WASHINGTON. It was bound to happen. Former Vice President Joe Biden has been in official Washington for nearly a half-century. As a Democrat running for president, it was inevitable his past would come back to haunt him.
But what of the political institution he has served so loyally – the Democratic Party? But more on that later.
I am not a racist. Period.
The controversy centers on Biden’s association with fellow US Senator and Democrat, James Eastland. Back in 1977, Biden sent a letter to his Senate colleague, saying:
“I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote.”
Isn’t this the same Joe Biden that told an NAACP audience in 2012 that Republicans would “put you all back in chains”?
Birds of a feather
Biden’s old friend Sen. Eastland stood strongly against racial integration. In fact, NAACP spokesman Clarence Mitchell once referred to Eastland as “a mad dog let loose in the streets of justice.” (Senator James Eastland: Mississippi’s Jim Crow Democrat)
But Democrat lawmakers loved the racist Mississippian.
The late Sen. Birch Bayh, who wrote two constitutional amendments that were ratified by a majority of states, called Eastland “a straightforward… honorable gentleman.”
Advisor to President Lyndon Johnson, Bobby Baker, said Eastman possessed “one of the quicker, more brilliant minds in the Senate.”
An Eastland aide recalled why his boss was so admired by Democratic colleagues like Biden.
“Senator Eastland understood power and its proper application better than anybody I’ve ever been around. The Senator understood what it was and how to use it properly and in the right degree. He never pounded a table, never screamed or hollered. He just got the job done.”
For Eastland that job included opposing the 1956 civil-rights bus boycott by African Americans in heavily segregated Montgomery, Alabama. Speaking to the largest pro-segregation rally in US history, Eastland read a portion of a handbill then circulating among the crowd:
“In every state of the bus boycott, we have been oppressed and degraded because of black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinking niggers. African flesh-eaters. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to abolish the Negro race, proper methods should be used. Among these are guns, bows and arrows, slingshots and knives… All whites are created equal with certain rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of dead niggers.”
Eastland was very open in his racism and hate of African-Americans. Moreover, he felt no qualms using his position in Congress to feather his own nest. As a member of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Eastland’s Mississippi plantation received more than $100,000 in federal subsidies annually.
In 1972, the same year Joe Biden began his first Senate term, Democrats showed their admiration for Eastland by selecting him to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate. Or, the third in the line of presidential succession.
Why is tearing down the past restricted to statues?
Recently, bronze statues commemorating Civil War Confederates have been the targets of outraged social-justice activists. Outside an old courthouse in Durham, North Carolina, for instance, woke demonstrators brought down a statue honoring the sacrifice of average Southern soldiers.
Dedicated in 1924, the plaque below the bronze figure read,
“In memory of the boys who wore the gray.”
But for some, memory is a highly selective attribute.
In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln said he believed our shared national memory would serve to quell the southern states’ angry calls for secession. Today, what he called the “mystic cords of memory” serve as garrotes to tighten and strangle the life out of political opponents.
Angry woke activists, mostly young millennials, have no shared national memory.
Polls show what they don’t know about history far surpasses what they learned in college. They are as ignorant of Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy he served as they are of China’s Mao Zedong and the brutality of his monstrous socialist enterprise.
And yet, how many of these woke tots vote in lockstep with the racism in the party of Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. James Eastland?
Is it a mistake the party of anti-busing Joe Biden and white-supremacist James Eastland happens to also be the party that championed the institutions of slavery and “separate but equal” Jim Crow?
If bronze statues of dead Confederate luminaries are worthy of tearing down in the name of social justice, what about that living monument to endemic racism and oppression – the Democratic Party?
Top Image: Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Digital Campaign Manager Doug Jones for Senate, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vice_President_Joe_Biden_Doug_Jones.jpg.