October 22, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Conservative Republicans Absolve The South Of Its Ugly History By Blaming Modern Democrats For Past Racism
Hey, look in the mirror buddy.
You know how the two major political parties in America have practically changed places over the last half century (or more)? The Democratic Party used to rule the South, and let’s face it, they were at one time the segregationist party, the party of southern white racists. The Republican Party used to have a big liberal constituency in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast states.
Today Republicans say their party is the party of Abraham Lincoln, but while that once was true, it is true no longer. Tea Party conservatives use the phrase “Republican In Name Only” (RINO) to describe Republicans who are not sufficiently conservative to pass an imaginary purity test. But it is every member of the modern Republican Party who could be called RINOs when it comes to invoking Abraham Lincoln as representative of the GOP. I mean, I know this might sound incredibly hyperbolic, but it’s not even clear if the dysfunctional Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2013 would be able to muster the “courage” to vote in favor of the Thirteenth Amendment, dismissing it as a “states rights” issue.
You have conservative pundits like Ann Coulter who love to refer to the Democratic Party as the segregationist party, the party of Jim Crow, but that was a long time ago. While that history might be more recent than the Civil War, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and the Thirteenth Amendment, the modern Democratic Party is no more the party of the Confederacy than the Republican Party is the party of emancipation.
And so it is with this recognition of a massive political shift of the two major political parties that I say this — When conservative pundits dismiss the horrible racism in the South as an issue of the past, and lay the blame at the feet of the Democratic Party, they are offering racist southern conservatives (who still exist in large numbers and vote almost exclusively Republican) a means to conceal their past. They are offering the South a path to evade its loathsome history, while keeping the tradition alive with contemporary efforts to disenfranchise minorities, particularly when it comes to voting rights. By blaming the hideous side of American conservatism on the Democratic Party, conservative commentators are in effect absolving the South of its grotesque past.