federal government. Its political stronghold is in the South and are known for their championing of the people – farmers, especially – and definitely not the centralized bureaucracy or big banks. They are widely known to pander to racial undertones (and overtones*), which is one of the bigger differentiations between them and their political counterparts. So important is this issue that it led to a genocide and civil war.

This is the Democratic party as it was founded in the early/mid 1800s. Maybe it is just a political irony that the Democratic party, so widely known for its modern social and economic liberalism, was the party that led to the American Civil war and the Jacksonian Native American extinguishment from North America. Maybe it’s simply a historical fact.

After reading Jonna Ivin’s commentary on America’s political exploitation of racism and classism (and how Donald Drumpf, another rich benefactor of the political system, is making use of it to win over poor whites), it made me wonder whether either political party have historically been any better in avoiding such racial and classist exploitation in the name of political power?

As it turns out, the modern Democratic party as we organizationally know it started on the more controversial side of history in racial politics. Not only were Democrats the party of blatant racism and classism throughout the Civil War era, their racial pandering leaked far into the 20th century.

Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond at a podium giving a speech

Strom Thurmond on the podium

The congress member with the longest filibuster in American history was South Carolina’s Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond in 1957. What did he stand on the Senate floor blabbering on about for 24+ hours? The Civil Rights Act of 1957 (you know, the one where Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equal voting rights). Sure, by then Democrats weren’t genocidal racists (in the pursuit of happiness.. at least), but they were by no means the liberal, progressive party that we know them as today.

In the last 4 years we have witnessed an impotent, historically-ranked Republican congress. They have been productive to no end.. in obfuscating and blocking President Obama policies with filibuster after filibuster after filibuster. “Impotent” is approaching the subject light-heartedly when you look at their record-low productivity and subversive handling of the legislative process. All while they believe they are the true patriots, with a true belief in liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A picture of people in the Great Depression standing in line in front of a billboard boasting about American prosperity

However, a similarly obstructive Democratic congress, this time Democratically-inspired, filibustered the hell out of President Hoover during the Great Depression. Was it “patriotic” to block the legislative process then? When nearly 50% of Americans were out of work? It at least won Democrats the White House and Congress in a landslide. Sweet.

Now, maybe computers are a new invention, but this power-grubbing chess match known as politics has been playing automated since before the U.S.A. existed. It is being played now. And the longer we do not acknowledge that we are all pieces on the board, the longer our government doesn’t work for us. Republicans are racist. Yeah, so what? Democrats may not be as racist but were founded on racism.

Blind adherence to political labels and he-said-she-said finger pointing is what causes political abuses of power. Now, whether you believe it is President Obama or an unhinged political party that is abusing the power – that is for you to decide.

But, not realizing the context in which our ideas develop, and our beliefs set stone, is when we lose sight of the true injustices of our society.

Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Progressive, Rich or Poor – the problems are the same: Growing inequality (both income and otherwise), irreversible environmental damage.. and the list goes on with the less viable society that we are leaving future generations.

Now put your label aside and ask yourselves, how will we be seen by the next generations in history?


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