Do congressional lives matter? 2

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No, congressional live do not matter much when the congressmen and congresswomen are aging hippies trying to revive the thrills of their youth when they staged “sit-ins” at their universities to protest America’s intervention in Communist-threatened Vietnam.

The Democrats in the picture were among some dozens who recently sat on the floor of the House of Representatives all through the night of June 22/June 23, 2016, to protest against the Second Amendment. Who did they think would give a damn?

Reuters reports:

Fueled by Chinese food and pizzas, dozens of [Democrats] stayed on the House floor all night, at times bursting into the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome before giving up their protest after 25 hours.  “It’s not a struggle that lasts for one day, or one week, or one month, or one year,” said Representative John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia and a key figure in the civil rights protests of the 1960s. “We’re going to win the struggle,” said Lewis, who led the House sit-in.

They sang “the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome”, did they?

That’s because they like to pretend that they, the Democrats, were the party that strove for black civil rights.

But they weren’t. They didn’t.

This is from an article in the National Review by Kevin D. Williamson (worth reading in full):

Worse than the myth and the cliché is the outright lie, the utter fabrication with malice aforethought, and my nominee for the worst of them is the popular but indefensible belief that the two major U.S. political parties somehow “switched places” vis-à-vis protecting the rights of black Americans, a development believed to be roughly concurrent with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the rise of Richard Nixon. That Republicans have let Democrats get away with this mountebankery is a symptom of their political fecklessness, and in letting them get away with it the GOP has allowed itself to be cut off rhetorically from a pantheon of Republican political heroes, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, who represent an expression of conservative ideals as true and relevant today as it was in the 19th century. Perhaps even worse, the Democrats have been allowed to rhetorically bury their Bull Connors, their longstanding affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, and their pitiless opposition to practically every major piece of civil-rights legislation for a century. Republicans may not be able to make significant inroads among black voters in the coming elections, but they would do well to demolish this myth nonetheless.

Those southerners who defected from the Democratic party in the 1960s and thereafter, did so to join a Republican party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had been for a century. There is no radical break in the Republicans’ civil-rights history: From abolition to Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, there exists a line that … connects the politics of Lincoln with those of Dwight D. Eisenhower. And from slavery and secession to remorseless opposition to everything from Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, there exists a similarly identifiable line connecting John Calhoun and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Supporting civil-rights reform was not a radical turnaround for congressional Republicans in 1964, but it was a radical turnaround for Johnson and the Democrats.

The depth of Johnson’s prior opposition to civil-rights reform must be digested in some detail to be properly appreciated. … In Congress, Johnson had consistently and repeatedly voted against legislation to protect black Americans from lynching. As a leader in the Senate, Johnson did his best to cripple the Civil Rights Act of 1957; not having votes sufficient to stop it, he managed to reduce it to an act of mere symbolism by excising the enforcement provisions before sending it to the desk of President Eisenhower. Johnson’s Democratic colleague Strom Thurmond nonetheless went to the trouble of staging the longest filibuster in history up to that point, speaking for 24 hours in a futile attempt to block the bill. The reformers came back in 1960 with an act to remedy the deficiencies of the 1957 act, and Johnson’s Senate Democrats again staged a record-setting filibuster. … Johnson would later explain his thinking thus:

These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.

Johnson did not spring up from the Democratic soil ex nihilo. Not one Democrat in Congress voted for the Fourteenth Amendment. Not one Democrat in Congress voted for the Fifteenth Amendment. Not one voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Eisenhower as a general began the process of desegregating the military, and Truman as president formalized it, but the main reason either had to act was that President Wilson, the personification of Democratic progressivism, had resegregated previously integrated federal facilities. (“If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me, they ought to correct it,” he declared.) Klansmen from Senator Robert Byrd to Justice Hugo Black held prominent positions in the Democratic party — and President Wilson chose the Klan epic Birth of a Nation to be the first film ever shown at the White House. … So what happened in 1964 to change Democrats’ minds? In fact, nothing.

The Republican Party is and always has been the party for Black freedom and civil rights. It is an amazing thing that most Black voters don’t know this. They keep on voting for the party that was for their enslavement and oppression, and now does all it can to keep them poor dependents on the state.

Finally, here’s an answer to the anti-gun congressional protestors:

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A glorious liberty document 0

There were a number of martyrs in Roman times named Saint Valentine. Of the one whose feast is celebrated on February 14, nothing at all is known except that he was buried on that day. How he became the patron saint of love nobody really knows.

However, there was a man who is worth commemorating on February 14, the date he chose arbitrarily as his ‘birthday’.

His name was Frederick Douglass.

Nick Rizzuto writes about him at Townhall:

He was a giant of a man both physically and intellectually. He was raised in adverse circumstances that he would eventually rise above. When called upon, he served his country admirably in grave times, and broke racial barriers in this nation like no other man before him had. No, I’m not speaking of Abraham Lincoln, although that description would be equally fitting for him; I speak of the great anti-slavery orator Frederick Douglass.

As it was with most people born into slavery, Douglass did not know the exact date of his birth. He did however adopt Valentine’s Day as his birthday due to the fact that his mother, Harriet Bailey, lovingly referred to him as “her little valentine.” This year will mark the 192nd anniversary of Douglass’ birth.

Like many historical figures, Frederick Douglass’s true character and beliefs have been somewhat obscured, whether due to the fog of time, or to fit modern agendas. While we take for granted today that Douglass’ views on the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage were just, his view of the US Constitution would be considered by many to be out of the mainstream.

On July 5th of 1852, Douglass, who referred to himself as a “black, dyed in the wool Republican”, addressed the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, New York. During his passionate speech, Douglass said, “Take the Constitution according to its plain reading. I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it.” Douglass continued his Independence Day address by proclaiming that, “Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

Imagine the leap of faith that that statement must have taken for a black man who lived in a time in which members of his family were treated as property to view the Constitution as a beacon of liberty. If the self educated scholar Douglass had stood in front of the crowd and torn the document to shreds, one could scarcely have blamed him. While evident to Douglass over 150 years ago, this trust in the idea of limited government in general, and the protections afforded by the United States Constitution specifically, seems to be difficult for many on the American left to accept even today.

What makes Douglass’s praise for the constitution even more unlikely was that he did so according to its “plain reading”; or in other words, as it had been written. He spoke these words before America fought a Civil War to decide once and for all the issue of slavery and even before a single piece of Civil Rights legislation had passed through congress. Douglass did not complain about the lack of specifics in the constitution that indicated what the government “must do on your behalf”, as then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama famously did in a 2001 interview. Nor did he decry that it was a “charter of negative liberties” which, as President Obama has stated he believes, “represented the bias of the founders.”

Douglass’ words came even before The Constitution came to be viewed by many as a series of court cases and precedents rather than a stand-alone document. For example, his praise did not rest on the decision made in Brown vs. Board of Education which would come over 100 years later. Douglass apparently understood that civil rights would not be the products of court decisions, but that they were intrinsic to the nature of our republican form of government.