I find myself writing another letter to the editor to add historical fact to the nonsensical premise raised in the recent letter to the editor entitled: “Politics and your looking-glass selves.” Putting aside the irony of discussing the hijacking of the Democratic party at a time when the Trump led GOP has lowered its bar to the point of demonstrating its complete inability to govern, my focus is on the inaccuracy of the authors premise that the Democratic party once opposed freedom for slaves, perpetuated Jim Crow, and that Democrats, as a party, tried to block Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Act of 1957.
The Democratic party did not try to block that legislation. It was Southern Democrats. Indeed, 43 of 46 GOP Senators voted for the legislation, whereas 18 of 49 voting Democratic Senators voted against the legislation. The 18 Democratic Senators voting against the legislation represented: Alabama; Arkansas; Florida (one for, one against); Georgia; Louisiana; Mississippi; North Carolina; Oregon (one for, one against); South Carolina; and Virginia. Hardly the Democratic party … merely Democratic Senators from the Southern states.
Fast forward to LBJ’s Civil Rights Act legislation. His good friend, Sen. Richard Russell, warned that if LBJ proceeded to push that legislation through, the South would turn Republican. LBJ did push that legislation through, and the Southern states did turn Republican. Currently, states with two GOP Senators include: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Alabama has one Dem and one GOP, mainly because the GOP candidate for the special Senate race in Alabama was … how would pundits refer to it? Flawed.
To the gentleman who wrote the aforementioned letter: the true lessons to be learned include when a Democratic president pushed forward Civil Rights legislation, Southern Democrats changed to become Republican; and those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones.
I shall leave for another day the irony of a GOP/Trump supporter’s attempt to incorrectly claim the Democratic party was hijacked…while we watch a GOP that has lost its backbone to Trump. Where are the likes of those 43 GOP Senators now, when we most need them?