The Carbon County Republicans (the people who’ve brought the Montana Legislature Jason Priest and David Howard) really want people to understand that their opposition to President Obama has nothing to do with his race, despite a fixation on his skin color that wouldn’t be out of place in a Klan rally.
In a newsletter promoting their upcoming Lincoln-Reagan dinner, they quote a letter from one Lloyd Marcus, attacking President Obama and attacking those who have the temerity to suggest that the TEA Party movement might just be racist.
Why would anyone believe that?
One of the passages from the letter, which nicely captures the tone of the entire piece, follows:
They offered America a modern day Trojan Horse, a beautifully crafted golden shiny new black man as a presidential candidate. Democrat Joe Biden lorded Obama as the first clean and articulate African American candidate. Democrat Harry Reid said Obama only uses a black dialect when he wants.
White America relished the opportunity to vote for a black man naively believing they would never suffer the pain of being called racist again. Black Americans viewed casting their vote for Obama as the ultimate Affirmative Action for America’s sins of the past.
The entirely non-racist letter continues:
No white president could get away with boldly and arrogantly thwarting the will of the American people and ignoring laws. President Clinton tried universal health care. Bush tried social security reform. The American people said “no” to both president’s proposals and it was the end of it. So how can Obama get away with giving the American people the finger? The answer. He is black.
In other words, being an African-American didn’t present unique challenges to President Obama; being “black” actually works to his advantage. To argue that an African-American, born in the 1960s and living to today, has benefited more than suffered because of his race, ignores the legacy of racist attitudes and institutions than still exist in American life, not to mention the racist uttering from the TEA Party itself.
Carbon County Republicans want us to believe that the Republican Party, their Republican Party, represents the interests of African-Americans today. Their only evidence, of course, ends with Republican efforts during the Civil War. I’d even give Republican credit for the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s (something most modern conservatives would have and do oppose), but to argue that Republicans are the party best aligned with the interests of African-Americans and civil rights demands ignoring history and contemporary policy.
Even a TEA Party sociologist should know that African-American voters, who began to vote Democratic with FDR, shifted radically to the Democratic Party in 1964, when the Democrats became the party of civil rights and the Republicans became the party of Reagan-Goldwater opposition to the civil rights movement.
In their deep commitment to their kind of anti-racism, the Carbon County GOP is also planning to “honor” noted American abolitionist Frederick Douglass at their annual Lincoln/Reagan Dinner. Douglass was undoubtedly a Republican in the 1850s and 1860s, but to suggest that this man who devoted his life to ending segregation, granting the vote to African-Americans, criticizing the abuses of the states rights movement, and humanizing capitalism, would vote Republican, much less attend a gathering of the Carbon County GOP is more than absurd; it’s an affront to his memory.