(ThyBlackMan.com) The Democrats say the Republicans are the reactionary party and that their candidates occasionally encourage racist sentiments. The Republicans counter that the Democrats are the ones who instituted segregation and that many of them fought violently against the civil rights movement. Which side is telling the truth? Both of them are.
Abraham Lincoln, president during the Civil War that ended slavery, was a Republican. Many believe that is why he was assassinated. John F. Kennedy,
After the Civil War the Republican dominated US government set about reconstructing the South and putting whites and Blacks on equal footing. Reconstruction ended in the late 1800s, and the Ku Klux Klan was established to terrorize the Black population in the South under Democratic state governments. As a result those Blacks who could vote, those in the North, for generations voted solidly Republican, while the whites in the South voted solidly Democrat.
However, in the 1930s during the Great Depression, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt established Social Security and other social welfare programs that benefited Blacks as well as whites. And so, Democrats began to gain a following in the Black community. Their influence greatly expanded after Democratic president John F. Kennedy came to power in 1960. The man he succeeded, Pres. Eisenhower, a Republican, appeared reluctant to enforce the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that any form of officially sanctioned segregation was illegal. Kennedy, on the other hand, began to take at least modest steps to end segregation.
After JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Texas in 1963, his successor, Democrat Lyndon Johnson, vigorously pushed through comprehensive civil rights legislation infuriating white Southerners and winning widespread Black support. Subsequently, Blacks left the party of Lincoln en masse as white reactionaries, all over the country, began to eagerly embrace the Republican Party.
(It is worth noting that Republican Ronald Reagan kicked off his successful 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the town where, in 1963, three civil rights workers were brutally beaten and killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Also, Democrat Bill Clinton made a point of interrupting his 1992 campaign for the presidency to rush back to the capital of Arkansas, where he was the governor, to sign papers authorizing the execution of a retarded Black youth.)
Other groups, like Latinos and Jews, for example, generally split their vote between Democrats and Republicans forcing the two parties to vigorously compete to get a bigger slice of each group’s vote. Blacks, for quite a while now, traditionally vote overwhelmingly Democratic. (In fact, in 2008, with Obama heading the ticket, the Democrats received well over 90% of the Black vote.) As a result, the Republicans do almost nothing to attract us, and the Democrats give us very little especially considering that we are their most loyal constituency.
And that is the problem. We are so faithful to the Democrats they can virtually ignore us. Hence, both parties pretty much take us for granted. We must split our vote say those of us who still remain under the Republican banner. What for, say Black Democratic leaders, when the Republicans offer us absolutely nothing.
And so there you have it. Can a Black woman or man, in good conscience, vote Republican? It reminds me of the game, good cop, bad cop. The suspect always complies with everything the kind, “good” cop says out of fear of the “bad,” brutal policeman. But in reality they are both working together. Is that what the two parties are doing to Black America? And if that is really the case, is there anything that we can do to get out of this trap?
Staff Writer; Arthur Lewin
This talented writer has also self published a book which is entitled; Read Like Your Life Depends On It.