Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The hidden racist history of the Democratic Party

Bruce Bartlett has a new book coming out called "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past." Last week at Opinion Journal he culled a number of quotes from the book to show that Democrats have displayed antipathy towards minorities since the party's founding. I bring this up because it is of much interest to me. I don't think that his examples prove that Democrats have cornered the market on racism over this country's history-quite the contrary in fact. I'm fairly certain that a similar list could be made about Republicans. I do think that Bartlett's piece is important, though, because Democrats have done a masterful job of propagandizing and painting themselves the party of the little guy, the poor, and minorities when they are no such thing. In fact, the original Democrat, the man who they based this off of, Andrew Jackson, was perhaps the most strident enemy of American Indians of any president. Unfortunately, all too many people swallow the marketing of political parties hook, line, and sinker. This is more true right now on the left because the Democrats have won the battle of 'hero of the little guy,' something that is very appealing to Americans.

Up to my last year of college, I bought into the Democratic party's marketing and PR. It wasn't until I wrote a 30 page paper on the spear fishing issue in Wisconsin that it became apparent to me that maybe the Democrats' mirage wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I expected nice black and white lines between the two parties, and Tommy Thompson certainly fit what I expected from Republicans. Democrat Dave Obey, however, did not. Going through my research, I learned that Democrat Dave was no friend of the Chippewa that were fighting for their treaty rights in his district. That's what snapped me to attention. That's what got me questioning all of the political assumptions that I had to that point in my life.

During that period of my life, I developed a personal working theory on politics. Party politics is how things get done in this country, like it or not. Therefore, if you actually want to be part of the process, you'll get farther as part of a party. So you select the party that aligns most closely with your personal philosophies and values. For me, that was the conservative portion of the Republican party, hands down. That does not mean that the party is your friend, nor does it mean that everyone in the party is going to agree with you because you identify with it. This is especially true for minorities. Minorities throw their lot in with the Democrats, and for that the Democratic party neglects them and takes their votes for granted. They would be much better off if they asked the individual candidates questions that help them determine if that individual will represent their interests best. If they did, they'd find that a straight Democratic ticket is rarely in their best interests. Why? Because the Democratic party is not the utopia of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance that it so effectively portrays itself to be.

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