I posted on this topic over three years ago, and it continues to get traffic. The thread sprang from a meme a Facebook friend posted, offering a decidedly tilted interpretation of history:
The aim is to convince readers that the Democratic Party is the party of suppression, and to make the point, party voting of previous decades is touted, somewhat lamely, in support of the argument. The argument conveniently overlooks that today the Democratic Party is campaigning for voting rights, while Republican politicians are pushing to suppress minority voting and are cheering the fall of historic voting rights legislation.
The argument was growing even before that. In July 2013 I posted an item linking the Republican Party with racial prejudice:
I am impressed. Did I say “impressed?” I am really impressed. In this jaded era, blown free of purity and naivety by the relentless winds of instant communication and instant gratification, on a planet that shrinks daily to the width of a smart phone screen and with hard reality just a click away on the TV remote, I am impressed that even an ounce of mental innocence remains, let alone the buckets full that spilled at a recent gathering.
CPAC Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Whites Arrive
A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.
The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”
The event was CPAC 2013 held in National Harbor, Maryland, from 14 to 16 March 2013. CPAC is the Conservative Action Conference, and the March event was one of several scheduled this year. I don’t have a copy of the event program, but CBS News posted a summary. The theme was “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives.”
To that I obtained immediate push back from an actual friend, not just a Facebook friend. From private correspondence:
I think you’re making a sad mistake to 1) equate the Tea Party to the KKK and the Nazi party and 2) regurgitate a summary of an event where the source of the summary is a political opponent. Politicians are in business to gain and keep power; there are bad apples in every group regardless of their stripes and suffixes.
There was some additional interchange, including elaboration by “Jim.”
The Nazi were, as I’m sure you’re aware, socialist. Mao and Stalin were “leftist”, so are you, being a progressive, an admirer of them? You and other members of the left choose to associate Neo-Nazis, the KKK and racism with conservatives because it suits your purposes, not that it’s a deserving fit. Finally, just because “a number cheered” doesn’t mean squat, you don’t know if it was one, two or twenty nor do you know how many were in the room. You, by the way, grew up in Texas which was the most racist place I’ve ever lived. So do you, by virtue of being a Texan, deserve the label of being a racist? This is my point, don’t paint an entire group by the few bad actors within the group.
The crux of Jim’s argument is we should not associate the Republican Party with racism just because some Republicans are racists. He missed the point, which I laid out in a response:
Yeah, I’m satisfied with the way I wrote it. Terry had a message, and he knew just where to take it, and he took it there. Accounts show that Terry’s message was not universally accepted at the meeting, but a number present cheered his remarks. In no nearly main stream political movement would his message find such a welcome but the Tea Party movement. If Terry’s message seems to reflect KKK ideology, then he is the one who made it so, and he alone can offer any clarification.
Nazism, KKK, racism are not generally linked to liberal ideology. They are more comfortable in a conservative political setting. If there is any thing not true about that statement, then somebody needs to explain what that thing might be.
If the Tea Party wants to distance itself from extreme right wing ideology such as Nazism, the KKK and racism, they need to denounce these and the people who promote them. People like Scott Terry should not feel so comfortable coming to a CPAC session.
Comments posted to the original item provide a view to the core of the argument. Go to the original to read all comments. Here is part of one:
So, that says a lot about that. There is another facet to the story, and it’s the one central to this post. This comment was also posted to the original item:
Yes, that’s it. “It’s not racist except in the minds of people like you.” Not racist except in the minds of people like me? Like me? In the minds of people like me and also in the minds of people like Jose Torres and Kayla Norton. See the screen shot from ABC News yesterday. CNN has posted an item on-line:
(CNN) — A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child’s birthday party were sentenced to prison Monday.Jose “Joe” Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.
Let me guess. These people would have voted for Hillary Clinton. No? I just hate it when I’m wrong like that.