Every so often I have a series of encounters that forces me to take a step back for a moment, shake my head, and say, "MOTW, are you hearing what you think you're hearing? 'Cause it sure sounds crazy."
Of course, I am usually hearing exactly what I think I'm hearing, and if it's not crazy, it's borderline crazy.
From places here and there in the blogosphere and MSM, for example, I've been hearing the charge that Republicans are going to use, if I recall one writer's term correctly, "dogwhistle racism" against President Obama in 2012--that is, the charge is that Republicans are racist, oppose Barack Obama because of his race, and expect to win by luring knuckle-dragging, racist, redneck Republicans to the polls.
It's borderline crazy because it so neatly inverts the truth, and it's aggravating because some people actually fall for it.
I've written about racism before, and I recommend you go read that post before going on with this one. When you're back, I'll lightly sketch in the real history of Republicans, Democrats, and racism for you. I'm not going to bother to link to sources; I just flat don't want to take the time. But you can easily verify what I say here with a little digging, if you're willing to do it. If you're not willing to do it...
Have you heard of Andrew Jackson? Oh, I know you've seen his face; it's on our money. But did you know he was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans? Did you know he was the only president every to see our national debt paid off? Did you know that he was also, in the words of a Democrat whose opinion I respect a lot, "a bigoted son of a -----?" That he oversaw the forced removal of the Cherokee and certain other tribes to Oklahoma? That he was the first Democrat president, and that one of the priorities of his Democratic Party was to preserve slavery in the South?
That's right: it wasn't the Republican Party that was born to champion slavery; that distinction belongs to the Democrats. The Republican Party was formed in large part to oppose slavery.
Think what you like of the issues involved in the Civil War. I won't pretend that the whole conflict can be reduced to slavery vs. anti-slavery. But I will tell you, and it is the truth, that during the Civil War and for decades and decades afterward, it was Republicans that championed liberty for blacks and Democrats that hindered it. I am speaking in broad terms, of course, and you can probably find exceptions on both sides, but in general, that is the truth of the matter.
The Ku Klux Klan, in its various incarnations? Democrats.
Suppression of the black vote? Democrats.
Discrimination against black workers? Democrats.
"Bull" Conner? Democrat.
Orval Faubus? Democrat
Virulent racist Woodrow Wilson? Democrat
Virulent racist Lyndon Johnson? Democrat
Robert "Sheets" Byrd, former Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan? Democrat
For decades, the Democratic Party was the national bastion of American racism.
For decades, blacks voted--when they could vote, that is--Republican.
Martin Luther King? Republican. Go ahead, call him a racist. I dare you.
You don't really think that Democrats genuinely morphed from the racists' party to the champions of black equality in the few short years between Orval Faubus's Little Rock escapades to the Great Society, do you? You're not really that naive, are you?
Of course, Democrats didn't do any such thing. In the sixties, thanks largely to Republican efforts to secure equal access to the ballot box for black Americans, blacks became a voting bloc worth courting. And the Democrats courted them! In one of the most brazen, cynical turnarounds in political history, the Democrats re-branded themselves as the party of black rights, instituting entitlement programs largely aimed at buying and locking up the black vote, and painting Republican opposition to those programs, programs that have wrecked the black family, as racist. Amazingly, they have successfully painted Republican opposition to racial set-asides, racial quotas, as racist! They have painted anyone with the nerve to say that popular black culture is disintegrating and dragging blacks down as racist.
Democrats have rewritten history in the minds of most Americans. In a twisted sort of way, I have to salute them. It is one of the most amazing feats of re-branding, of successfully executing the "big lie" technique, in history. And they have done it all, successfully, for the sake of securing the votes of black voters, for the sake of raw, naked political power.
There are, of course, Republicans that Democrats have a hard time successfully tarring as racists: black Republicans like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Star Parker, La Shawn Barber, Walter Williams, Condoleeza Rice, and the Filipina-by-heritage Michelle Malkin get a different treatment. They are not called racists; they are said to be sellouts, "Toms," and self-haters.
Some of the most blatantly racist political cartoons I've ever seen were directed at Condi Rice. You've probably forgotten.
I ain't never gonna forget.
The truth of the matter is that there is very little, if any, racism in the Republican Party. It is such a rarity that Democrats are darn hard pressed to come up with actual examples and are forever reduced to calling things racist when they aren't--things like welfare reform, or opposition to racial quotas. Or they'll out and out lie about someone being called racist names or spat on. Or they'll decide that a Republican's using "code words" to communicate with racists, or they'll selectively edit tapes to make someone appear to have said something racist when he hasn't. The truth of the matter is that the Democratic Party long ago decided that racial division was politically useful, and they've falsely tarred Republicans as racists ever since.