The true history of the Democratic Party is one of institutionalized racism. The Civil War was fought by a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who signed the emancipation proclamation. In 1864, his opponent was George McClellan, who was the Democratic nominee. His letter of acceptance of the Democratic nomination in 1864 is below:
The reestablishment of the Union in all its integrity, is, and must continue to be, the indispensable condition in any settlement. So soon as it is clear or even probable, that our present adversaries are ready for peace, upon the basis of the Union, we should exhaust all the resources of statesmanship practiced by civilized nations, and taught by the traditions of the American people, consistent with the honor and interests of the country to secure such peace, reestablish the Union and guarantee for the future the constitutional rights of every State. The Union is the one condition of peace — we ask no more.
This was written on September 8, 1864, only a few months before the South was totally defeated by the Union Armies.
McClellan was clearly willing to allow the continuation of slavery in exchange for peace. Following the war, the Democrats in the South did everything possible to suppress the black population. The KKK was founded by a Southern Democrat. It was Southern Democrats who passed all those Jim Crow laws. It was Southern Democrats who signed the Southern Manifesto. It was Southern Democrats who opposed desegregation and it was Southern Democrats who fought the 1964 Civil Rights Act, including a 74 day filibuster, until the bitter end.
The myth has been that all those racist Southern Democrats became Republicans. That is simply untrue. Most of them remained Democrats until the day they died. I only know of two who became Republicans; Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, and both strongly renounced racism when they joined the Republican Party. Others, like J. William Fulbright, the mentor for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, remained Democrats and devoted racists until the day they died. Al Gore, Sr. was a racist Southern Senator. He participated in the 74 day filibuster to delay the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and he voted against it. By the way John Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights act and he opposed the 1963 March on Washington. Robert Kennedy was literally wiretapping Dr. King and had him investigated on suspicion of being a communist. Kennedy allegedly chose LBJ as his Vice President as a signal to Southern Democrats that he would not pursue a Civil Rights agenda.
The question is whether those racist Democratic parents really raised children who then renounced racism. Did you ever hear Al Gore renounce the racism of his father? Did you ever hear Bill Clinton renounce the racism of J. William Fulbright? Me neither.
Do the math here. Democrats in the early 1960s, when there was widespread opposition to civil rights, would have had children. Those children would have been attending and graduating from college in the early 1980s. Would it really be a surprise to learn some of those children did things that were clearly racist? Like appear in black face or wearing a KKK outfit. I remember visiting the South during that time and the confederate flag was everywhere.
Stone Mountain in DeKalb County, Georgia is about ten miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. The founding of the second KKK took place there. William Simmons, a minister, secured an official charter from the state of Georgia and on Thanksgiving evening 1915, he and sixteen other members of the KKK ignited a flaming cross atop Stone Mountain. By 1920 the KKK had about 5 million members.
The original plan for the mountain was to carve a memorial of Robert E. Lee leading confederate troops and KKK members across the mountain’s summit. That plan continued until after World War 1, when the original artist was fired after having only carved the head of Robert E. Lee. It wasn’t revived until the 1950s and then the clear plan was to make a memorial that would serve as a reminder of white Supremacy. The decision was made to have the monument include Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis for exactly that reason.
When Stone Mountain was dedicated, President Richard Nixon knew this was a racist memorial, so he sent Spiro Agnew. Agnew disappointed the crowd by not even mentioning the Confederacy. He called for unity regarding the war in Vietnam. Billy Graham was asked to give the invocation, but he cancelled at the last minute. A black pastor, Reverend William Holmes Borders, Sr. replaced Graham. That resulted in the Klan leader and attorney James Venable cancelling their appearance. Two racist Southern Democrats did give speeches, Senator Herman Talmadge and Governor Lester Maddox. The theme was “Unity through Sacrifice.” Stone Mountain and the surrounding Confederate symbols was indisputably intended to represent the “Lost Cause” (the preservation of the Confederacy and slavery) and white supremacy.
In 1992, Bill Clinton chose Stone Mountain to give a speech talking about his “tough on crime” agenda.
This was only one year after the KKK stopped holding public picnics at Stone Mountain. This was so blatantly racist that even Iowa Senator Tom Harkin took notice:
“The Stone Mountain photo offered an ugly depiction of the Democratic Party’s priorities. What this picture demonstrates is insensitivity. A picture is worth a thousand words and we can’t afford to have pictures like this going around America in major newspapers because it sends the wrong message about what we want to be as Americans.
Governor Jerry Brown was even stronger. He said that Clinton and other politicians looked: “like colonial masters” trying to tell white voters “Don’t worry, we’ll keep them in their place. Two white men and forty black prisoners, what’s he saying: He’s saying we got them under control, folks.”
I visited Stone Mountain in the mid 1990s and I was frankly shocked and dismayed. I literally could not believe that no one was objecting to this. It was obviously a monument to the Confederacy and white supremacy. We spend very little time there and I have certainly never been interested in a return visit.
In 1996, in anticipation of the 1996 Olympics, there was an attempt to downplay the real meaning of Stone Mountain. But in a compromise which finally removed the Confederate battle flag, it required the Confederate Memorial on Stone Mountain remain untouched.
Any other provision of law notwithstanding, the memorial to the heroes of the Confederate States of America graven upon the face of Stone Mountain shall never be altered, removed, concealed, or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.
The Governor of Georgia in 2002 was Roy Barnes, a Democrat. The President of the Georgia Senate was Mark Taylor, Democrat. The Speaker of the Georgia House was Tom Murphy, Democrat.
The reality is that the argument that there have been no racist Democrats since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed is pure nonsense. Although the MSM has widely promoted this myth, honest reporting paints a very different picture. Donald Trump was called a racist because he apparently didn’t condemn white supremacy strongly enough at Charlottesville. Yet no one criticizing Trump bothered to consider the significant of Bill Clinton giving that speech at Stone Mountain.
I am unaware of any politicians, raised by Republican parents posing with KKK outfits. Perhaps they exist, I just am not aware of them. So far, all the people caught wearing black faces etc. are, gasp, Southern DEMOCRATS.I am aware of many times when Republicans were falsely accused of racism with little or no evidence. Meghan Kelley lost her job at NBC because she talked about people wearing black face as part of a Halloween costume. But now that Democratic politicians are caught doing much worse, the standard appears to be slipping.
I would never have considered posing with someone wearing a KKK costume and neither would any of the people I knew in high school or college. It would have been unthinkable. Obviously, it was far from unthinkable for at least some Southern Democratic politicians.
Perhaps the real reason we are finding prominent Democrats posing with racist symbols in the 1980s it that it accurately represents who they were and quite possibly who they still are. I predict that if people do honest research on a lot of Southern Democratic politicians they will find more of this. So far, the Governor of Virginia, the Attorney General of Virginia and the Governor of North Carolina, all coincidentally Democrats, have these kinds of pictures. The question is did these children of racists, posing with racist symbols, really change their world view or did they just learn to be better liars? You decide.