Wow, I seem to have struck a nerve.

A couple of weeks ago I did a post titled “How Stupid Do These People Think We Are? And More Importantly, How Often Are They Right?“, regarding a poster that has been making the rounds on Facebook from MSNBC Commentator Lawrence O’Donnell. The basis of this poster is that anything positive that has ever been done in this country (civil rights, giving women and African American’s the right to vote, etc…) was the result of the efforts of liberals, and, as the quote goes on to say, “What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one.“. My take was that this was an amazingly simplistic view, and one that could only be reached if you ignored a great number of facts.

Now while I used to blog a great deal more, it is something that I have just not had much time for lately, and in fact this post was my first one in nearly six months, so my expectation for readership was pretty low. I did link the post to my Facebook page, and was pleased when I got about 35 hits. The problem was, all of the comments I was getting on this piece were being left on my Facebook page, not here. So, I was thinking it may be a good idea to shut down the blog and just “blog” on Facebook instead.

And then something I never expected happened. On Monday this post received 246 hits. More amazingly, I exceeded that number on Tuesday, and had even more on Wednesday. As I write this follow-up, I am on track to have 1000 hits by the end of the day. Why? I’m not 100% sure, but the vast majority of these hits are coming through Facebook referrals, so some of you out there have picked this up carried the torch for me.

Now I’m not sure who, and I’m willing to bet that some of you have linked me with a “This is a great post, you have to read it”, while others have probably written “This guy is full of crap, check it out”. And both are great, because conversations, really great conversations, are never one-sided. I’d like to follow-up on some of the comments that I have read, and hopefully we can keep the conversation going. Also, and I know this is selfish of me, but I would love to have all of you stop in from time to time, so we can continue to have discussions on the important discussions of the day.

Since the vast majority of you are new to my site, let me tell you a little bit about me and more importantly, what I am hoping to achieve. My whole blogging adventure started a few years back with my first blog, Lost Iowan Diary, which you can access through my home page. It actually started a little earlier than that when my High School friend and college roommate Chris started his own blog, and I found myself spending so much time on his blog – which by the way was politically the exact opposite of mine – that I decided to start my own blog.

Now I am conservative by nature, but the problem is I find most folks on the left have an idea of exactly what a “conservative” is, and respond to them based on their preconceived notions. And let’s be fair, it’s no better on the right when responding to “liberals”. But the fact of the matter is this: most of the conservatives I know don’t fit that mold, and very few of the liberals I know fit that mold either.

Now I never planned on my blog being a 100% Conservative, 100% of the time blog. As a matter of fact, if the only readers I ever received were like-minded folks, I probably would have shut it down a long time ago. What does that serve, other than stroking a few egos. “You’re the best.” “No, you’re the best” “No, you are”. Yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun. Nope, I wanted differing opinions, as many of them as possible. THAT makes for a fun and interesting conversation. And when I ventured outside of my blog world, seeking out left-leaning websites to engage those folks in discussion, I was frustrated by the lack of these folks to even consider another point of view. Hence the burn out and lack of recent blogging.

But this last post has brought a little life back to me. Maybe there are some folks out there willing to have real conversations without resulting to a bunch of insults and childish name-calling. That’s where you folks come in.

Let me give you one more comment about my goal. My goal is not to convert everyone to my way of thinking. While I try to do my best to research what I am discussing, I am not under any delusion that my way of thinking is the only way of thinking. While I would fear a government that had a vast majority of liberal control, I am equally fearful of a government of vast conservative control. We need as many differing viewpoints as possible to, hopefully, come to the best decisions to keep our country moving forward.

As for my political influences, I try to keep that as balanced as possible. I avoid both FOX and MSNBC, and I do listen to some talk radio, and thanks to the advent of satellite radio, I am able to balance my listening between left and right, although I prefer a station called POTUS, which is the closest thing you will find to a balanced point of view in the media today.

But let’s get back to the follow-up on the O’Donnell piece. Like I said before, I want to follow-up on a couple of the comments that were made, and as always I would appreciate any additional comments you might have. I’ll put the comments of the readers in red.

I want to start with a reader called pdmikk who had this to say: “is exactly the pot calling the kettle. I remember when conservatives were interested in governance for the good of the entire people of the US… but the current “conservative” meme is primarily interested in protecting financial exploitation and resource extraction”.  Now I agree with pdmikk that the “conservative” party of today is not what I would call “correct” in their way of thinking on a lot of things. The Republican party (which, by the way I am not a member of), just like the Democratic party, have been hijacked by fringe elements of their party. But that does not, in my way of thinking, mean that conservatism as an ideal is wrong.

Let me use an example, and I have chosen  the topic – abortion – simply because it is an issue that most people have a strong opinion on, regardless of which side of the fence you fall on. Lets say that you are strongly pro-choice, and the national leadership of the pro-choice party gets hijacked by a few wackos who, frankly, are an embarrassment to the cause, while the pro-life movement has shifted towards a more rational level of leadership. And before I go further, A) I am not trying to open up a discussion on abortion, and B) this analogy works equally as well if you switch the roles to pro-life being the ones who move to a fringe.. Anyhow, even though your leadership has gone off the cliff, does that change YOUR personal views on abortion? Probably not. So just because the Republican leadership has gone off that same cliff (and don’t kid yourself, the Democrats are jumping as well), does that mean you abandon your core ideals. No you don’t. You stick with them and you work to correct your leadership.

As for the “…but the current “conservative” meme is primarily interested in protecting financial exploitation and resource extraction” comment, I just don’t buy it. First of all you have to believe that the right is working to protect “exploitation”, which is a common meme from some on the left that the rich are only rich because they exploit the poor. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every businessman is squeaky clean, but most wealth is earned, not exploited, although I think this would be a great topic for a future discussion. By the way, two of the richest Americans – Warren Buffet & Bill Gates – are democrats, and the left loves them. And as they should, both men do some amazing things with their money to help causes around the world. And were these two working class shlubs, I bet they would be equally nice people, just not able to help at near the level they do now. Damn rich people.

As for “extraction of resources”, I would answer “So?”. What is wrong with wanting to become more energy independent. Heck, even Jimmy Carter called for America to become more energy independent. But again, we have an example of putting conservatives into a box. “Conservatives want to rape the land and kill the poor.” Yeah, right?

Moving on. A reader named Dave asked that I give input on a conversation that he and a fellow Facebook friend have been having regarding my post. Dave, I read the conversation, and my input it this: This is EXACTLY the kind of conversation I was hoping to inspire. Again, it’s not about proving one side right or one side wrong, but having the conversation in the first place. I could spend the next hour picking that conversation apart, but I would rather suggest that anyone interested in a further look at this conversation take a look at it themselves. You can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=196542007111849&id=723793004&notif_t=share_reply

Next I move onto my old blog friend Gary. Gary starts out with the following comment: “I think that one big flaw in the argument of “the Democrats fought against civil rights”, is that back then the parties were reversed.  Back then the “Democrats” were what we now view as Republicans and vice versa.  In fact it was the civil rights issues that basically initiated that switch.” While I’m not sure I agree 100% with this assessment, I do agree with the fact that Democrats and Republicans today are different from they were “back then”, I’m not sure it would be considered a reversal.

Gary then goes on to include a clip from the Young Turks. He states “Interestingly enough sometimes when I post videos by these guys, every now and then a conservative will suggest that it’s automatically discounted because they’re “ultra liberals” and whatnot and all they do is praise Obama and demonize Republicans.  To that I’d have to say they must never watch the show because that’s CLEARLY not the case“. Now Gary, I have watched clips from They Young Turks before, and while they may occasionally provide a slam to the left, they generally do lean way left. The exact same comments could be made about Fox News. Truthfully, it isn’t the source, it;s the facts.

Let me give you a few comments on the video, and suggest that you go to the comments in my last post and view it yourself. It starts with Republican Congresswomen Virginia Fox from North Carolina complaining that the democrats have blamed everything that has gone wrong with the country on Bush, not unlike a lot of republicans doing the same thing now about Obama. She then goes on to state “The GOP has been the leader in starting good environmental programs in this country, just as we were the people who passed the civil rights bills back in the 60’s without very much help from our collegues across the aisle. They love to engage in revisionist history.”

Rep Fox’s comments are then cut of, and we have a rebuttal from a Rep. Cardoza from California, who, in part, says “…The gentlelady from North Carolina, in her statement just now, indicated that the GOP had passed the civil rights act legislation with almost no help from the democrats. I can’t believe my ears. It was the Kennedy and Johnson administrations where we passed that Great Society legislation. It was over the objections of people like Jesse Helms that we passed that legislation.(despite the fact that Jesse Helms didn’t join congress until 1972) … I will stand by these statements,, and I am very proud of what my party has done to advance civil rights legislation

Young Turks host Cenk Ungar claims Rep. Fox is “Twisting reality, twisting history and twisting the facts” and calls her claims “unreal”, using as his argument that the republican party “moved away” from that kind of thinking. Now, is that the case? Maybe, and that is an entirely different discussion. BUT, are Rep. Fox’s claims “Twisting reality, twisting history and twisting the facts” and “unreal”. Lets look at the pesky facts:

On June 9th of 1964, the Democrats, led byU.S. Senator and former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd (D-WV), led a 14-hour filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next day, June 10th, Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) criticizes Democrat filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act, calls on Democrats to stop opposing racial equality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced and approved by a staggering majority of Republicans in the Senate. The Act was opposed by most southern Democrat senators, several of whom were proud segregationists—one of them being Al Gore Sr. Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson relied on Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader from Illinois, to get the Act passed.

The following year Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) overcame a Democrat attempts to block 1965 Voting Rights Act; 94% of Senate Republicans vote for landmark civil right legislation, while 27% of Democrats oppose. Voting Rights Act of 1965, abolishing literacy tests and other measures devised by Democrats to prevent African-Americans from voting, signed into law; higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats vote in favor.

Twisting history? I don’t think so. Now again, you can make a firm argument that this was a different Republican party than we have today, but the fact of the matter is a higher percentage of Republicans voted for civil rights legislation.

I’d also like to go back to Rep. Cardoza’s comment “I can’t believe my ears. It was the Kennedy and Johnson administrations where we passed that Great Society legislation.” So? Just because it happened in their administration doesn’t mean it was their party that drove the legislation.

I want to end with a couple of comments by reader Steven. Steven makes some good points, but I think also misses a few points. He states “When I read the word “liberal”, I do not immediately make the assumption or reach the conclusion that we are talking about “democrats”.” I agree, and there has been a lot of effort made by those who disagree with my assessment that in fact the Republicans of which I speak were liberals. Not sure I buy it, but its a valid argument. He goes on to say “I have friends who are democrats who are anti-abortion, and friends who are republican who are for marriage equality“, which is kind of the point that I have been trying to make, that there is no one neat box that fits conservatives and no neat box that fits liberals, despite the fact that O’Donnell was trying to do exactly that.

Steven goes onto say “If, however…. if you read those words once again, and think about – REALLY think about – what they are saying, then it becomes difficult to argue with the facts that yes, at the time those changes took place, the people who made them happen? They were – by the dictionary definition of the word – liberals“, and then provides the dictionary definition of liberal, part of which is one who is “favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs”. The problem here is what do you consider progress or reform. Look at the word reform, or “to change”. The Patriot Act definitely “reformed” our civil liberties. Was it Liberal?

He adds ” When I read those words, what I saw was a pretty simple statement: the people who made those changes happen, who pushed for those beliefs and shifts in policy, were the ones who looked at the world as it was and said “We can do better.” Now this is where things get sticky, because you have to assume what Steven is saying, at least based on todays political parties, that everything the liberals do is making the world better. I disagree. Oh, not entirely, I’ll go back to what I’ve said all along, that we NEED to have representation and policy from differing sides. Pushing for beliefs and changes? Hell, waterboard was based on a belief, and it was a change. Do you agree with it.

Finally Steven says this: “When I say that I am anti-conservative, I am not saying that I am anti-Republican. I am saying that I am anti-anything that takes away from any citizen of the United States of America the rights and ideals that we are all supposed to have. That is what I believe, and what I stand for, and why that poster is, to me, the truth.”

So what Steven has said, and pretty clearly here, is that conservatism is about taking away from any citizen of the United States of America the rights and ideals that we are all suppose to have. Really Steven. So by definition are you saying that liberalism is all about the rights and idealism we are supposed to have? I would say to you that your thinking is no different from the most hard-core right-wing bigot. There is no so blind as he who will not see. Because unlike you Steven, I am not anti-anything. I am not anti-liberal, I am not anti-democrat. I am pro-truth, I am pro-America, and well, I guess I am anti one thing, I am anti-spin.

The overlying basis of the discussion from the left on this is that the republican party, back in the day of lincoln and beyond, was in fact the liberal party. But then why, when O’Donnell wrote these words (and remember, this was from a script from The West Wing, and these words were being spoken in a presidential debate by the Democratic contender), why did he not say, after saying that “Liberals” did everything positive,  something like “and at that time it was the right that was the liberal influence and the left that was conservative.” No, he started out by saying “What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?”, implying that “liberal”, in this discussion, was the Democratic party.

O’Donnell knew exactly what he was doing, and based on the number of Facebook pages I’ve seen this poster on, I’d say he succeeded. And lets face it, would he have been this successful if he choose to tell the truth? I doubt it.

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How Stupid Do These People Think We Are? And More Importantly, How Often Are They Right?

Buckle up folks. I’ve been away from blogging for a while, so you know I’m coming back with a long post (but oh so good).

I’ve had an idea for a column for the last few days, and I would like to thank my friend Stephen (not that Stephen), for giving me the opportunity to kick-start that idea. The other day I was on Facebook when I noticed this picture from Stephen:

Now I don’t know how well you can read it on this “poster”, and I want you to read these words carefully, so let me reprint them here for easier reading:

What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.

What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.

And of course this quote is then attributed to liberal commentator Lawrence O’Donnell Jr.. But the problem is, this quote does not come from a speech or from a monologue or commentary on O’Donnell’s MSNBC show. It doesn’t come from a commencement speech or the last Democratic National Convention. So where does it come from? Would you believe “The West Wing“. That’s right, the NBC Show “The West Wing“.  These words were not  spoken by O’Donnell, but rather by actor Jimmy Smits, in an episode entitled “The Debate”.

So why are they attributed to O’Donnell? Well, the fact is these words WERE written by Lawrence O’Donnell, because in addition to his role as a political analyst, he has also worked as a television writer and also a sometimes actor (he had a reoccurring role on HBO’s “Big Love). So in other words, this beautiful speech is actually a piece of fiction. And while there is a lot of truth behind some of these words, there is also a more than fair amount of fiction, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

What prompted me to write this post was something I’ve been thinking about for the last few days. Now in my recent past I have been involved in political and social debates with a group of people who are basically hate-filled, partisan idiots, and these are not the kind of folks I choose to waste my time on any longer. I love a good political debate or discussion, but there is nothing more frustrating than a discussion with someone who has their head up their ass. fortunately, I have a number of left-leaning friends who actually have brains and are capable of intelligent discussions, BUT I’ve started to notice that more and more of my friends, both on the left and on the right, are moving more to that fringe “my side is always right, your side is always wrong” group. And that scares me.

I think the O’Donnell quote fits perfectly in this fringe thinking. Think about it: If you were totally unfamiliar with what a liberal and a conservative was, you would think that Liberals are probably the closet thing there is to God’s on this planet, while Conservatives are Satanic Scum. And while partisan, agenda-driven propaganda like this doesn’t surprise me, I am blown away by how easily otherwise intelligent people are sucked in by this crap.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not just picking on my liberal friends here. No folks, it’s just as easy to find right-wingers making similar outrageous statements of how God-like the right-wing is, even while having to deal with those Satanic left-wingers. And these statements are just as asinine as O’Donnell’s script.

Look at it this way. We are told everyday by one liberal “pundit” or another that Republicans are racist, homophobic war-mongerers  who want to deny even the most basic services to anyone with an annual income under six figures. They are selfish, greedy bastards who want to end medicare, social security, food stamps and any form of social safety net, while relegating women back to the kitchen and bedroom (where they belong), while calling for the execution of anyone unwilling to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior.

Flip the channel, and you’ll have more than a fair share of right-wingers preaching that Democrats in this country are brain-washed communist, fascist, pinko-socialists who want to have everything given to them but wouldn’t know a hard days work if it bit them in the ass. They would like to see any expression of religion outlawed, would require all women between the age of 15 and 23 to undergo an abortion to understand the empowerment that it brings you, and preach civil tolerance towards the poor and minorities, as long as they preach such tolerance without actually having to mingle with “the unwashed”, or God forbide (I’m sorry, Earth Mother forbide), a member of the neo-nazi imperialistic American military.

Now let me ask you a question, and understand that I have no idea what your political affiliation is. If you are a conservative, do you agree with the above assessment of the right? How about those of you on the left side of the aisle, do you agree with the description of the “average” Democrat? I’m guessing – in both situations – the answer is probably “No”.

But the real question is why are so many of who know that 90% of what the “other side” says about us is B.S., so willing to believe what our side is saying about them? And I’m not just talking the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers out there, but real, otherwise intelligent human beings. And I think this quote by Lawrence O’Donnell proves that very point. Look, I don’t know Lawrence O’Donnell, I’ve never watched his program, but I have to think this man is probably pretty intelligent. You don’t get to his level by being an idiot, although I must say there are plenty on the right that believe O’Donnell, Schultz and the like are just that: idiots. And plenty on the left will say the same about Limbaugh, Beck & Hannity, that they are brain-dead morons. Well, the truth is, all of these folks – whether you agree with their politics or not – are pretty smart individuals. And those who argue otherwise, well that tends to say a lot about their intelligence.

So let’s go back to O’Donnell’s quote. Now I don’t want to go through the entire comment line by line, but lets just look at a few of the claims. And remember, according to O’Donnell, liberals alone were responsible for all of these great achievements, while conservatives “…opposed them on every one of those things, every one”

Lets start with civil rights. So liberals and liberals alone ended segregation, got African-Americans the right to vote and passed the Civil rights and voting acts, while conservatives did everything in their power to stop these actions. Makes for a great and powerful speech (or, in this case, line from a television script). As long as you ignore some of the facts.

Let start with the biggest fact of all concerning civil rights: The liberals wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do all of these wonderful things in the name of African-Americans if Abraham Lincoln – A Republican – hadn’t ended slavery and freed the slaves in the first place. Right? Read your post-civil war history. It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

Lets look at some of the glorious and illustrious contributions that the Democrats have given us with regards to civil rights, despite the Republicans trying to block them at every turn (and as you read through the list of historical bullet points that dispute Democrat claims of civil rights support, remember that on the Democrats own website (http://www.democrats.org/issues/civil_rights) they claim they “are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That’s why we’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws”):

October 13, 1858 During Lincoln-Douglas debates, U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) states: “I do not regard the Negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother, or any kin to me whatever”; Douglas became Democratic Party’s 1860 presidential nominee

April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signs bill abolishing slavery in District of Columbia; in Congress, 99% of Republicans vote yes, 83% of Democrats vote no

July 17, 1862 Over unanimous Democrat opposition, Republican Congress passes The Confiscation Act, stating that slaves of the Confederacy “shall be forever free”

January 31, 1865 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. House with unanimous Republican support, intense Democrat opposition

April 8, 1865 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. Senate with 100% Republican support, 63% Democrat opposition

November 22, 1865 Republicans denounce Democrat legislature of Mississippi for enacting “black codes,” which institutionalized racial discrimination

February 5, 1866 U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (R-PA) introduces legislation, successfully opposed by Democrat President Andrew Johnson, to implement “40 acres and a mule” relief by distributing land to former slaves

April 9, 1866 Republican Congress overrides Democrat President Johnson’s veto; Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring rights of citizenship on African-Americans, becomes law

May 10, 1866 U.S. House passes Republicans’ 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the laws to all citizens; 100% of Democrats vote no

June 8, 1866 U.S. Senate passes Republicans’ 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the law to all citizens; 94% of Republicans vote yes and 100% of Democrats vote no

January 8, 1867 Republicans override Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto of law granting voting rights to African-Americans in D.C.

July 19, 1867 Republican Congress overrides Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto of legislation protecting voting rights of African-Americans

March 30, 1868 Republicans begin impeachment trial of Democrat President Andrew Johnson, who declared: “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government of white men”

September 12, 1868 Civil rights activist Tunis Campbell and 24 other African-Americans in Georgia Senate, every one a Republican, expelled by Democrat majority; would later be reinstated by Republican Congress

October 7, 1868 Republicans denounce Democratic Party’s national campaign theme: “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule”

October 22, 1868 While campaigning for re-election, Republican U.S. Rep. James Hinds (R-AR) is assassinated by Democrat terrorists who organized as the Ku Klux Klan

February 3, 1870 After passing House with 98% Republican support and 97% Democrat opposition, Republicans’ 15th Amendment is ratified, granting vote to all Americans regardless of race

May 31, 1870 President U.S. Grant signs Republicans’ Enforcement Act, providing stiff penalties for depriving any American’s civil rights

June 22, 1870 Republican Congress creates U.S. Department of Justice, to safeguard the civil rights of African-Americans against Democrats in the South

February 28, 1871 Republican Congress passes Enforcement Act providing federal protection for African-American voters

April 20, 1871 Republican Congress enacts the Ku Klux Klan Act, outlawing Democratic Party-affiliated terrorist groups which oppressed African-Americans

October 10, 1871 Following warnings by Philadelphia Democrats against black voting, African-American Republican civil rights activist Octavius Catto murdered by Democratic Party operative; his military funeral was attended by thousands

October 18, 1871 After violence against Republicans in South Carolina, President Ulysses Grant deploys U.S. troops to combat Democrat terrorists who formed the Ku Klux Klan

January 17, 1874 Armed Democrats seize Texas state government, ending Republican efforts to racially integrate government

September 14, 1874 Democrat white supremacists seize Louisiana statehouse in attempt to overthrow racially-integrated administration of Republican Governor William Kellogg; 27 killed

March 1, 1875 The Civil Rights Act of 1875, guaranteeing access to public accommodations without regard to race, signed by Republican President U.S. Grant; passed with 92% Republican support over 100% Democrat opposition

February 8, 1894 Democrat Congress and Democrat President Grover Cleveland join to repeal Republicans’ Enforcement Act, which had enabled African-Americans to vote

January 15, 1901 Republican Booker T. Washington protests Alabama Democratic Party’s refusal to permit voting by African-Americans

May 29, 1902 Virginia Democrats implement new state constitution, condemned by Republicans as illegal, reducing African-American voter registration by 86%

February 12, 1909 On 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, African-American Republicans and women’s suffragists Ida Wells and Mary Terrell co-found the NAACP

May 21, 1919 Republican House passes constitutional amendment granting women the vote with 85% of Republicans in favor, but only 54% of Democrats; in Senate, 80% of Republicans would vote yes, but almost half of Democrats no

January 26, 1922 House passes bill authored by U.S. Rep. Leonidas Dyer (R-MO) making lynching a federal crime; Senate Democrats block it with filibuster

June 2, 1924 Republican President Calvin Coolidge signs bill passed by Republican Congress granting U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans

October 3, 1924 Republicans denounce three-time Democrat presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan for defending the Ku Klux Klan at 1924 Democratic National Convention

June 12, 1929 First Lady Lou Hoover invites wife of U.S. Rep. Oscar De Priest (R-IL), an African-American, to tea at the White House, sparking protests by Democrats across the country

August 17, 1937 Republicans organize opposition to former Ku Klux Klansman and Democrat U.S. Senator Hugo Black, appointed to U.S. Supreme Court by FDR; his Klan background was hidden until after confirmation

June 24, 1940 Republican Party platform calls for integration of the armed forces; for the balance of his terms in office, FDR refuses to order it

August 8, 1945 Republicans condemn Harry Truman’s surprise use of the atomic bomb in Japan. The whining and criticism goes on for years. It begins two days after the Hiroshima bombing, when former Republican President Herbert Hoover writes to a friend that “The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul.”

September 30, 1953 Earl Warren, California’s three-term Republican Governor and 1948 Republican vice presidential nominee, nominated to be Chief Justice; wrote landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education

November 25, 1955 Eisenhower administration bans racial segregation of interstate bus travel

March 12, 1956 Ninety-seven Democrats in Congress condemn Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and pledge to continue segregation

June 5, 1956 Republican federal judge Frank Johnson rules in favor of Rosa Parks in decision striking down “blacks in the back of the bus” law

November 6, 1956 African-American civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy vote for Republican Dwight Eisenhower for President

September 9, 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republican Party’s 1957 Civil Rights Act. Among those voting against the act were Senator Al Gore Sr., and Senator John F. Kennedy.

September 24, 1957 Sparking criticism from Democrats such as Senators John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, President Dwight Eisenhower deploys the 82nd Airborne Division to Little Rock, AR to force Democrat Governor Orval Faubus to integrate public schools

May 6, 1960 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960, overcoming 125-hour, around-the-clock filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats

May 2, 1963 Republicans condemn Democrat sheriff of Birmingham, AL for arresting over 2,000 African-American schoolchildren marching for their civil rights

September 29, 1963 Gov. George Wallace (D-AL) defies order by U.S. District Judge Frank Johnson, appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower, to integrate Tuskegee High School

June 9, 1964 Republicans condemn 14-hour filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act by U.S. Senator and former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd (D-WV), who continued to serve in the Senate until his death two years ago.

June 10, 1964 Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) criticizes Democrat filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act, calls on Democrats to stop opposing racial equality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced and approved by a staggering majority of Republicans in the Senate. The Act was opposed by most southern Democrat senators, several of whom were proud segregationists—one of them being Al Gore Sr. Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson relied on Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader from Illinois, to get the Act passed.

August 4, 1965 Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) overcomes Democrat attempts to block 1965 Voting Rights Act; 94% of Senate Republicans vote for landmark civil right legislation, while 27% of Democrats oppose. Voting Rights Act of 1965, abolishing literacy tests and other measures devised by Democrats to prevent African-Americans from voting, signed into law; higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats vote in favor

February 19, 1976 President Gerald Ford formally rescinds President Franklin Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order authorizing internment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII

September 15, 1981 President Ronald Reagan establishes the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to increase African-American participation in federal education programs

June 29, 1982 President Ronald Reagan signs 25-year extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act

August 10, 1988 President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during World War II internment ordered by FDR

November 21, 1991 President George H. W. Bush signs Civil Rights Act of 1991 to strengthen federal civil rights legislation

August 20, 1996 Bill authored by U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY) to prohibit racial discrimination in adoptions, part of Republicans’ Contract With America, becomes law

So we have these – what was it that Al Gore called them – oh yeah, Inconvenient Truths regarding civil rights and equal rights for all Americans. But what of some of O’Donnell’s other claims, such as the fact that it was Liberals alone that got women the right to vote. Great achievement, as long as you ignore the fact that Women first legally voted in Wyoming on September 6, 1870 , in the FIRST election after women’s suffrage signed into law by Republican Gov. John Campbell.

In August of 1920,  Republican-authored 19th Amendment, giving women the vote, becomes part of Constitution; 26 of the 36 states to ratify had Republican-controlled legislatures

And have you ever heard of Susan B. Anthony? You know, the one that was on those horrible dollar coins several years back? On November 18, 1872 Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting, after boasting to Elizabeth Cady Stanton that she voted for “the Republican ticket, straight”

Less than six years later, on January 10, 1878, U.S. Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduced the Susan B. Anthony amendment for women’s suffrage. The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated it 4 times before an election of Republican House and Senate guaranteed its approval in 1919.

So I’d say your “We got women the right to vote” bucket holds just about as much water as your “We’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws” bucket.

The Clean Air Act? It was passed by a vote of 89 to 11. Of the 11 voting “no” were 6 Republicans, and 5 Democrats. Hardly a landslide of democratic power against a unanimous onslaught of Republic opposition.

Lets step outside of Lawrence’s diatribe for a minute. Lets talk about Women’s rights, more specifically, women’s reproductive rights. Again, the company line here is that Republicans want women to die in back alley abortions while all the left is concerned about is the right to choose (of course the one who that “choice” affects most – the fetus – doesn’t have much to say, does s/he?). Well let’s not forget the words of liberal icon Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood…

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population….

Wow, do you still believe that Liberals are the saviors of the universe, fighting against those evil conservatives? Sadly, some of you probably do. And while we are on the subject, I want to make sure that you understand that I am also not saying the opposite is true, that it was the right who have been unjustly vilified, and the left who are in fact responsible for any problems we face today. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Look, I doubt that in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children or grandchildren we will ever see anything close to a positive, effective socially and fiscally moral government, but I can tell you this: What that day does come, and that government comes into existence, it will not be a liberal government nor will it be a conservative one. Neither of these ideals are capable of ruling all people effectively. We need a combination of both liberal and conservative ideals, as well as other points of views as well, and we are never going to get there if we continue to believe that “My side is right and your side is wrong”, no matter what that side may be.

Oh, one more thing: Take a look at that poster at the beginning of the column again. Heck, you don’t even have to scroll back up, I’ll reprint it here:

Who is responsible for this poster? Not the content, we know that came from Lawrence O’Donnell by way of one of his fictional scripts (and I think we’ve proven that, despite being a very elegant and moving tome, it is in fact, fiction).

Look in the lower left hand corner, and you’ll see that this lovely little gem is brought to you by the “Anti-Republican Crusaders”. I think the name says it all, doesn’t it?Oh not just this group and this message, but more importantly the general tone of political discussion today.

I remember a time when proud Democrats and proud Republicans stood for something in this country. You asked a man or woman their political beliefs, and they told you what they stood FOR what they believed in. Sadly, those days are behind us. We don’t believe in anything these days, but we know damn sure what we’re against. We’ve become an “Anti” nation, driven not by what we believe in but rather by what we oppose, and oppose it we will at any cost. We don’t vote “for” a president (or senator or congressman) anymore, we vote “against” the other guy. That is how we end up with presidents like George Bush and Barack Obama, self-serving rudderless “leaders” whose greatest accomplishments are that they are not the person they replaced.

If you believe that the path to a better nation is to prop up one point of view and one point of view only, while doggedly opposing the other side just because they are the other side, then keep it up. Sadly, if too many of us follow that road, we’ll either end up with no country at all, or worst yet, we’ll get the country we thought we were fighting for.

But the truth is, almost every great accomplishment that we have made as a country has been made not as democrats, and not as republicans, but as Americans, working together. In every important arena of this country’s history, be it civil liberties, freedom, advancements in medicine & science, and general improvements in ANY area, there have been great successes on either side of the political spectrum, and there have been abject failures on both sides of the aisle. The intelligent among us realize that, the lazy and hateful among us don’t, and the unscrupulous and immoral among us use edited history to manipulate the laziest and most hateful among us.

Think about that the next time that someone says “You know, the Conservatives always….” or “Those liberals never….”. In politics, as in life, there is no “always” or “never”….. except on FOX and MSNBC……

It’s 2012, And I Ain’t Got Time To Hate…….

I’m not big on New Years resolutions, never have been. Not that I don’t think that we shouldn’t resolve to better ourselves, I think that it’s probably something we should do everyday…. it’s just that picking an arbitrary date to wait to start that improvement also seemed odd to me. I doubt most people wake up on January 1st and realize that they should quit smoking or lose weight. If you know you have an unhealthy habit – and you sincerely want to address it – then do something about it, whether it is January 1st, March 15th or July 14th.

Well, MY resolution is two-fold: First, I would like to start blogging again. It’s been about five months since I last blogged, and only a handful of posts in the last year or so. I’m not going to commit to a certain number of posts, I’d hope to do at least one a week, but if it’s less, it’s less.

More importantly, I’ve got to stay away from the haters. While my initial foray into blogging was a terrific experience dealing with a unique and varied number of individuals, with unique and varied opinions, the last year or two has been more like… well, I can’t even say. It’s been single-sided discussions with people incapable of discussion, and a very sad and creepy stalker experience with a real winner from Omaha.

The main group of folks I’ve dealt with have spiraled into a cesspool of hate that I thought impossible even for these narrow-mind. I mean, this is a group of folks that hate, and I mean HATE Fox News. Okay, I can understand that, I could care less for Fox News. But think about this: Is there an organization or individual that you real think sucks? If you’re a conservative, is that “target” MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz or Media Matters? And if you’re liberal, that target could be Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or, yes, Fox News. Now, imagine spending hours a day, day after day, listening watching or reading the very people who bug the hell out of you, and then spending more hours in your day writing about it. Takes a special kind of black soul to immerse yourself in something that makes you so miserable.

But then we are not talking about happy people here, are we? Today I went to a website I haven’t visited in a few months, and was both disturbed and amazed by what I found. This is the stalker I was talking about earlier, a contributor to the previous site I was discussing. I made the mistake of actually commenting on a couple of his posts. Big mistake. Outside of the childish insults and outright lies, which I’ve come to expect, this one has developed on odd obsession. Despite the fact that I haven’t visited his site in four or five months, I’ve come to find out that he is leaving comments on his own posts from me. That’s right, he is posing as me on his own posts.

These are the people to leave behind. And quickly.

So let’s see if we can have some fun in 2012, get some good discussions going, and leave the Psychos back in 2011.