WASHINGTON. African-American members of the Democratic Party must embrace a kind of self-blindness in an effort to ignore that institution’s past evils. California’s Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential hopeful, comes to mind. But Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s own history sweeps aside decades of Democrat racism and party virtue signaling to remind us of its infamous past.
A past that includes a militant defense of slavery, its establishment of Jim Crow, the violence perpetrated by its paramilitary wing the Ku Klux Klan, and its denigration of blacks by means of the minstrel show.
The past is but a prelude
Kamala Harris was understandably repulsed by the photo of Northam that ran in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook of 1984. It depicts Northam in blackface standing next to a fellow student dressed in a Klansman’s pointed hood and white flowing robes.
At a press conference, Northam says he is
“..deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo
and for the hurt, that decision caused then and now.”
Kamala Harris wasn’t about to let him off the hook, saying on Twitter:
“Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.”
If that truly is THE “standard,” why is she a Democrat? Can the Democratic Party Harris represents ever wash clean the stain of slavery? Can it truly live down the shame of Jim Crow?
Testing a new standard of Democrat Racism
Today, statues of Confederate generals are now ingots. So, why is the political party, whose philosophy informed the ideas passionately fought for by the flesh-and-blood men represented by these bronze facsimiles, exempt from tossing upon the ash heap of American history?
Alexander Stephen – Early Democrat Racism
Alexander Stephens, who served as the Confederate States’ vice president, became a Democrat after the Civil War. After Stephen’s election to the U.S. Senate in 1866, the Republican majority refused to seat him.
Democrats would rather you forget about Alexander Stephens. That’s because of his “Cornerstone Speech.” In it, he extolled the virtues of the new Confederate government. In particular, Stephens rejection of America’s new foundational creed that “all men are created equal”:
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition.” – Democrat Alexander Stephen
Confederate and Democrat Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a delegate to the 1868 Democratic National Convention. Four short years earlier, Forrest was the commander of Confederate troops in Tennessee, where he defeated the Union garrison at Fort Pillow. A garrison of black Union soldiers. Instead of taking them prisoner, Forrest oversaw the murder of all 300 men. Democrat racism?
“Wherever he goes he is greeted with cheers,” the New York Commercial Advertiser raved. “He no doubt attracts more attention than any one man in New York. What a stinging rebuke is this to those who opposed General Forrest’s nomination as a [Democratic] delegate to the New York Convention.”
When he wasn’t dazzling fellow Democrats in the Big Apple, Forrest’s used violence and intimidation to suppress the black vote in Tennessee, where he served as the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
A test of leadership
If the party of Alexander Stephens, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Gov. Ralph Northam is also the party of Kamala Harris, it’s only natural that we question the seriousness of her qualities as a “leader” in command of a “higher standard.”
Top Images: Sen. Kamala Harris, screen capture from CNN.
A young Ralph Northam in blackface from the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook of 1984.