Civil Rights Movement

Donald Trump’s Embrace Of Human Rights Violating Dictators: Repudiation Of “Liberty, Equality, Justice” Abroad And Also At Home

The United States has often embraced right wing dictators around the world under many Presidents since World War II, while still enunciating the concept of “human rights”.

Presidents have played the difficult game of speaking in favor of human rights and freedom, equality and justice, while often being forced to work with authoritarian leaders.

Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama went the furthest in their promotion of human rights, while having to accept some governments and leaders that were distasteful.

But now we have a President who fully embraces foreign dictators and has no issue with the violation of human rights, with this already evident in such nations as Egypt, Turkey, and the Philippines, and also praising how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un overcame opposition in a brutal way, terming Kim Jong Un as “a smart cookie”.

Also, Trump has, seemingly, developed a love affair with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, although trying recently to tone that down, due to suspicions that Trump was aided in his election victory by Russian intervention.

And Trump also seems to admire China’s leader, and in the past, praised the brutal Chinese crackdown at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, killing thousands of protesting Chinese, who wanted democracy.

Certainly, Trump has authoritarian tendencies and leanings, and praises the “strength” of dictators, and he is encouraging human rights violations in America through his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who reminds one of the era of George Wallace, the Alabama Governor who became infamous in the 1960s and 1970s in his struggles against the Civil Rights Movement.

Donald Trump Has No Concern For Human Rights Or Civil Rights On 49th Anniversary Of Martin Luther King Jr Assassination

Donald Trump clearly has no concern for human rights overseas or civil rights at home.

He embraces all the authoritarian dictators in other nations, including Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, and of course, Russia, while showing disrespect for the leaders of Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

He has nothing to say when his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, moves to undermine reform of police departments in many American cities, to prevent the victimization of racial minorities, and instead claims crime is at an all time high, when it has been rapidly declining for many years.

Trump’s clear racism and white supremacy views are helping to cause growing tension among racial and religious minorities in America.

Decades of civil rights advancements are being summarily revoked, as we move back to the era of America before the civil rights movement made such great progress in the past fifty years.

Instead of uniting Americans, Donald Trump is moving to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, gender and even sexual orientation.

And ironically, today is the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and one can be assured, that were he alive today, he would be promoting mass marches by Americans to protest the massive reversal of human and civil rights.

Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History And Culture Opens: A Treasure For The Nation!

The day has finally arrived when America can celebrate the history and culture of African Americans, with the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall near the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

This event comes at a time of increased racial tensions and open racism in America, despite the election and two term Presidency of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

The museum exposes the true history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation. lynching, the civil rights movement, and the massive contributions of African Americans in all areas of public life over the past 397 years since slavery first came to America at Jamestown, Virginia.

This author thinks back to when he was young, and the discussion of African American history was ignored in high school, and how far we have come in understanding and dealing with the history, all of it both good and much of it evil, which had been covered up for so long.

So despite the problems we face today, this is truly a development to celebrate, and this author looks forward to visiting this new museum next summer, and for many times in the future, as the exhibits will constantly be evolving, as they are at any museum, and particularly one associated with the Smithsonian Museum, our national group of fantastic and tax supported museums that are a blessing to American culture and history!

Most Significant Election Since 1968: Presidency, Senate, And Supreme Court Are In Play!

It is becoming very clear that the Presidential Election of 2016 will become the most significant election since 1968, when we saw the beginning of the Republican resurgence under Richard Nixon, due to the splintering of the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson, due to the turmoil around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Democratic New Deal coalition had lasted 36 years, with only Dwight D. Eisenhower, really a non politician who ran on the Republican line after being briefly considered by Democrats in 1948, breaking the Democratic dominance, which also included Democratic dominance of the Congress, except in 1947-1948 and 1953-1954.

Since 1968, the Republicans controlled the White House for all but for the four Jimmy Carter years up to 1992, and then won a contested election in the Supreme Court, giving the Presidency and the Republican Party control in the early 2000s under George W. Bush.  And the Congress was Republican, except briefly from 1994-2006, and again after 2010 in the House of Representatives and 2014 in the US Senate, after the Senate had been Republican in the first six Reagan years of the 1980s.  And the Court appointments after 1968 have been 13 under Republicans and only 4 under Democrats, but with the death of Antonin Scalia, the possibility of a permanent (for a generation) Democratic and liberal majority is within reach.

Now, after a long period of Republican control of the Supreme Court, it will come to an end if the Democrats can win the Presidency again, and if they can regain control of the US Senate, so this is easily the most transformative election in a half century!

It would transform America IF the Democrats can gain the upper hand in the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency, and the hope is that the House of Representatives might be different after reapportionment after 2020. with the goal now to create a smaller GOP margin in the lower House in the interim.

One period of Democratic dominance was replaced by a period of Republican dominance, and with the GOP splintering around Donald Trump, we might be seeing a return to the concept of the New Deal-Great Society and a new Progressive Era.

It all depends on voter turnout and commitment, and for anyone to be lackadaisical and not vote, is inexcusable in the present circumstances!

Texas Textbook Standards Destroying The Truth Of American History, As Well As Science!

The state of Texas, with the largest number of students, and therefore, having a massive effect on publication of textbooks and establishment of curriculum across the nation, has now destroyed the truth of American history, complaining a “liberal bias”, which is just, unfortunately, telling the truth about the American past.

So now the new standards do not mention slavery as the major cause of the Civil War, but rather states rights and different economic systems.

They also downgrade the importance and details of the civil rights movement on American history.

They avoid mentioning about “Jim Crow” segregation laws and the Ku Klux Klan.

They bring Jesus Christ into the curriculum, as if he was an American!

These and other faults come on top of the changes in the Science curriculum, promoting creationism, rather than evolution.

Texas is promoting ignorance and propaganda in place of History and Science, and this will dumb down the nation’s children if it is not stopped dead in its tracks.

So the historical and scientific community, and the professional associations MUST fight tooth and nail, and stop this assault on teaching the truth about the American past, as well as promoting basic scientific knowledge!

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!

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!

Commemoration Of Mississippi “Freedom Summer” Fifty Years Ago!

Fifty years ago, the Mississippi “Freedom Summer”, including thousands of northerners, white and black, who came to Mississippi to register black voters, in a state which was the absolute worst in race relations, and in many ways still is even now, was marked by the death of three civil rights workers–James Chaney who was black, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were New Yorkers, Jewish, and students at Queens College in Flushing, New York, my alma mater, and where I was attending at that time.

Tonight, PBS has a two hour “American Experience”, detailing the horrors of Mississippi in 1964, very close to Nazi Germany in its mentality. The documentary portrays the sacrifices and dangers faced by the Civil Rights Movement, occurring just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and signed into law. The following year, the Voting Rights Act was passed, in commemoration of the reality of so many barriers, including intimidation of blacks who wanted to vote, including the threat to take away their jobs, force them out of their homes, or even starve them!

When one thinks of what the Republican Party in the South now is doing to cut down the black vote, to deny them the right as if there was no Voting Rights Act, it causes great outrage! And the fact that the Supreme Court has weakened the law, as if there is no need to enforce it, when it is clear that bias still exists in the South, and even elsewhere, is enough to infuriate fair minded people! And finally, the fact that Clarence Thomas, the only black member of the Court, and a beneficiary of affirmative action, sees no need for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, and has turned on his own race, it is truly maddening!

The False Glamor Of Secession: The “Red” States, Quebec, And Scotland

The concept of secession has become a key word in society when there are discontented people who somehow believe central government in a democracy is evil, because it will not allow them to pursue their prejudices.

So we have, more in the past than right now, the glamor of secession that has been promoted by French speaking Quebec to overcome the English influence in the rest of Canada, although Quebec would be in very poor economic shape if it did secede.

We also have the move for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, breaking away from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but in reality, that would impoverish Scotland.

And then we have the “Red” states, particularly those in the South, but also including the Southwest and the Great Plains, who dream of secession, mourning the failure of secession during the Civil War.

And yet, it is these “Red” states that are, by far, the poorest states in America, and get loads of benefits from the national government that they profess to hate!

It seems more the reality that these people living in the “Red” states who wish secession are purely ignorant, lack education, and have no clue as to how much they benefit from the federal government, so they are spiting themselves with their own stubbornness.

But really, what it comes down to is that they resent the inability to discriminate freely against African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays, due to federal laws and intervention by federal courts.

These states claim to be “devout” and “religious”, but actually are far from being so, as they lack all ethics and morals that true religion teaches!

These states have many people who wish the 19th century was back, when men dominated women, whites dominated over African Americans, and a small plantation elite controlled all government, much of it in the national government, until that “evil” man, Abraham Lincoln, came along and reasserted the basic teachings of the Founding Fathers, that this was a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice, even though many of the Founding Fathers practiced hypocrisy and deception themselves, but knew it was wrong! The Civil Rights Movement had begun with the end of slavery, a long, hard fought battle still being waged!

Lincoln opened up a new concept of America, and he would see leaders in the 20th century, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson assert federal authority in the manner of Lincoln, revolutionizing the two political parties. The Democrats would become the Republicans of the Civil War in principle, and the Republicans would become the old, prejudiced Southern Democrats, fighting against equal opportunity and justice.

Meanwhile, the people of the “Red” states became victims, who were appealed to on the basis of fundamentalist religion, which had worked against integration of the races, and wanted to keep women down in a subservient position, and worked against promotion of equality for gays and lesbians, even though they had such people in their own midst, preaching one thing and conducting their lives as the opposite, pure hypocrisy!

Once the struggling people of the “Red” states realize they have been victimized by religious and political propaganda, the Republican Party will be as dead as a doornail, as it is a party based on pure hypocrisy and lack of basic principles of the party they created 160 years ago!

50th Anniversary Commemoration Of Birmingham Baptist Church Bombing: A Time For Reflection

50 years ago today, in the most segregated city in America, led by the most divisive Governor in America at the time, hate and racism combined to lead to a horrific bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Governor George Wallace had already become the symbol of the worst in America, having stood in the door of the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alabama, trying to prevent two black college students from attending the state university based upon their race, but with President John F. Kennedy sending in the National Guard to insure their entrance and security.

Four young black girls were killed in the bombing, an incomprehensible event committed by the Ku Klux Klan, against a house of worship.

This event galvanized the civil rights movement, although it took decades to prosecute and convict the perpetrators of this slaughter.

C Span today is spending much of the day on American History TV commemorating this tragedy, and reflecting on how far we have come in fifty years, and how far we have progressed. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a direct result of this tragedy, helped along by the brilliance of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who overcame the Senate filibuster to accomplish what seemed like impossible odds to overcome opposition.

Congress awarded Congressional Gold Medals in honor of the four girls, in a recent ceremony, and bronze replicas are available for purchase through the US Mint, a great suggestion for a wonderful gift to remind the younger generation of the sacrifices of those involved in the civil rights movement.