Which US political party is pushing for equality today?
This cartoon got me thinking about who really stands for equality today. Now I am not for one moment suggesting the Glenn Beck, Michael Savage or David Duke with their overt racism and routine race baiting speak for all Republicans, even if they do speak to a great number of them. But I keep seeing articles and blogs like this one trying to claim the equality high ground for today’s Republican Party. Typically, they hark back to Republican actions from the Civil War up to 50 years ago or so. And the truth is that the Northeastern Limousine Liberal wing of the Republican Party was the champion of ending slavery and of ending racial segregation in the solidly Democratic Dixiecrat South of that day.
Republican articles that attempt to take the equality high ground typically point to the fact that Democratic Senator Byrd of West Virginia was once a Grand Wizard of the KKK. But Byrd left the Klan in 1943. He later lamented that joining the Klan was the worst mistake of his entire life. Republicans point out that the segregationist South was solidly Democratic. They don’t mention that those Democrats were staunch conservatives called Dixiecrats, and that after President Johnson sent federal troops into Alabama to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Dixiecrats switched to the Republican Party and the South has been reliably Republican now for nearly 50 years. In fact, Republicans quite deliberately crafted their Southern Strategy to win control of the South by working in the 1970s to win the vote for Southern blacks knowing that blacks would vote Democratic and this would drive Southern whites to the Republican side.
So let’s set aside what happened 50 or 100 years ago. The liberal Rockefeller Republicans of 50 years ago or more would be instantly labeled as RINOs and drummed out of today’s far-right Republican Party. This question is about the here and now. What does the action of each party say? Be it blacks, Latinos, Muslims, atheists, gays, or women; which party really wants to level the playing field? Who is for equality and who is for one privileged group being favored over all others?