Harry Truman And Integration Of Armed Forces In 1948: True Beginning Of Modern Civil Rights Movement 65 Years Ago!

On this day in 1948, 65 years ago, President Harry Truman, who had grown up in a traditional Southern Confederate home in Missouri, took a very courageous step, integrating the military by executive order, causing an uproar in the South and in the military itself, but standing by his decision that segregation and second class citizenship in the military must stop, particularly after the major contribution of African Americans during World War II.

This was the first Presidential action since Ulysses S. Grant promoted the Civil Rights Acts during his administration 75 years earlier.

It harmed Truman’s quest for a full term, spurring the creation of the States Rights party (Dixiecrats), and the candidacy of Strom Thurmond for President, and Thurmond won four Southern states and 39 electoral votes, the second best total ever until that time, but Truman pulled out a miraculous victory anyway!

Truman followed up the action on the military, by integrating Washington, DC, which had been ordered segregated by executive order of Woodrow Wilson in 1913!

What Truman did had an effect on the Supreme Court and future Presidents and Congresses, and the civil rights movement owes a lot to the courage and principle and decency of President Truman, who took a stand that could have defeated him, but that he knew was the right thing to do!

The Voting Rights Act Repeal A Massive Step Backward, And Based On Trust Not Earned!

The conservative Supreme Court majority has decided to overrule the Congress, which in 2006, agreed to renew the Voting Rights Act, and in so doing, has left it to trust that Southern states, which historically have worked to limit the right to vote, can now be trusted.

This is a massive blow to the civil rights movement, and to believe that things have changed from the time of a Democratic Dixiecrat South to a Republican South today is to be living in a illusion, that one can trust Republican legislatures that are presently working against women’s rights and victimizing immigrants, that somehow, without oversight, the present increased African American involvement in voting will not be reversed rapidly!

A split Congress will be unable to do anything about enforcing voting rights fairly, anymore than protecting the rights of women and immigrants affected by discriminatory state laws.

This is the ultimate outcome of the disputed Presidential Election Of 2000, and shows once again, that elections have consequences. So the Republican majority Supreme Court has insured that its agenda will be the future, as much as it was in interfering in the 2000 election, putting a loser of the popular vote by a bigger margin than the three previous cases, into the White House!

What The Fox News Channel South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate Revealed

Last night’s Fox News Channel South Carolina Republican Presidential debate revealed a lot about the Republican Party and about South Carolina, none of it good!

It demonstrated that the Republican Party is willing to live the past–a past of racial discrimination, denial of the right to vote, talk of secession veiled in the term “states rights”, willingness to condemn the poor in the name of veiled code words, and to promote a radical right wing extremism that would promote prejudice, and a “them” versus “us” mentality.

It also demonstrated that the Republicans have no intention of trying to avoid war, when war is possible, by their tough stand against diplomacy, and their veiled threats against Iran, even with the knowledge that America was bankrupted by Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American people wish to avoid further foreign conflicts.

The audience was very outside the norms, by booing Ron Paul over foreign policy; cheering Newt Gingrich with his racial political appeal to a group of obvious Dixiecrat types who would have voted for Strom Thurmond in 1948; being supportive of Rick Perry in his claim that the national government is attacking the rights of the people of South Carolina and Texas; and the general disrespect to refuse to honor the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on the national holiday which they were against from the beginning.

Nothing has changed in South Carolina, which started the Civil War; was one of the most viciously racist states in the era of segregation; and has demonstrated no concern for its large poverty stricken population, a majority of it white, although the image is left that they are all African American.

South Carolina remains one of the most backward states in many different statistical areas, but after all, they have their beliefs in their Christian faith, totally distorting the message of Jesus Christ!

The Tragedy Of The Republican Party: A Split Personality Outside The Mainstream!

Chris Matthews on MSNBC this evening summarized the tragedy of the Republican Party: that it has been “hijacked” by disparate groups that cause the party grief!

First, we have what Matthews calls the “Dixiecrats”, the Southern segregationists, who left the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Then, due to the school prayer decision (Engle V Vitale) and abortion rights decision (Roe V Wade) of the Supreme Court, the “Moral Majority” or “Christian Coalition” or “Evangelical Right” went over to the Republican Party in the 1970s.

Finally, conservative “hawkish” Democrats, dissatisfied with the nomination of George McGovern in 1972 and President Jimmy Carter in 1976 also went over to the Republicans as the “neoconservatives”.

The result has been a “split personality” party which has marginalized itself more and more over the years, and moved away from the mainstream of America, as the Republican Party was until the mid 1970s.

Unless Jon Huntsman can, somehow, gain a surge and make a major fight for the GOP nomination, the Republican Party is going to remain outside the mainstream of America!

Today Is A Shared Death Date Of Two Courageous Presidents, Often Criticized In Office Endlessly!

Today, December 26, is a shared death date of two courageous Presidents, often criticized in office endlessly.

These two Presidents were Harry Truman who died in 1972, and Gerald Ford, who died in 2006.

Harry Truman was incessantly attacked on all sides, by Republicans who thought he would be easy to defeat in 1948, and were surprised by his upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey; and who later bitterly attacked his strategy on the Korean War. But also, liberal Democrats were disappointed in him, seeing him as a poor replacement for Franklin D. Roosevelt, who he succeeded in 1945. So he faced the opposition of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace and the Progressive Party of 1948. But he also faced the opposition of Southern Democrats, led by Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who ran for President in 1948 as a “Dixiecrat” on the States Rights Party line, because of Truman’s brave stand ending segregation in Washington, DC, and in the armed forces, by executive order.

Truman had twenty years in retirement, and grew in stature as the years went by.

Gerald Ford, not even elected Vice President, ended up succeeding Richard Nixon, when he resigned due to the Watergate scandal in 1974.

Ford gained criticism because of the pardon of Nixon one month later, and because of the economic recession that had already begun, and was the worst economic downturn since 1939.

Ford also had to battle for the GOP nomination against conservatives who backed former Governor Ronald Reagan, who nearly defeated Ford in the Republican National Convention of 1976, and this forced Ford to drop Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and replace him with Kansas Senator Bob Dole. He came close to the defeat of Democratic nominee Governor Jimmy Carter, losing in Ohio and Hawaii by very small margins, enough to have defeated Carter if only he had gained a few thousand votes.

Ford came to be regarded with respect and admiration, even by Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who in 1999 said he had been wrong to attack Ford for the Nixon pardon 25 years earlier.

Ford lived on for 29 years after the Presidency, and is looked at kindly now, much like Truman.

These were two men who had in common that they came across to average Americans as being “one of us”! May they rest in peace!