Larry Horist calls 'em like he sees 'em
Larry Horist calls 'em like he sees 'em

For several years, Republican administrations in the south have been methodically removing the symbols of Democratic Party racism from places of honor and celebration and relocating them to places where they can be viewed in a less laudatory historic perspective.  Unfortunately, President Trump has allowed the Democrats to snatch the ball from the GOP team, and in the process, enabled them to further malign the party of Lincoln with their grossly false narrative on civil rights.  

In attempting to reach into the black community, Trump suffers from a salesman’s worst failings.  He does not understand the product.  He does not understand the market.  He does not understand how to communicate the message – a problem that has plagued the GOP for decades.   When I see Trump’s pugnacious outbursts, I am reminded of what President Nixon said as his presidency collapsed.  “They stabbed us in the back, but we gave them the knife.”  Trump seems to be determined to provide a constant supply of cutlery.

The Charlottesville tragedy-turned-fiasco offered an opportunity to set the record straight on racism in America.  He could have seized the high ground and at the same time pushed back on the Democrats’ false narrative of civil rights advocacy.  But he blew it.  Even worse, the President provided an opportunity for the Democratic Party and their allies in the media to renew and reinforce their bogus claim of being the champions of civil rights.  

Since the black conversion from Republican to Democrat during the Great Depression, America has lived with a politically motivated false narrative – a narrative that despite insurmountable evidence claimed that the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, was the advocate of civil rights.  That was not true during the days of slavery.  It was not true during the days of unconstitutional and illegal Democrat segregation.  It is not true to this day in those great urban centers ruled over by racist Democrat regimes.

Democrats are more than willing to preserve their largely undeserved reputation as advocates of civil rights by again undertaking symbolic gestures and paying lip services to a belief that does not reflect their history or their contemporary responsibility for the institutional de facto racism that is rampant in our major cities today.  In an effort to preserve the false narrative, Democrats are now calling for the eradication of their own unique and infamous history as reflected in the statues and monuments of their political ancestors that they so proudly erected throughout America.  

In hypocritical irony, today’s Democrats focus on their Confederate ancestors as a means of distracting from the de facto institutional racism they sponsor in our cities. Key to this national deception has been the partisan propaganda support they continue to receive from the public media, academia, and the entertainment world.

But why stop with the Confederacy?  The Democrats may one day regret having step upon this slippery slope.  Already, black students at Princeton University have protested the symbols honoring the overtly racist Democrat Woodrow Wilson.   It is no small irony that the left gathers at a think tank named in honor of this staunch white supremacist.  

A close examination of even the revered Franklin Roosevelt might result in calls to topple his many clay-footed statues.  In yet another irony, Hillary Clinton proudly launched her doomed presidential campaign in a public park named after the New Deal president.

Democrats speak in reverent tones about Justice Hugo Black, who was, in fact, a southern KKK member who helped FDR create a New Deal designed to push blacks out of jobs for the benefit of out-of-work whites. 

Will the Democrats call for the demotion of the more modern racists in their pantheon of political heroes?  They talk about the hundreds of statues and monuments honoring Confederate leaders, but what about the hundreds of thousands of honors bestowed on thousands of Democrat racists. Should the ship named after Democrat racist Senator John Stennis be recommissioned?  What about all those Democrat members of Congress who signed the Southern Manifesto in the 1960s to launch the Massive Resistance Movement against school integration – and as a show if defiance installed those Confederate battle flags atop the state capitols?  And what about the longest serving KKK organizer, Democrat Robert Byrd, who left the Senate in 2010.

And what about President Andrew Jackson?  Perhaps the most personally violent white supremacist ever to hold the Oval Office.  Yet, for more than 100 years, he has been celebrated as the founder of the modern Democratic Party -- a most appropriate accreditation, by the way.  While most Republicans attend an annual Lincoln Day Dinner, Democrats have historically dined at Jackson Day dinners.  

In my home town of Chicago, Jackson Boulevard is a main thoroughfare that runs through the heart of the Windy City’s south side black ghetto. He is memorialized not only in one of the larger parks, but one that serves mostly the inner city.  That park will soon be adjacent to the massive Obama Presidential Library.  A major city in my new home in Florida is Jacksonville -- named after the man who personally slaughtered or marched so many of the state’s original inhabitants to their deaths.  In the spirit of the times, should the city council be considering a name change?

As a conservative Republican with a strong and active dedication to real civil rights, I expressed my enthusiastic support for the removal of Jackson from our currency and the replacement with Republican abolitionist Harriet Tubman.  We might even replace the statues of racist Democrats with those of black Republican abolitionists, including Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and David Walker.

The Republican Party, true to its historical traditions, could have and should have led the national movement to relocate these monuments as a learning experience, putting on the public record the true history of the two major political parties in terms of institutional racism.  The GOP could have cast the bright light of public awareness on the remnants of Democrat oppression of the black population that exist in our cities and some southern counties to this day.

Americans should understand how, with malice of forethought, the Democratic Party changed the definition of civil rights from those inalienable rights articulated in the United States Constitution to a faux civil right of generational welfare dependency.

In many ways, the rights denied by endemic de facto racist policies of the big city Democrat political machines are remarkably similar to the deprived rights during the eras of slavery and de jure segregation in the once “solid Democrat south.”  Those trapped in the segregated inner cities are denied access to education, equal justice under the law, decent housing, jobs, municipal services and public safety.  They are denied access to the same opportunities that enabled later immigrant groups to assimilate and succeed. These fundamental constitutional rights are traded away for the “benefits” of a welfare system that provides little more than survival level sustenance.  It is allegorically the iconic prisoners’ meal of bread and water.  

The plight of blacks in our inner cities is not an unsolvable problem, an unanticipated outcome of well-meaning policies or the result of widespread racism among the white community.  It is the result of malicious government policies designed to maintain power for one-party political machines through subjugation.  

Trump often articulated the need to address the problems of the inner cities and their minority populations.  He used federal authority to deal with the high crime rate.  He provided additional funding to ensure access to quality education. He had the platform, the power of factual history, and a market ready to hear the truth – but he blew it.

The first sign that he and his advisors were clueless in how to reach the black community was when Trump paid homage to Andrew Jackson.  Trump placed the portrait of Jackson in a place of honor in the Oval Office and a statue of the 7th president on the credenza behind his desk.  He visited the grave site as a personal pilgrimage.  While Trump may have only seen the tough populist president depicted in our children’s history, he was unwittingly paying homage to the hero of the historic Democratic Party and the white supremacist movement it birthed and nurtured for more than a century.

The factual history of America puts the Republican Party as the constant voice of racial equality and the Democratic Party as the oppressor of black rights.  Every civil rights victory throughout American history was achieved by significant support from Republicans most often over the opposition of Democrats. This was true of the modern era of civil rights that began, not in 1964 as is widely believed, but with the Eisenhower civil rights acts of 1957 and 1960.  Those acts, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act drafted and introduced by a conservative Republican senator, were all enacted over Democrat opposition and filibusters thanks to overwhelming support by congressional Republicans.

Trump fumbled the ball.  He provided an opportunity for the Democrats to again proffer a false narrative of civil rights advocacy – and to again hide their racist policies behind a smoke screen of symbolic gestures and empty rhetoric.

As a nation, we can readily distinguish between locations that suggest honor and those that reflect a darker history worthy of remembering.  It is time to remove the honors that have been inappropriately bestowed on undeserving historical figures.  We should be engaged in the oft requested dialogue on race.  It is a dialogue that cannot be limited, however, to the left wing’s simplistic, self-serving and intellectually vacuous version that “whites are bigoted, so what can we do about it?” 

Republicans urged President Obama to call out Islamic terrorism by its name.  Democrats fault President Trump for not initially calling out white supremacism by its name.  In that spirit, it is time to call out urban de facto racism by its name.

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in public policy and political issues. He has had deep involvement in all aspects of inner city life, including education, criminal justice, housing and economic development.  He has just completed a manuscript for a book on the history of racism in America.  He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.


Audience Index: 0