Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Historical Illiteracy

The idea that the Klan was a "leftist terrorist organization" would be so laughably ignorant if it wasn't so scary.

The Democratic Party only moved to the left of American politics in 1896 when it tried to co-opt the Populist movement by nominating William Jennings Bryan.  (Bryan himself held very retrograde views on race, but race was not a left-right issue in 1896.)  It moved further to the left - especially on race under FDR and Truman, culminating in the Johnson administration.

There is a name for the Southern Democrats of yore: Republicans.  And ever since Nixon, the GOP had made coded and not-so-coded efforts to woo over whites who feel racial resentment over the advancement of blacks.  Jesus, that's the subtext of the last seven years.

Trump has taken that racial code and brought it out into the light for all to see; he has made it impossible to ignore.

But arguing that the Klan was leftist because 19th century Democrats supported it is not to understand what "left" means or what the history of race in this country is all about.

But then again, "not understanding" is critical to the Trumpenproletariat.

No comments: