The Ku Klux Klan is rightfully despised by the overwhelming majority of Americans.
So it’s illuminating that its ideology found vigorous support at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. in mid-March, 2013.
Ku Klux Klan
K. Carl Smith, a black discussion leader, was a member of the Frederick Douglas Republicans. He was speaking about the role of race in the Republican Party when he was suddenly interrupted.
Scott Terry, a 30-year-old attendee from North Carolina, claimed that “young, white Southern males like myself” were being disenfranchised by Republicans.
Terry blamed the growth of diversity in the party and its outreach to black conservatives.
Smith then told how abolitionist leader Frederick Douglas wrote a letter to his former slaveowner forgiving him for having held him in bondage.
“For giving him shelter and food?” asked Terry, a member of the White Students Union at Towson University in Maryland.
Several members of the audience gasped and others laughed.
Terry later told the liberal blog, Think Progress, that he would “be fine” with an America where blacks were subservient to whites.
African-Americans, he said, should vote in Africa. He claimed the Tea Party agrees with him.
And, no doubt, many of its members privately do.
Terry claimed to be a descendent of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861-1865).
As a result, he didn’t totally disagree with slavery: “I can’t make one broad statement that categorically it was evil all the time because that’s not true.”
Another attendee, White Student Union “founder and commander” Matthew Heimbach, called civil rights activist Martin Luther King “a Marxist.”
Later, he said of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which investigates extremist, racist groups: “You look at the SPLC, as fake as they are, they talk about how patriot groups are increasing in the Obama era. With a black face in charge of the White House, of the federal government, we know it’s foreign. We know something isn’t right.”
According to the Atlantic Wire, 23 members of the White Student Union attended CPAC.
Racism is no stranger to high-ranking memers of the Republican party–and its right-wing allies.
In 2012, Inge Marler, a Tea Party leader in northern Arkansas, kicked off a rally with a joke implying that black Americans were all on welfare:
“A black kid asks his mom, ‘Mama, what’s a democracy?’
“‘Well, son, that be when white folks work every day so us po’ folks can get all our benefits.’
“‘But mama, don’t the white folk get mad about that?’
“‘They sho do, son. They sho do. And that’s called racism.’”
The joke was followed by laughter and clapping from the Tea Party audience.
Only after Marler’s remarks came to the attention of the media did the Tea Party oust her from her position.
Since November 6, Republicans have been vigorously debating about why their candidate, Mitt Romney, lost the 2012 Presidential election.
Generally, their “findings” have boiled down to: We didn’t get our message out clearly enough.
On the contrary: There was no mistaking the message that Republicans were sending. Targeting a wide range of groups, this boiled down to: “America is for us–not you”:
- Republicans enraged and alienated Latinos by their constant anti-immigrant rhetoric–such as their nominee Mitt Romney’s comment that illegal aliens should “self-deport.”
- Republicans enraged and alienated blacks by their constant hate-filled and often racist attacks on President Barack Obama. Clint Eastwood’s empty chair “comedy” act at the Republican convention pleased his right-wing audience. But it outraged a great many others–especially blacks.
- Republicans enraged and alienated voters generally and minorities in particular by their blatant efforts to suppress the voting rights of their fellow citizens–especially those of non-whites. Republicans falsely claimed widespread voter fraud in areas where there was no evidence of it. When voter fraud was found, the culprit was a get-out-the-vote consulting firm hired by Republicans.
- Republicans allowed their party to be represented by Donald Trump, the infamous oligarch. When he repeatedly claimed that Obama wasn’t an American citizen, Romney refused to dump him as the hate-filled racist he was.
- Republicans refused to distance themselves from their “de facto” leader, right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh. Romney refused to condemn Limbaugh for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she told Congress that insurance companies should cover contraceptives.
- Republicans angered and alienated women by constantly talking about: Gutting Planned Parenthood; outlawing abortion; “legitimate rape” and banning birth control.
- Republicans alienated gays by their blatantly anti-gay sentiments and steadfast opposition to same-sex marriage.
Ultimately, Republicans came to depend for their success on a voting group that’s constantly shrinking–-aging white males. Having alienated blacks, gays, women, Latinos and youths, the Republicans found themselves with no other sources of support.
CPAC’s website claimed the event would showcase “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives. New Challenges, Timeless Principles.”
For many of the attending delegates, one of those “timeless principles” turned out to be old-fashioned racism.