How Trump surrendered the ‘statues’ and the race issue to Democrats
Back in 2017, I wrote a commentary headlined “Trump blew it.” The “it” was a strategy that would have put the Democratic Party in a well-deserved box on the race issue. Instead, Trump fumbled – turning the ball over to the other team. The Republican Party has not been able to recover the lead on the race issues since – as Trump continues to fumble whenever events toss the racial ball to him.
Trump had an opportunity to lead a national education campaign to the REAL history of racism in America – from the days of slavery to the reality of the remnants of institutional systematic racism in America’s major segregated cities. When examining those responsible, the shocking truth is that it is virtually exclusively the Democratic Party that was totally in control of the old south and remains in almost total control of our segregated cities.
What prompted my concern in 2017 was Trump’s ceremoniously hanging the portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office and paying a homage visit to Old Hickory’s grave in Tennessee.
Jackson was a strident white supremacist and one of the most brutal of the slave-owning presidents – taking pleasure in personally whipping his slaves. He was a fierce Indian fighter and arguably a murderer due to his summarily killing Native Americans. He was also the authority behind Indian relocation that led to the “Trail of Tears.”
Trump’s visit to the Jackson memorial was at a time there was a push to remove Jackson from the $20 bill to be replaced by Harriet Tubman – the famed REPUBLICAN abolitionist. Every Republican should applaud that change – and Trump should push for it.
What evolved out of Trump’s honoring of Jackson has been the false narrative of racism in America that we see being set forth by the Democratic Party and the biased and compliant media.
It was just four years ago when removing Confederate statues and flags from places of honor was a REPUBLICAN issue. It was not being pursued by violence and vandalism – but by policy and legislation.
To understand the history of those statues and Confederate battle flags seen throughout the south, you need to know that they were not all historic remnants from the post-civil war era. In fact, during the Reconstruction period – when Republicans controlled the south — the symbols of the Confederacy were nowhere to be found. It was not until the Democratic Party violently seized control of the south in 1877 that the personalities and symbols of the Confederacy were first elevated to places of honor in the south.
Among Twentieth Century honorees was Democrat Senator “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, whose statue was erected on the grounds of the Capitol Building in South Carolina. Tillman gained fame for murdering four black U.S. militiamen in cold blood – and bragging about it throughout his political career.
But the major push for Confederate symbolism – as a show of defiance against black civil rights – came in the 1960s, when the powerful southern Democrats fought against integration and voting rights. Many of the most powerful leaders of the Democratic Party signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition to school desegregation and — as an act of defiance – incorporated the Confederate battle flags as part of many of the southern states’ official banners. Those actions were taken by Democrats – many of whom are still alive today.
It was only after Republicans won southern governorships and majorities in the state legislatures that those flags were being removed from the places of honor. Confederate statues were being officially removed from places of honor to be stored or displayed as museum pieces. It is certainly beneficial to see the historic and educational value in recalling the leaders and symbols of the Confederacy – but not to honor them. The statues did not need to be destroyed.
Rather than honor Jackson, Trump should have challenged Democrats to repudiate the honoring of all those past Democrats depicted in those statues. He should have called upon democrats to change the names of their traditional annual Jackson Day Dinners.
Trump should have reminded America that the Democrat elitists gather at the Woodrow Wilson Center – named after the Twentieth Century’s white supremacist President. Trump could have used his enormous communication platform to set the record straight about Franklin Roosevelt – another white supremacist – and his highly racist New Deal. The NAACP referred to FDR’s National Recovery Act (NRA) as the “Negro Riddance Act.”
And Trump could have made the case against today’s Democrat leadership that presides over the remnants of institutional and systemic racism in America in our major cities – where millions of black Americans live – and have lived for generations – in segregated and impoverished communities.
As I wrote in yet another commentary, America is not a racist nation – but systemic racism does still occur in the long-held Democrat cities where oppressed and frustrated blacks have risen up to protest and riot REPEATEDLY over the past 150 years.
Trump could have led a national “learning moment” that would have pushed back on the false narratives and historic misconceptions that permeate today’s political culture. He could have pointed to the fact that it was the Republican Party that championed civil rights in the 1960s over the filibuster and votes of congressional Democrats – including Lyndon Johnson and Jack Kennedy.
Trump’s failure to seize the opportunity to continue the Republican Party’s consistent support for equal rights has given Democrats and the corrupt press the opportunity to advance their completely false narrative regarding the extent and causes of racism in America – and conceal those most responsible where it does exist. The Democratic Party.
Trump still has time to make that case – if only he knew how to do it. So far, he has not demonstrated that he can. And that is a real pity – for blacks, Republicans and the truth.
So, there ‘tis.