When history is inconvenient, rewrite it

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The above is an actual quote by Heritage Foundation president and Teabagger extraordinaire Jim DeMint, formerly of the Senate until he found a way to make more money off the rubes principled conservatives.

Yes, the slaves were eventually freed because, according to DeMint's conflation of history, it was in the Constitution that "all men are created equal and have inalienable rights". They were also freed due to the efforts of William Wilberforce, noted English anti-slavery campaigner, who just happened to die in 1833, thirty years before the Emancipation Proclamation and the `13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Government had no role in the freeing of the slaves. It was all people power!

But, wait, why did we need amendments to the Constitution if the freedom of slaves was in it from the start? Because, of course, nothing of the kind was in the Constitution. Slavery was allowed to continue, and the slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of the census. I'm sure they were very glad to know that not only were they not full human beings under the Constitution, but that even that diminution of their humanity allowed slave states to have an outsized influence in Congress, since those slaves counted towards apportionment of House seats.

The fact is that history doesn't look too kindly on the successors to those slave holders. They are, rather correctly, excoriated.

But human beings are funny creatures. When faced with new facts—and thus having to change their thought processes to conform to new information—many people instead choose to continue in their previous belief systems; to do so, however, they have to twist existing knowledge into such baroque shapes to give themselves comfort that any outsider is at a loss as to how to respond to such obvious idiocy.

Thus, one is wont to hear that Democrats are the true racists, as most Klansmen in the Deep South were Democrats.

Of course, this is a historical fact. The Democratic Party in the South was the party of racism and Jim Crow. There is no escaping that, and we shouldn't whitewash that history.

But, Republican historical amnesia seems to begin around the early 1960s. Some tweets from Josh Marshall are illustrative, centering around the crowing that won't die from Republicans that Jackie Robinson was one of them.

Yes, the Democratic Party, at least its southern franchise, was the party of racism and Jim Crow. Until, after much work, it wasn't. The inconvenient truth which the modern GOP wishes to gloss over is the fact that after civil rights for African-Americans became a major plank of the Democratic Party, those southern Democrats began defecting in droves to the Republicans. At first, they kept on voting Democratic locally while giving more and more of their votes to the GOP nationally. But, by the 1980s, even that pretense was gone, and whole swathes of the South turned Republican for the first time since the 1870s, when freed slaves for a brief shining moment held political power.

Yes, Jackie Robinson was Republican. Until he wasn't. Until he saw that the Party of Lincoln was turning into the Party of Thurmond.

And, about Lincoln. If seances were real and one could commune with the dead, what would Abe think of the party he propelled onto the national stage?

Hagiography aside, we have to remember that Lincoln averred that if he could save the Union while keeping slavery, he would have done it. Fortunately, he was wise enough to realize that it was either Union or slavery; the two had become absolutely incompatible.

But now his party engages in "voter fraud reform", which the Florida Republican Party admitted was nothing but an attempt to suppress the vote. The GOP nationwide is on a crusade to neuter the 14th Amendment, purging voter rolls under the guise of combating fraud.

The party which freed the slaves now engages in the most blatant dog-whistles. When Ronald Reagan, in the 1980 election, trumpeted that "the South will rise again", he wasn't speaking of the New South which so many people had hope in, but of the ante-bellum, anti-civil rights, Negroes know their place South. The picture of Willie Horton which Lee Atwater plastered over our TV screens in 1988 as Poppy Bush sailed to election was not done out of a judicious concern over crime. Of course not. The message was "If you elect Dukakis, blacks are going to rape your white daughters."

Lincoln's party now openly flirts with secession. The party formed to hold the Union together wants to tear it apart, because someone named Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

Lincoln is nothing but a totem to Republicans, to be trotted out occasionally to harangue African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party. "We freed you ingrates; why do you hate us so?" But Lincoln's wisdom, Lincoln's compassion, Lincoln's humanity long ago fled the GOP, lost in a pact with the devil for power.

Those pacts, though, often have a way of being the seed of one's demise. Having so intimately thrown their lot with white rage, the GOP is completely unprepared for the demographic wave occurring right his moment. With all its vitriol and money, it couldn't defeat the Obama coalition in 2012. That is the future, and the GOP doesn't speak to it. History is not only inconvenient; it marches on, regardless of your fingers in the dike.

Does Jim DeMint believe his own stupidity? He probably does. He's one of those unfortunate people who not only has a leadership position in the conservative movement, but fervently drinks the Koolaid at every opportunity. Which makes him both all the more laughable and all the more dangerous.

The only solution is, of course, to vote in November and retake the House while keeping the Senate. It will be another piece of inconvenient history for the GOP and the Right, but one which we will compose.



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