African Americans

The Complete Reversal Of American Politics: Republicans In The South, Democrats In Large Populated Northeastern, Midwestern And Western States!

The defeat of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu on Saturday marks the complete reversal of American politics from the years 1877 to the present.

After the Reconstruction of the South ended, with Union Army troops leaving, twelve years after the Civil War, the South became an area totally dominated by Democrats, resentful of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War defeat, and the passage of Amendments 13, 14, and 15, ending slavery, making blacks citizens, and giving the men the right to vote.

The South went into massive resistance, creating Jim Crow segregation to replace slavery, and until the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, it was always a solid Democratic South with no black voting, due to discriminatory state laws that were ignored by generations of the federal government. Hoover won much of the South due to his Catholic opponent, Alfred E. Smith, in 1928, and Eisenhower won over Adlai Stevenson twice in the 1950s due to his personal popularity and World War II D Day reputation.

But only when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, starting in the 1950s, and reaching its peak with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson, did we see the beginning of a mass exodus of office holders and ordinary white population, to the Republican Party, starting with Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1964, switching parties to back Republican Senator Barry Goldwater against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

As the Democrats started to lose power in the South, the nomination of Southern governors Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and the rise of “New South” Governors like them and others in the Democratic Party, slowed up the switch to the GOP.

But the election of Barack Obama, considered anathema in the South, has now led to the entire wiping out of Southern Democrats in Congress, except for black and Jewish members of the House in districts gerrymandered that give the Republicans more total Congressional and state legislative seats in the South. Only a few other white non jewish members of the House remain, and they are endangered in the political climate of the South in 2014.

Only Virginia has both its Senators and Governor (Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe) as Democrats, and only Florida has one other Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson at this point, as we enter 2015.

And both Virginia and Florida have Republican dominated legislatures, as well as the other states that made up the Confederate States of America.

And, of course, Florida includes the heavily Northern South Florida, and Virginia has the heavily Northern North Virginia, influenced by being part of the DC suburbs, and otherwise, these three Senators and one Governor would not be in public office.

So the complete reversal of a century and a half ago has occurred, and is unlikely to be changed for a generation or more, at the least.

This means that the South will remain as it is now for a generation or more, and that the issue of race nearly a century and a half ago, again stands out as the key difference that separates that section from the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the heavily populated areas of the nation in the Northeast, Midwest and West are more Democratic than ever, and are unlikely to change either over time, creating political deadlock long term over the future, stifling change and creating constant political conflict and deadlock!

The Total Breakdown Of Law: The Corruption Of The Grand Jury System!

It is extremely rare that grand juries do not vote to indict a suspect on some charge or other, leaving it to the jury to decide guilt or innocence.

But now, in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Staten Island, New York, grand juries, despite clear cut evidence of wrong doing, or at least doubts about police actions, have chosen NOT to indict police officers, causing great outrage, and the danger of greater violence and breakdown of law and order!

How can one expect the African American community, in particular, but also the Latino community, and even the white community, to trust the police and believe that they are there to protect us, rather than harm us?

Imagine what it is like if one is African American, and has a son, that one has to worry that he might die prematurely, from police violence that is outside the norm of police behavior that is acceptable!

Until one is in the shoes of someone else, none of us can truly understand what it is like to lose a son, a father, a brother, who has often done nothing wrong, and is often unarmed!

We are in danger of a total breakdown of law, through the corruption, incompetence, and pure stupidity of the grand jury system, which cries out for drastic change!

Barack Obama In Line With Presidents Abraham Lincoln And Harry Truman! Profiles In Courage!

President Barack Obama is in line with Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman in his courageous use of executive orders, which were highly unpopular, but the right thing to do!

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, despite his entire cabinet suggesting that he not do so, as it would cause great controversy. But Lincoln knew it was the right thing to do morally and ethically, and that politically, it would help to prevent Great Britain and France from recognizing the Confederate States of America, which would have caused war between the US and the two major European powers.

Truman knew that his executive order ending segregation in the armed forces and in Washington DC would rile up the Southern states, and cause his election campaign a lot of damage in the Old South, but he went ahead anyway, because it was the right thing to do, and politically, it made him a profile in courage. Despite losing four Southern states to the States Rights Presidential candidate, Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Truman still staged an upset victory over Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey. His actions against segregation cemented an African American alliance long term with the Democratic Party, and spurred the growth of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Now, Barack Obama taking action on immigration reform, is taking a courageous action, vehemently opposed by Republicans and conservatives, but the right thing to do morally and ethically. The long term effect will be to cement the Hispanic-Latino-Asian alliance with the Democratic Party, and will insure that the Republicans will be marginalized, as the white population dwindles over time, and the elderly right wing majority will disappear over time.

Let us salute our President, as history judges Lincoln and Truman, for having done the right thing in the midst of massive assault and threats of retribution. This is what the Presidency is all about–principle, conviction, and courage!

The Republican “Insane Asylum” Rears Its Ugly Head!

The Republican Party is reveling in its midterm victories, but the victory will be short lived, as already, the GOP is self destructing in its reaction to the expected move of President Obama on immigration reform sometime soon.

Talk of impeachment of President Obama is rampant, along with threats to shut down the government once again, even though that was harmful to the Republicans, and hurt the American economy.

Obama is also infuriating right wingers with his plan to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, if the Senate approves the construction of this environmentally damaging project, which will create few jobs, and contradict treaties with native American tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota.

And potential Presidential candidates are acting as if they are patients in the “insane asylum”!

One example is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who advocates that we promote the kind of racial harmony that existed when Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms were alive! Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority and then the Christian Coalition, and Helms, Republican Senator from North Carolina, did just the opposite of what Santorum claims, and makes us realize that Santorum is from a parallel universe!

Another example is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was perceived as moderate conservative in 2008, but then sold his soul by going to Fox News Channel, and has said reckless and dangerous things since. He is now on a speech tour stating that America is moving toward becoming Nazi Germany under Barack Obama!

Interesting and crazy statement, as it is precisely people like Santorum and Huckabee, and Fox News Channel, the Heritage Foundation, and the Tea Party Movement, who are moving us closer to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, with their reckless attacks on Obama.

And yet we thought that Obama was a Communist, a Socialist, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, a black power racist–and now, suddenly, he is on the other side of the political spectrum with Nazism and Fascism, even though he is African American, and Nazis and Fascists would be out to kill people of so called “inferior” races!

This demonstrates how nuts and looney the GOP is becoming, and they will discover that their extremism, racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia will destroy their Senate majority and chances for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond!

The Confederate South Lost To Democrats For The Long Haul!

Hard to believe, but 150 years after the Civil War, the party of Abraham Lincoln, which was hated in the South for a century, now controls 70 percent of all Congressional seats, helped along by Republican gerrymandering, and the future is gloomy for the Democratic Party in the Confederate South.

For the eleven states involved, there are now only four Democrats to the 18 for the Republicans, and it is thought likely that Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana Senate seat will be lost in the runoff election in that state in December. Only Bill Nelson’s seat in Florida and Tim Kaine’s and Mark Warner’s seats in Virginia are Democratic, and Warner nearly lost his seat eleven days ago!

In the House of Representatives, in the eleven states, there are only 37 Democrats to 99 Republicans, and 21 of the 37 Democratic seats are in mostly urban areas of Texas and Florida, and most of those seats are held by African Americans, Latinos, or Jews.

So the South has become an area totally different now than in the 19th century, but with, sadly, the same mentality on race, and lack of concern about the poor amongst themselves!

Disturbing Statistics On The Midterm Elections Of 2014: The Battle Cry For Progressives And Democrats!

Despite the economic improvements under Barack Obama and the obstructionism of the Republican Party for four years, the GOP won control of both houses of Congress, and reelected many Tea Party Governors, who by all sane judgements, should have been defeated.

Beyond that, 30 state legislatures now are controlled by the Republican Party; two thirds of state legislators nationally are Republicans; 31 states have Republican Governors; and the Republicans have a greater number of seats in the House of Representatives than they have had since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected, soon to be followed by the Great Depression.

And the percentage of voters participating was the lowest in any midterm election since 1942, in the midst of World War II, only about a third of the voting electorate.

This midterm was dominated by people over 45, and particularly over 65, who were heavily white and registered Republican, while traditional Democratic voting groups–African Americans, Latinos, women, those under 45, and those supportive of labor rights and the environment—stayed home in large numbers, not realizing the importance of voting.

If left to their own desires, the Republican Party, the Tea Party Movement, and the conservative think tanks and talk show hosts, would now set about to impeach President Obama (even though there is no chance of his removal by a two thirds vote of the US Senate); repeal ObamaCare; repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; privatize Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; prevent any action on climate change; further destroy the labor unions that remain viable; continue to promote voter suppression which assisted the GOP victory; continue to allow the Koch Brothers and other reactionary billionaire and millionaire domination of campaign expenditures; fight to undermine feminism and civil rights enforcement; work against immigration reform; reverse the movement toward gay marriage and gay and lesbian equality under the law; and become engaged in multiple overseas wars that benefit powerful corporations and defense industries.

Here we are in the second decade of the 21st century, and we are more like the Gilded Age and the 1920s domestically, but with the addition of the war industries that have our young men and women, many of them from poor families, who are utilized as cannon fodder for war profits, and then mistreated as veterans in years after their war service!

Is this the kind of America that the majority of this nation want? If it is, they will get what they deserve. But there is a sneaking suspicion that this will, hopefully, motivate the vast two thirds of the population who did not vote, to rise up and participate in insuring, for the short run, resistance to the GOP agenda, and longer term, to insure a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President are elected in 2016!

The Promotion Of Fear And Panic A Typical Republican Response To Any Issue Or Problem!

The Midterm Elections of 2014 might be decided not on the issues, but on the promotion of fear and panic, being utilized to scare voters!

It is not a new tactic by the Republican Party, but rather an old strategy used in the past.

Leave it to the GOP to use fear of “Socialism”, “Progressivism”, “Liberalism”, distorting all three terms as against America, as a way to prevent political, social, and economic reform that takes power away from the wealthy and the corporations!

The Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, as promoted by Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, and other demagogues, had a deleterious effect on people’s lives, and victimized many innocent people.

Fear and panic were used by Presidents, including Richard Nixon and George W. Bush to promote war in Vietnam and in Iraq!

The Republican Party has abandoned its original support of African American civil rights, and has now promoted racism to attract uneducated and poor and lower middle class whites to vote against their own economic interests.

Now fear and panic are being used because of the Ebola Crisis to convince people to vote Republican, despite the fact that the GOP has done nothing positive in any form, and has set out to obstruct everything that Barack Obama has tried to do, with him succeeding in many initiatives despite constant attack and criticism and attempts to block progress.

If the Republicans succeed in convincing the American people to go nuts over Ebola, when the flu and pneumonia causes 50,000 deaths a year without fear and panic; and if 11,000 people a year killed by firearms annually is not seen as a crisis; then the American people will get what they deserve—incompetent, corrupt, and uncaring government, which will work to undermine all of the progress of the New Deal and Great Society for the past 80 years!

The Future Of The Republican Party: Rob Portman Vs. Mike Huckabee As A Symbol!

With Gay Marriage rapidly expanding, by refusal of the Supreme Court to stop it in eleven states, raising the total of states to 30 and counting, the Republican Party now faces its future!

With a majority of states and population now supporting or accepting gay marriage, and with a majority of people under 50, and even a majority of Catholics and even evangelical Christians in support, how long will the Republican Party hold out and be on the wrong side of history?

Do they wish to be recorded and remembered in the long run for their refusal to accept that marriage is NOT something to be voted on, to have a popular vote (which would not be lost in any case) on a basic human right, both in race in Loving V. Virginia and on sexual orientation now? Do they wish to be seen for what they are now, biased, prejudiced, hateful, narrow minded, and allowing religious beliefs of some people to dictate the lives of everyone else, when we have separation of church and state?

Conservatives were wrong on civil rights for African Americans, wrong on interracial marriage, wrong on women’s rights, wrong on immigration then and now, and wrong on gay rights and marriage, and for the Republicans to continue to follow their hateful, narrow minded views, will guarantee the demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The Republican Party has a choice! It is time for MORE Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors and other office holders to come out in support of gay marriage NOW! So far, only four sitting US Senators and a few members of the House of Representatives have had the courage to speak up. The Senators are Liza Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

The GOP will have a massive problem being elected to the House and Senate majorities in 2016, as it is, and the suddenly emerging “dark horse” status of Rob Portman, the only one of the above four Senators, who MIGHT consider running for President, and have a shot at being the nominee, present the Republican Party with a choice!

Either demand that any GOP nominee accept the inevitable, OR nominate Senator Portman as the most legitimate candidate for 2016, bypassing all the other extremist, lunatic, whacky candidates in the field, picking a moderate mainstream conservative as the future of the party!

Republicans, reject Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and anyone else who refuses to accept gay marriage, and ONLY support a person such as Rob Portman, who has accepted it, and is from a key swing state, Ohio, which every winning President has won except in 1960 in modern times!

It is true that Portman supported gay rights and gay marriage due to his son coming out as gay, but he could have done what many so called “religious” people do, and repudiated his son, a most despicable act for any so called “religious” person to do, a mockery of the idea of religiosity!

If the GOP decides to follow the route of the above candidates who have made it clear that they will not accept gay marriage, the ideal candidate for them would be former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a once seriously mainstream conservative candidate for President in 2008, who has gone off the deep end, become a lunatic, a bigoted man with crazy views, since he joined Fox News Channel, and now mirrors the lunatic right wing talk show hosts on radio, as well as Fox News Channel!

Huckabee has made clear that he will NOT accept what is happening on gay marriage, and if the GOP continues to give in to Supreme Court actions or lack of action on gay marriage, that he will leave the Republican Party!

The best thing the GOP could do is repudiate Huckabee, who has already destroyed his name in history, and have him leave the Republican Party, and let the swinging door hit him in his rear end, or in fact, kick him out the door, declaring to him and others like him, “good riddance!”

The best thing the GOP could do is nominate Rob Portman, or others who finally accept gay rights and gay marriage, and look to a future of NOT accepting prejudice, bias, and the power of the Religious Right, which should be escorted to the door, and told to go to Hell, where they belong!

A great ticket right now would be Portman of Ohio for President and Susan Collins of Maine for Vice President, and that would also overcome the misogyny of the Republican Party!

The Growing Militarization And Right Wing Nature Of The Nation’s Law Enforcement Network A Danger To Democracy In America!

There is growing evidence of the militarization and right wing nature of the nation’s law enforcement network, a true danger to democracy!

We see more police officers breaking the law in the handling of suspects and the general public, including easy willingness to shoot and kill, rather than less aggressive tactics, particularly with African American and Latino young men.

We see law enforcement being uncovered as secret members of the Ku Klux Klan and other domestic terrorist and right wing militia groups, and preaching racism and hatred in many forms.

We see hints, strong hints, that members of the Secret Service are, in some cases, unfit for duty, as they harbor deep resentment against our first African American President, Barack Obama, and his family, and being less than zealous in their handling of his security, in a way not seen to such an extent for earlier Presidents.

The feeling is growing, that the American public can no longer feel relaxed with their local police, as there are many signs of aggressiveness, abusive language, and the wielding of power by law enforcement who have too much military style hardware and weapons, as in Ferguson, Missouri, way more than is needed in almost all situations.

The concept that the law enforcement authorities are out to protect us has become one of rather of some of them lacking proper training in sociology and psychology, and getting a power and ego trip by their ability to threaten us or mistreat us with impunity.

This is a feeling that some would say reminds historians of the concept of storm troopers and secret police in Fascist, Nazi, and Communist dictatorships, far from the concept of equal justice and fairness that is the benchmark of the American legal and judicial system over the history of our nation, and a warning sign for the future, to be alert and aware of possible abuses!

What Has Happened To The Image Of The Police We Used To Have As Children And Young Adults?

This author and blogger grew up totally respectful of police officers, admiring them for their courage and willingness to serve the citizenry.  It was never thought that we needed to be fearful of police officers.

But that has changed dramatically in recent years, and particularly in the past few months, as we have seen numerous cases of police officers all over the nation abusing their power and position, and too quick to shoot to kill many unarmed people, many of them African American or Hispanic, but also those who are disabled, and some victims who are also whites.

These abusive police have been quick to use their tasers and their firearms in an aggressive manner, when in so many of these cases, it has been totally unnecessary to do so.  They have lost the concern for life of their victims, and instead of, if needed, shooting to wound, they have gone for the chest and the head, in so many situations all over the country!

In Ferguson, Missouri, the perpetrator of the death of Michael Brown, a police officer named Darren Wilson has not faced any charges, or detention, while a grand jury takes forever to move forward, and one cannot be sure that they will even indict  Wilson at all. A grand jury in Ohio refused to indict a police officer who killed a young black man in Walmart, who had picked up a toy gun and was shot for holding it, while Ohio allows unlimited display of firearms in any public place, but obviously really only for white citizens!

A police officer in South Carolina opened up fire on a driver who went into his car to get his drivers license, and wounded him over an issue of not wearing seat belts!  All cases lately have been white officers against black men, many of them young black men!

This situation is out of control, and makes one feel as if our police officers are, in too many cases, abusing their positions, and acting as if they are Nazi Gestapo or a Secret Police force, while Omar J. Gonzalez, when he scaled the White House fence and ran to the North Portico and was able to gain entrance to the building without being stopped before that occurred, and carrying a pocket knife, was not even shot at by the Secret Service, when such an action deserved a shoot to kill order in that circumstance!

Of course, the multitude of police officers do their job well, but the renegades are undermining the whole concept of law enforcement, and there needs, desperately, for better training of police, and the drumming out of those who are ill qualified by temperament and their performance record to keep their positions as police officers!