Racial Segregation

Wipe Out Memory and Statues Of Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson? NO WAY!

A major campaign has been mounted to “cleanse” America’s history of political leaders who were racists, people who advocated and owned slaves, and those who promoted segregation and “Jim Crow” after slavery ended 150 years ago.

So the move is on to wipe the name of various major figures off of buildings, and the removal of statues and monuments erected in their honor.

The biggest “villains” in this quest to “correct” the past are President Thomas Jefferson, Vice President and Senator John C. Calhoun, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and President Woodrow Wilson.

There is no question that all four, and others, can be condemned for their beliefs and behaviors.

But if we are to “discipline” them, then should we NOT add eight of the other nine pre Civil War Presidents who owned slaves; and the multitude of political leaders since the end of the Civil War who promoted segregation and racist views in the century and a half since 1865?

So while we are at it, why  not wipe out all American history, instead of recognizing the sins and shortcomings  that exist, as any good history professor will do in class, including this blogger, and also point out the major contributions that these leaders had on the totality of American history?

We cannot wipe out the past, and the move to sanitize it is a massive mistake!  We need to TEACH and LEARN about it, and draw attention to it for present day political leaders, not try to make believe it never occurred in the first place!  The goal should be to demand that today’s leaders stop promoting racism, nativism, and misogyny by exposing their transgressions!

So NO, to the attempt to reconstruct history, and wipe out the past, too common, ironically, to what happens in left wing and right wing dictatorships!

150th Anniversary Of 13th Amendment, Ending Slavery: Abraham Lincoln’s Enduring Legacy!

Yesterday, December 9, was the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, lobbied for and pushed through by the efforts of President Abraham Lincoln, his most enduring legacy!

The Republican Party and its first President were totally principled and decent in what was done 150 years ago, and yet slavery in a different form would continue, with a century of legal segregation of the races, until Lyndon B. Johnson engineered the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And unjust imprisonment of African Americans. as well as people of other races and ethnic backgrounds and poor people of all races, due to inability to have proper legal representation and a biased legal system, including private prisons, means that slavery in a different form has always existed and still flourishes in 2015!

And the Republican Party and its conservative ideologues have completely destroyed the heritage of a party with great Presidents and a list of great members of Congress and governors who carried on the early tradition of the Republican Party a century and a half ago.

Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, if they came back to 21st century America, would be shocked at what has happened to their party!

So the fight against the mean spirit and lack of compassion and empathy of the modern GOP is a continuing one, as we celebrate the official end of slavery a century and a half ago!

“We Must Take Our Government Back!”—To What, May We Ask?

Carly Fiorina said it last night in the GOP debate; Donald Trump has said it; so has a multitude of others in the Republican Party debates so far—“We must take our government back!”

Back to what, is the question!

Back to a time when women were “dutiful” housewives who stayed home, avoided education and employment, and were totally dependent upon their husbands?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were segregated by law and custom and “knew” their place not to complain?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were lynched at will and no one seemed to notice?

Back to a time when gays and lesbians were openly discriminated against in all areas of life without any protection or support of their rights?

Back to a time when child labor existed as young as six years old, and they and poor women who worked were paid far less than men?

Back to a time when there was no Social Security system for the elderly and disabled?

Back to a time when immigrants were barred from coming to America if they were Jewish or Catholic or Asian in origin?

Back to a time when labor unions did not exist, and work places were totally unsafe, and there was no workers compensation for injuries at work?

Back to a time when corporations “raped” and pillaged the environment for their own selfish purposes?

The list could go on and on, and who would “love” if all this was to return, from the 1950s, 1920s, and the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century?

Conservatives who have fought against and resisted all of these changes and reforms brought about by progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt; Progressive Era reformers at all levels;  Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition; Harry Truman; John F, Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; 1960s reformers at all levels; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; Barack Obama; and the constant battle of modern progressives and liberals to protect and expand all of the great political, social and economic reforms of the 20th century, hard fought, and the battle goes on in 2015!

 

Nikki Haley, Paul Thurmond, Jenny Horne: Signs Of The New South Carolina And Profiles In Courage!

South Carolina has finally done the right thing, vote to take down the Confederate flag placed on the state capital in Columbia in 1961, in defiance of the civil rights movement, and in favor of enforcing segregation.

Governor Nikki Haley, State Senator Paul Thurmond, and State House member Jenny Horne deserve special praise, showing courage and principle in moving to change South Carolina history in the wake of the Charleston Massacre in mid June.

The fact that all three are Republicans in a Republican run state government is testimony that after decades of GOP rule, where the old Southern Democratic prejudices were not changed just by party affiliation change, that finally South Carolina is coming out of the 19th century.

Nikki Haley is an Indian American, her parents born in India; Paul Thurmond is the son of segregationist Senator and Governor and States Rights Party (1948) Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond; and Jenny Horne is a direct descendant of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis.

These are a new generation, working to overcome the nightmare images of John C. Calhoun, Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, and Strom Thurmond, who promoted slavery, racism and lynching, and racial segregation.

But part of this “new” South Carolina will be to bring social and economic conditions in the state into modern times, including the establishment of a minimum wage law statewide, and advancement of a modern educational system that teaches the truth of American history, and teaches evolution and climate change. Additionally, a health care system that helps white and black poor is essential!

Until South Carolina brings about these changes, it is still a long way from being a modern state on the level of states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Coast!

The CINOs: Christians In Name Only! Claim To Follow Jesus, But Do Just The Opposite!

Christianity was created out of belief in the connection of Jesus Christ to God, and the dogma that he was crucified on a cross by the Romans in the Holy Land, and rose from the dead three days after a torturous death, and took upon himself the sins of mankind. If one followed the teachings of Jesus, he or she would have the opportunity for salvation in Heaven after death.

The Catholic Church developed, with the concept of a Pope as the spokesman for Jesus Christ on Earth. But soon there were schisms in the Church, leading to the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire in the fifth century AD, and then the revolt in the West, led by Martin Luther in Germany; John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland; and King Henry VIII in England in the 16th century to begin with, and then many other Christian sects developed around the world and in America, including a home grown branch of Christianity in the Mormon Church in the early 19th century.

Persecution, warfare, and destruction developed as each sect of Christianity demonstrated a belief that their version was the correct Christianity. Antisemitism, against the religion that Jesus had been in life, also raged throughout the past two millenniums. Promoting the faith became a mission to convert at the barrel of a gun, as people used the faith to conquer Latin America, Asia, and Africa for the Caucasians of Europe, and also included the promotion of the mass extermination of Native Americans in the Americas and aborigines in Australia and elsewhere. Slavery evolved, and when it ended in America in the 19th century, racial segregation and lynching was justified due to the belief in white supremacy.

In America, not only antisemitism developed, but also anti Catholic prejudice, and the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan and similar groups, who claimed to be following Christianity’s tenets. Also, evangelical Christianity formed, claiming that it was women’s role to serve men; that race and nationality were factors in judging who was superior to others; and promotion of homophobia, nativism, racism, misogyny and belief in guns being connected to the faith’s practice. They claimed moral superiority, while condemning organized labor and advocating destruction of the environment in the name of unbridled capitalism.

These distortions of Christianity also included denouncing the poor; a hatred of national government which evolved to deal with the inequities in society that allowed a small percentage of men to control and dominate within the economy and society; and wanting to impose their social views on everyone, by claiming that they were being persecuted, a “Victims” complex.

Today in America, it is this element of Christianity which defies the generous, compassionate, and kind mission of Jesus Christ, and instead promotes a very negative and hateful vision of what Jesus intended.

This group of people, very close minded and intolerant, could rightfully be called CINOs–Christians In Name Only—and must be resisted at every turn as the only way to promote progress and democratic values which Jesus believed in during his lifetime. They claim moral superiority, which could not be further from the truth. He would be shocked at the distortion of his message by those who claim to follow him, but most certainly do NOT!

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Allowing Religious Prejudice To Discriminate Against Gays And Lesbians: Violation Of Civil Rights!

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a possible Republican Presidential candidate, has just demonstrated why he is not acceptable as the nominee of his party or as President of the United States!

America is not about to elect a man who allows the religious prejudice of right wing evangelical Christians toward gays and lesbians to become a law, one which violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in regards to public accommodations!

If a business can refuse to serve people because of their sexual orientation, the next step is to say that a business can refuse to serve African Americans, as has now happened in a South Carolina restaurant!

Or a business could use their right wing evangelical Christianity to justify not serving Jews, or Latinos, or disabled people, or senior citizens, or Muslims, or Asian Americans, or Native Americans!

This violation of human rights, using the excuse of religion to promote and advocate prejudice, needs an injunction to stop the enforcement, until it is reviewed by the judiciary in Indiana, and ultimately, the Supreme Court, as otherwise, it will lead to other states doing the same thing!

One must not forget that in the Christian faith, we have seen past discrimination against Jews and African Americans in the name of Jesus Christ, as if Jesus would have approved of the kind of bigotry so often practiced, including endorsement of antisemitism, slavery, and racial segregation!

All businesses must get a license to operate, and part of the requirements for any business should be legal agreements that ban any discrimination against anyone seeking to work in the business, or any customers of the business!

Barack Obama And Religious Extremism: Totally Accurate Statement, So Why The Outcry?

President Barack Obama spoke up on Thursday at the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on the dangers of religious extremism, promotion of one’s own faith as the only true faith, and legitimizing bloodshed and violence in the name of one’s God.

This was in reaction to the horrors that have been perpetrated by ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East, including beheadings of Americans, British, and Japanese hostages; and the even more horrific act of taking a Jordanian pilot, captured while attacking ISIL targets, and setting him on fire, causing him to be burned to death.

What Obama said was that any religion that endorses or promotes such bloodshed and violence should be condemned, and he reminded our nation, much of it totally unaware of our history, that we had seen the lynching, butchering, and setting on fire of a few thousand African American men and boys in the American South and Midwest over a period of more than a hundred years of Jim Crow segregation in the 19th and 20th century and Ku Klux Klan influence; had also experienced nearly 250 years of slavery, which included similar mistreatment; and that world wide, there had been the Christian war on Islam during the Crusades; and the Catholic Church Inquisition of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Obama did not specifically mention the horrible persecution of Jews by Christians over two millenniums, and not just the Catholic Church, but also Protestant groups, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church; or the mass murder of Catholics vs Protestants in Northern Ireland, as recently as the period of the Irish Republican Army between 1969 and 1998.

And of course, in the Middle East, today, as shown by the setting on fire of a Jordanian who was Muslim, the old holy war of Shiite and Sunni Muslims continues unabated, as it has for 13 centuries; and there is also bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus in India; and turmoil in the Balkans, that led to mass murder by Christians against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

From what Obama reminded us of, plus the additional information provided here by the author, and well known to scholars, it is clear how devastating organized religion has been in its promotion of narrow mindedness and hate, and commitment to torture and extermination in the name of God, no matter which religion.

So Obama was offering a moral lesson, but yet the outcry by right wingers, who do not wish to be reminded of the sins of Christianity fanatics, and only wish to look at the Muslim fanatics today, and imagine that this is the whole story of religion in history, is very troubling. They fail to realize that many more Muslims have been killed by the barbarism of ISIL (ISIS), and their refusal to accept and recognize the history of Christianity as being just as full, historically, of violence and bloodshed, bodes ill for the future ability to understand and accept religious differences and promote religious tolerance!

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!

60 Years Since Brown V. Board Of Education: Segregation Still Reality In Many Areas!

Sixty years ago, the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

The reaction was massive resistance, both in the South and also in many Northern communities.

Later Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s gave the government the ability to enforce the end of segregation in all areas of public life, but in schools, the movement toward integration succeeded in some ways, but failed in the sense of promoting equal educational opportunity.

Many state governments continued to promote unequal spending and facilities provided to urban schools, as compared to suburban schools, and this continues today.

Young people have learned to accept each other, despite racial differences, and society has become much more integrated, but still a tone of racism, and a desire to revive the old segregation through new, devious methods still prevails.

And of course, despite having an African American President in Barack Obama, there is still great division and controversy over everything racial. We are not in a post racial America!

So while some progress has been made, there is still a great sense of disappointment in the reality of much segregation that still exists today, and is still encouraged in many political circles!

Republicans, Race, And The Confederate South: Successors To Old Southern Democrats!

The Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln; the Emancipation Proclamation; the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments; large scale support for civil rights in the 1960s; and having three progressive Southerners as President (Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton); and many New South Governors (including Jimmy Carter, Reuben Askew, Dale Bumpers, Bill Clinton), has now fully adapted itself to the old Confederate South, the old Southern segregationist Democrats, the South that wants the “good old days” of slavery and discrimination that existed before the Civil War and continued for another century until the civil rights movement transformed the South, or seemed to do so.

The fact is that the old Confederate South still exists, and the Republicans have become the successor to the old racist, Southern Democrats. Many of the members of Congress from the South and the Border States have no problem spewing racist statements, and backing racists, including, just recently: Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, Paula Deen, George Zimmerman, Ted Nugent–all of whom identify with the Republican Party.

At the same time, the majority of the Supreme Court, appointed by Republicans, have weakened the Voting Rights Act enforcement and have now made affirmative action something that will be ended, rather than reformed; and the use of abusive language toward the first African American President has been done with absolutely no sign of any respect or deference for a person in the Presidency, who at least has the right to expect that. Some would say that every President suffers abuse, but none since Abraham Lincoln has faced as much hate and personal threats as Barack Obama.

Additionally, the Republican Party has done everything it can to limit the right to vote to African Americans and other minorities as the only way for them to keep power in the South, but also in the heartland, as well!

It is indeed sad that the GOP has become what conservatives love to condemn the old Southern Democrats for doing, but indeed have copied–a party of support of racism and inequality of treatment!