Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.

-Frederick Douglass, African American Republican statesman and reformer

4 comments:

brad said...

Frederick Douglass was a great man. Like Barack Obama, Douglass was a passionate, intelligent biracial American.

In his time, Douglass belonged to the U.S.'s liberal party, the Republican Party. Until the late 1960s, a large number of African-Americans belonged to the Republican Party but that changed after the Democratic Party under Lyndon Johnson changed and became the party determined to see the success of people of color.

In contrast, the Republican Party became the party of anti-black racism with its adoption of the Southern Strategy.

Too often, African-American Republicans wish to gloss over the 40-year history of hate that the GOP has used a tool against people of color, whether they are African-, Native-, Latino, Asian-, or even gay. When it's time to win elections, the dial on the GOP hate machine is turned to 11.

How in good conscience could any of you think that Mr. Douglass would associate himself with a party whose luminaries include people who declare their devotion to States Rights? Especially States Rights near the site of the murder of 3 young Civil Rights workers?

Could Douglass turn a blind eye to the coded messages of hate that come from the McCain camp? Would he look approvingly at the Palin rallies where people carry monkey dolls wrapped in a sticker with Senator Obama's name? Could Douglass stomach listening to the unbridled racism of GOP luminiaries like Rush Limbaugh who vacilates from calling Obama a "magical negro" to an Arab, all with the intent to scare voters?

What would Douglass think of the GOP? I'm sure he would have left the party and become an independent or a Democrat.

I think Douglass, who fought for the rights of African-Americans to gain the vote, would look at the long history of GOP voter suppression activity and find himself in a mix of emotions: sadness and anger.

Look at Douglass. Look at Obama. Are you really sure the two are all that different? Would not Douglass have been a Democrat in this age?

Sorry. I find your attempts to link the Republican Party of the Civil War Era with today's party specious, a deliberate dishonesty foisted on an unsophisticated public.

Party's change with the people who comprise them. The GOP of Douglass whithered away 40 years ago and was replaced.

Paul Hue said...

FD: One of my great heros! Took responsibility for his own education, for one thing. Abe Lincoln called him the finest educated, and most brilliant mind of the day. And he didn't need a teacher's union or a nice school. His attitude and efforts obtained these attributes for himself. Nat Turner and Denmark Vessey similarly educated themselves under unbelievable circumstances.

I remember these examples whenever I hear "racism" blamed for the failed black public school systems of 2008 USA. The circumstances faced by those kids are insignificant compared to what Douglas, Turner, and Vessey faced. So what prevents these kids, other than their own poor attitude, from making the same smart choices made by the great freedom fighters of our past?

Douglas also has another wonderful declaration, about white folks and the government trying to "help black folks," something to the effect of "we don't need help, we need to be left alone, and we will solve our own problems." I'll look it up and get back...

(Barak and McCain of course both think that po' black folks in Newark need evil rich white folks in suburban Portland to have money taken from their income by the federal government, filtered through the social services bureaucracy, and have some fraction of it deposited into the program account of a local Head Start chapter. Without that, them po' black chiln' ain't got no choice but to not read books, stop attending school before graduation, acquire no marketable skill for themselves, and adopt prison-wear fashion.)

Paul Hue said...

@brad: Douglas' Republican party was not a "liberal" party. It did not support government programs to solve people's problems, or income tax. It supported the US Constitution, as written. As such, they supported employing the US federal government for only a few purposes, such as intervening to stop some Americans from enslaving other Americans.

Although some "moderate" republicans of Douglas' day did not support such an action by federal troops, the "radical" republicans -- such a Douglas, Chaz. Sumner, the Grimke sisters, T D Weld, etc. -- did. And ultimately they got exactly that: federal troops marching to "John Brown's Body", and imposing the US constitution, ie, liberating slaves to exercise their right.

The white democrats who constructed the "states' rights" justification for enslaving black people, and then later to deny them citizenship rights, were contradicting themselves with this term. Enslaving people, or blocking their rights, requires lots of Big State action, either in the form of local sheriffs, militias, and other public officials.

Yes, the 1960s white republicans under Nixon -- the president who enacted affirmative action, as well as wage-and-price controls, among other liberal policies -- did shamefully construct a "southern strategy". And yes, it did result white racist democrats like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurumond shifting their demented ideologies over to the republican camp, polluting the official anti-slavery party.

As in the 1860s, the 1960s required a very justified Big Central Government intervention on behalf of black folks, in opposition to whites who were violating the US Constitution by denying natural and guaranteed rights to fellow citizens. Perhaps this is why black folks after the 1960s became so devoted to Big Government solutions, and the Big Government party of the democrats.

These fact-based conclusions of mine might somehow be in error, and I will concede as much if you can teach me where I have erred. But they are not "deliberate dishonesty," though even if they were, since you cannot access my inner thoughts, you would not be able to determine anyway. I challenge you to both stick to the facts, and to open your mind to the possibility that other people who disagree with you on an issue such as this might be:

1. Just as honest as you.
2. Just as smart as you.
3. Just as committed to the "advancement of colored people" as you.

Based on many of the writings of Douglas, one thing I believe that would bother him about 2008 USA is that 90% of black folks vote for one party, and the party devoted to solving people's problems with huge government programs forcibly paid for by everybody else. He would also, I expect, laugh at complaints of what passes for "voter suppression" today, or "education resources", given what he and his fellows in the 1850s were able to accomplish in the face of what they overcome. It would surely astound him that half of all black kids opt not to even bother to graduate, with an average of about $10k annually spent on each of them for their education.

I expect also, that coming from a world where black people were banned from marrying, that most black parents today would refuse even to do that. And given what it took for him to obtain his education, I can only imagine what he thinks of Obama's declared need for "more Head Start" dollars for black kids to get educated.

Paul Hue said...

"In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... your interference is doing him positive injury."

Frederick Douglas, "What the Black Man Wants" speech.
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass