Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let’s Get it Straight

About the only real benefit of getting old is that you don’t have to study history because you have lived it. I have lived it since 1932 and John Dingell (D-MI) has done so since 1928. Not only were we both aware of the events of 1964 as adult men but he was a member of congress from Michigan’s 15th district and had been since 1955. When his father, John, Sr. died he was appointed to the open seat.

In an interview on XM radio yesterday morning with Ed Schultz he said the current protests against the health care issue reminded him of the protests to the Civil Right Act in the sixties. He compared the current protestors to the KKK and white supremacists.

He should know. He was one of those in the party which led those protests. The persons who mounted the strongest attacks against the Civil Rights initiative were members of the Democrat party. If anyone was in league with the KKK and white supremacists then, it would have been the very persons who now identify opposition against health care in the hands of the government as Nazis and “a mob.”

Few will object to this mis-characterization of actual facts at the time because with the condition of our school system—a government controlled enterprise—history, if taught at all, has been cleansed of adverse reportage of actual facts which cast a detrimental light on anything with a liberal bent. Lacking conservative Republican support in both chambers of the congress, the Civil Rights Act would have died aborning. Does 54 years in the House of Representatives give a man the right to participate in an outright lie?

For those who were absent the day they discussed civil rights legislation in history class, asleep, or badly mis-informed, here is a brief summary of some of the congressional figures who were the principal players. Howard W. Smith (D-VA) was chairman of House Rules Committee who blocked the pending legislation for consideration by the body. Sen. James Eastland (D-MS) was chairman of the Judiciary Committee who blocked forwarding of the bill. Richard Russell (D-GA) led the initial filibuster of the legislation. Robert Byrd (D-WV), yes, the same one who is an admitted ex-Klansman, mounted a Senate filibuster for 14 hours and 13 minutes. Although not directly involved in the legislative blocking, do you remember the name Gov. Orville Faubus (D-AL)? Since when did either the word conservative or Republican start with the letter "D"?

Prior to this date the Congressional Quarterly reported: "Although the Democratic-controlled Congress watered them down, the Administration's (ED: Dwight David Eisenhower “R”) recommendations resulted in significant and effective civil rights legislation in both 1957 and 1960 - the first civil rights statutes to be passed in more than 80 years" ("The Republican Party 1960 Civil Rights Platform," May 1964). It reported on April 5, 1963 that, " A group of eight Republican senators in March joined in introducing a series of 12 civil rights bills that would implement many of the recommendations made in the Civil Rights Commission report of 1961." This is a non-partisan document reporting the actual history of part of the civil rights movement.

When the bill finally struggled to the floor of both houses, we have the following quote: “The Congressional Quarterly of June 26, 1964 (p. 1323) recorded that, in the Senate, only 69% of Democrats (46 for, 21 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act as compared to 82% of Republicans (27 for, 6 against). All southern Democratic senators voted against the Act. This includes the current senator from West Virginia and former KKK member Robert C. Byrd and former Tennessee senator Al Gore, Sr. (the father of Bill Bradley's Democratic opponent). Surely young Bradley must have flunked his internship because ostensibly he did not learn that the Act's primary opposition came from the southern Democrats' 74-day filibuster.” (Emphasis added)

Leading up to the introduction and subsequent passage of the legislation here are a few extracts from witnesses before the committee—from the Congressional Quarterly, 1963: 344-46:

Rep. Joe D. Waggonner Jr. (D-LA) said "without apology" that he believed "it is neither illegal nor immoral to prefer the peaceful and orderly separation of the races, without discrimination or rancor of any kind," and said "pure equality is Communism."

Rep. Albert W. Watson (D-SC) said "The racial problem is preeminently a Southern problem; in the South it can only be solved by Southern people, both white and Negro. Legislation by an only slightly familiar Federal Government can only inflame an already very difficult situation."

Lt. Gov. C.C. Aycock (D-LA) said the proposed bills "ignore the civil rights and civil liberties of homeowners, businessmen, professional men, and all persons other than the minorities who are sought to be protected…. The central government just does not have the constitutional authority to dictate to the individual citizen the persons with whom he must associate or the manner in which he must use his property, or what individuals he can or cannot serve in his place of business."

It is often told to children that they should “respect” their elders. I disagree! Respect is not granted, awarded, conferred, entitled nor should it be purchased. It is only valid when it is earned. To fabricate from whole cloth a myth of an anti-civil rights culture as you and your cronies in the Democrat party have done to the Republican party in the face of your bigotry and trampling of the right of other races is unconscionable. In the current mess we face, shame is common sir, but, you have earned it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

(Much of the research for this post is taken from R.D. Davis’ 1999 post on the Project 21 website.)

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