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HORIST: Martin, we hardly knew you

HORIST: Martin, we hardly knew you

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we engage in a practice that the great civil rights leader may not appreciate.  King was both a pragmatist and a man of high moral principles.  His entire life was dedicated to pushing aside a widely accepted false narrative to expose fundamental truth.  And yet, we celebrate his life largely on a false political narrative – one of the most mendacious false narratives in American history.

The narrative stems from the fact that King is a national hero – and especially for the black community.  The black community is predominantly Democrat – ergo King is a Democrat hero.  Many believe he was adversarial to the Republican Party and vice versa.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

King correctly saw the opposition to civil rights was founded in the Democratic Party.  Until Barry Goldwater voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, King was a Republican.  The targets of his crusades were against institutional racism in the segregated states of the Old Confederacy, where his racist enemies had names: George Wallace, Lurleen Wallace, Harry Byrd, Robert Byrd, Richard Russell, Ross Barnett, John Stennis, Earl Long, Lester Maddox, “Bull” Conner, Orval Faubus, James Eastland, Herman Talmadge, George Smathers and thousands of other officeholders.  They were all powerful Democrats.

(If you are young and white, those names may not be known to you. But if  you research the horrors and racial violence of the first half of the 20th Century, these are the names that will live in infamy.)

King well recognized that institutional racism was not confined to the solid Democrat southland.  It had been an iconic feature of the major northern cities for decades.  One of the most racist cities in America was also the one with the longest empowered Democrat political machine – Chicago.  It was the reason he made the Windy City his first northern crusade.  The violent reaction to his presence caused King to say that “I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I’ve seen here in Chicago.”

Because it does not fit the Democratic Party narrative, the civil rights acts of 1957 and 1960 passed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and congressional Republicans over the opposition of southern Democrats – including Lyndon Johnson — and a few from the northern Democrats – including Jack Kennedy.

Many black homes of the era hung framed side-by-side images of King and Kennedy implying that they were mutual heroes of civil rights when, in fact, King had a very low regard for Jack.  King was an admirer of Bobby Kennedy, who was far more supportive of civil rights than his older brother.

Leading into the 1960s civil rights era, King’s closest ally in Washington was Vice President Richard Nixon.  They had worked closely together to secure the passage of the 1957 and 1960 civil rights acts.  That relationship was memorialized in a letter from King to Nixon in August of 1957 in which the civil rights leader recommended passage of the civil rights bill even though it had been watered down by Democrats – again Johnson and Kennedy.  In it, King wrote:

Let me say before closing how deeply grateful all people of goodwill are to you for your assiduous labor and dauntless courage in seeking to make the Civil Rights Bill a reality. This has impressed people all across the country, both Negro and white. This is certainly an expression of your devotion to the highest mandates of the moral law. It is also an expression of your political wisdom. More and more the Negro vote is becoming a decisive factor in national politics.

King closed:

“Again, let me thank you for your hospitality and generosity. You have my prayers and best wishes for the great work that you are doing in making our democracy a living reality. With persons like you occupying such important positions in our nation, I am sure that we will soon emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice for all men.  Please extend my best regards to Mrs. Nixon and our other friends around the White House.”

While King was deeply disappointed in Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 civil rights bill, he maintained his working relationship with Nixon and such key Republicans as Senator Everett Dirksen, who authored and introduced the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Dirksen has previously led the Republicans in the Senate to the first ever defeat of a  Democrat filibuster of a civil right bill.  The 1964 legislation would have gone down to defeat if it were not for the overwhelming support it received by Republicans in the Senate and House – over strong Democrat opposition.

King was a staunch supporter of Nixon leading into the 1968 presidential election.  It was driven by both a longstanding personal friendship and the prospect of affirmative action legislation and increased funding for minority enterprises – two of Nixon’s key policies.

Though Democrat president praised King posthumously, they did not act to celebrate his life with a national holiday.  That was left to Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Following the assassination, his closest ally and confidant, Ralph Abernathy took over King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  He also remained a Republican in a country where virtually all institutional racism existed under powerful Democrat regimes.   King’s niece, Alveda King, continues the crusade for social justice as a dedicated Republican.

One can only wonder what King would think and do if he were alive today.  As a person who has studied his life, I think he would be actively protesting against the institutional racism that dominates our big cities today.  And he would not hesitate to call out the Democrat leadership in cities where de facto racism has kept too many of his people segregated, oppressed, impoverished, uneducated and unsafe.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. John

    That is true history the demoncrats are in fact the founders of the kkk. But that’s not what they claim. They will flat out lie to your face. They are the most communist people you will ever know and if you don’t believe what they believe they want nothing to do with you. They act like a bounch of little kids. They are evil and their ideology’s are nothing but pure evil. This country finally has a President that is doing for all of We The People black people white people people of all walks they just need to wake up and not be deceived by the news outlets. Trump is not a racist neither are a lot of Americans. It doesn’t matter the color of our skin we are all brothers and sisters and created the same we all are GODS children. The thing is everyone is letting the devil win he is why we have so much hate going on right now. The demoncrats are owned by the devil himself. This country was founded by GOD. But please do your home work on Martin Luther King. He was a good man. And do the history on who ended slavery it wasn’t the Democratic Party do the research for yourself and get to know real history.

  2. David Woodstein

    What the Republicans need to get there Seneters to call the President tell hem to go on CALL A National Emergency get the Funds the he can and start building the Wall and start the Core of Engineers to start giving out Contracts to start Building the WALL and send more Troops to the Border to protect the Border Patrol And Construction Workers from all the Caravans so thay do not Rush the Border and hurt or kill them. With this New bunch of Illinois coming and the ones that are still hear and the New ones forming in South America ther will be about 5.000 illigels in Mexico. And Mexico is not doing anything to stop them it’s like thay want to let them Rush the Border and over whelm the people who are trying to protect us. Maby we need the armed forces to us force to protect the Border Patrol Nd workers at the Border.

  3. Polly Dingman

    The results of your polls are absolutely fiction – do you take pride in spreading this false narrative? What is your incentive?
    Ive been a conservative for all my 46 voting years, but I wonder if you have read the platform of being a Republican? The views and beliefs that I still believe would never suggest any that do not support all people – you know, the ones that the constitution was written to protect, the same people that fund the government.
    You are promoting propaganda and have no business calling yourself an American. I wonder what country you call home.

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