Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Radical Right Doesn't Understand Civil Rights

When I woke up this morning to see this link on Twitter from Media Matters about Limbaugh's comments on John Lewis and the Civil Rights march to Selma, AL, it dawned on me that I have left the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and other hard right pundits behind along with Fox News.  Unfortunately, I have also left today's Republican Party behind with their racist attitudes and putting Party over Country time and time again.   Just haven't made it official by changing registration, but today's Republican Party is not my party as I don't even recognize it today.

A lot of Republicans are going through the same withdrawal from the Party we have always known.  For any thinking person to still be following Rush or other hard right mouthpieces makes one wonder.  He doesn't get it.  He has absolutely no clue what the Civil Rights effort was all about.  Martin Luther King was all about non-violence yet the people behind the NRA said he would have been against gun control.  Huh?  That defies belief since he was assassinated by someone with a gun and always preached non-violence.  It is also an insult to our intelligence just like Limbaugh.

His remarks yesterday on the even of the weekend celebrating Dr. King were stupid and irrational even for him as we learn from Media Matters:
Earlier on Friday, Limbaugh had asked on his radio show, 
"If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?" He continued, "If John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?" (my bold)
Responding to Limbaugh today, Lewis said in a full press release:

In an effort to encourage people to resist new gun control legislation, a statement was made on The Rush Limbaugh Show today which misrepresents Civil Rights Movement history.  In the shadow of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, in the year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in August, and a little more than a month before the annual celebration of the events in Selma, Rep. John Lewis was glad to address this inaccuracy. (my bold)
"Our goal in the Civil Rights Movement was not to injure or destroy but to build a sense of community, to reconcile people to the true oneness of all humanity," said Rep. John Lewis.  "African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to.  We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence.  Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means.  We took a stand against an unjust system, and we decided to use this faith as our shield and the power of compassion as our defense.
"And that is why this nation celebrates the genius and the elegance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s work and philosophy.  Through the power of non-violent action, Dr. King accomplished something that no movement, no action of government, no war, no legislation, or strategy of politics had ever achieved in this nation's history.  It was non-violence that not only brought an end to legalized segregation and racial discrimination, but Dr. King's peaceful work changed the hearts of millions of Americans who stood up for justice and rejected the injury of violence forever."
On March 7, 1965, 600 peaceful nonviolent Civil Rights workers attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in Alabama.  The march was led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams.  They were met on the Edmund Pettus Bridge by Alabama state troopers who beat the unarmed marchers.  Lewis suffered a concussion on the bridge.  A few days after the march President Lyndon Johnson introduced a bill to the Congress which became the Voting Rights Act of 1965, described as one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has issued in the past 50 years.  An important section of the Voting Rights Act is currently in jeopardy and will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in February.  
I cannot fathom the fear that went through those 600 marchers that day in March 1965.  All they wanted was to be treated like equals according to the Constitution.  It should not have been an issue but especially in the south, blacks were considered inferior and had no right to vote in the minds of the white southern males.  When Pres Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, I figured it was the end of it, but I was wrong.  That same attitude permeates parts of the South today as we are seeing with the rise of the white supremacy movement, John Birchers, Minuteman, and other racist groups.

It is an attitude that I find disgusting but saw it up close and personal.  When my kids and I were going back to Ohio to visit my parents from Texas, we stopped in Jackson, MS, at a Shoney's for breakfast.  We were given seats in an area with all blacks which frankly didn't bother me but found it strange, they were all put in one room when there were plenty of tables in the main part of the restaurant.  Finally was told it was my accent as they could tell I wasn't from around there.  So if you are not a Southerner, they put you with the blacks.  It was fine with me because they were very friendly but it has stayed with me.

It reinforced what I thought of Mississippi from when we were transferred Ohio to TX, we spent the night in a hotel in Jackson, MS.  My husband and I were having a conversation with the woman who had brought us the cot on where would be a good place to eat when the assistant manager stopped the conversation and asked us to come down the hall.  We were informed by him that we were not to talk to black employees.  My jaw must have hit the floor and my husband said in a not very nice way, "What do you mean?" and the manager took one look at my husband and said he was sorry - ignore what he said.  Anyone who knew my husband, knows that was not the end of it.  We ended up getting a free room before it was over but it never took the bad taste out of my mouth.

Often wondered if that mean, obnoxious man fired the employee even though my husband told him if he heard she was fired, he would have his job next.  We were on Government PCS orders which meant we were to report anything wrong where we stayed or ate so they could warn others.  I am sure Holiday Inn management did not like my husband's letter, a copy of which went to the main travel office for the Command.

In 2012 we had voter suppression at the hands of the Republican Party in mostly minority areas in order to elect Mitt Romney.  In Florida they cut the number of early voting days so people had to stand in line for hours -- same thing happened in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It didn't deter minority voters who came out in huge numbers as their votes were not going to be denied.  Next month the Supreme Court will decide if that 1965 Voting Rights Act still needs enforced in some places in the South.  If they use what Republicans did in the last election, the answer would be a resounding 'YES' we still need the law.  It shouldn't be that way after all these years.  The very people that wrap themselves in the Constitution are the ones who want to deny equal rights to non-white males.  Women are to be seen not heard in today's Republican Party as they continue to try and pass legislation against women's rights.

We also need a federal law against gerrymandering that Republicans brag about they instituted for the 2012 election to win them the House.  When you compare House Districts from before 2012 to the map of 2012, you are shocked in places like Pennsylvania but then their leader of the House declared they had just passed a law on voter ID that would win Romney the election.  That bill affected black voters in Philadelphia who had been voting at the same precinct for over 40 years and almost couldn't vote until some common sense people stepped in.  Now the RNC Chair Priebus and some State Chairs/legislatures want to change the way electors are counted so a Republican can get elected President because doing it the way it has been done for years is bad for Republicans.  I don't recognize this Republican Party and would leave it today if I had a party to go to but here in Oklahoma, the Democrat Party is poorly run.

As the Republican Party has gone far to the hard right, common sense has been thrown out the window.  The fact that the GOP still supports pundits like Limbaugh, Hannirty, or Fox News says all you need to know.  They send their minions around to attack people on website comments, twitter, and recently the Koch Tea Party types who carry out their orders have been claiming spam from blogs that dare go against the NRA/GOP.  I know as I have personal experience with a sister blog, Democrats and Republicans for Sale that was hosted here in Blogspot.  More on that in the days ahead.

I haven't changed my views but the Republican Party controlled by the Koch Brothers and wealthy donors certainly has.  When the House needs a retreat to learn how to talk to women telling House Members not to use the word 'rape' insults my intelligence when that same group supports the Personhood Bill that gives rapist a right to stop an abortion by his victim.  GOP had a panel with no minorities on how to attract minorities in a southern mansion that was owned at one time by a slave owner which made it all for show.

Very few honest people left in the Republican caucus in Congress -- they want members to spend four hours a day fundraising on our nickle as taxpayers during a 3-day work week.  It is an insult to every taxpayer what is being done in the Republican controlled House.  In the Senate the Democrats have weak kneed Harry Reid who is afraid to push real filibuster reform to return the filibuster back to where you have to actually talk.  Where does this leave the taxpayers?  Out in the cold as the do nothing Congress looks on its way to continue to do nothing except now the Republican Party wants to dress up what they say to be more likable.  NOTE to GOP:  It is not going to work.

People need to think long and hard because Republicans are the party of Sheriff's around the Country saying they won't enforce federal law, an organization who holds "Gun Appreciation Day" on the weekend we celebrate Martin Luther King Day who originally had a white supremacist as a co-sponsor, members of Congress and former GOP Governors calling President Obama a tyrant, Hitler, Chavez, lazy, un-American among other things, and to top it all off, it is the Party of a group of House/Senate/Consultants who met on the night of the last Inauguration to plan on how they were going to stop the Obama agenda and not work with the new President which I consider scandalous.

If you stand for honesty and integrity with common sense, the Republican Party today is telling you to get lost.  The 'my way or no way' of the GOP hard right with the help of the Koch Brothers and other wealthy donors have officially taken over and moved the Party way to the right.  The father of the Koch Brothers who help found the John Birch Society would have been proud of his sons as they have paid back the center right Reagan Republicans for ousting the John Birchers from the Republican Party.

Where do Teddy Roosevelt/Eisenhower/Reagan Republicans go?  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

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