Friday, July 27, 2018

A Southern Dilemma: How Not to Antagonize New Black Conservatives; Dealing With Dinesh D'Souza

Over at Twitter I am very pleased to see the number of black conservatives who have joined the MAGA ("Make America Great Again") movement.  I link to every black conservative I find.  However, I see many of them buying into Dinesh D'Souza's interpretations of American history, which I believe are flawed and downright dishonest.  I say that as a well-read Confederate descendant who regularly disputes the Northern Myth, that the North and the 19th Century Republicans fought the Civil War to free the slaves and make black people full equals in the American dream.

I generally avoid arguments with fellow conservatives on Twitter about this history, to avoid disunity in our support for Donald Trump, and to avoid hard feelings between us.  The here and now is more important than what happened 150 years ago; nevertheless, wholescale distortion of that history by D'Souza does grate on me.  He is insulting my ancestors, my family, and indirectly, me.  And he is not the only culprit:  recently Rush Limbaugh spouted some ahistorical nonsense, comparing modern Democrats to the Confederates of the 1860s.

Yesterday a prominent conservative listed all the sins of the Democratic Party.  I found his interpretation superficial.  Among other claims he made was that "Democrats started the Civil War."  No, Democrats did not.  They exercised their Constitutional and natural right to secede from a political union, much as the U.K. recently did from the European Union.  It was Lincoln and Lincoln alone who decided to go to war to prevent the South from leaving, and even plotted with his generals to push the South into firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, for propaganda purposes, as recommended by his Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Wells.

Some Republicans (like D'Souza) hate to hear it and even deny it, but yes, the two political parties have indeed changed sides since the 19th Century.  Lincoln's GOP was authoritarian, anti-Constitutional, believed the Federal government to be superior to the states, supported corporate welfare for Northern businesses, high taxes, and all sorts of political shenanigans to ensure the GOP's hold on power -- like illegally forming a new state, West Virginia, to give Lincoln more electoral votes, marching the army to the polls with orders to vote for Lincoln, shutting down opposition newspapers and jailing the editors, arresting and imprisoning thousands of people on suspicion alone, illegally suspending habeas corpus, and the list goes on.  Lincoln was the biggest tyrant in U.S. history, and he didn't care much for black people.

The Democrats of that time period resented and opposed the high taxes that fell mainly on the South, believed in a small and limited federal government that was the servant, not the master, of the states.

I am a Republican today because it is NOT the same party of 1860.  Race relations has little to do with it.  However, I am happy that black people are progressing in modern society, making more money, enjoying a better lifestyle, and more and more of them are becoming my allies and friends.

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