Missed Opportunity? Jeb Bush Labels the Confederate Flag ‘Racist’

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Ft. Sumter

The Confederate battle flag has been removed from Ft. Sumter.

by Maureen Dowling

You might disagree with this and I’d really like to know what you think.

Jeb Bush said the Confederate flag is “racist”, end of story.

Instead of acknowledging that the Confederate flag means a lot of different things to different people, he simply labeled it “racist” on Monday, unintentionally suggesting that anyone who flies one is a racist.

During his first campaign stopover in South Carolina, he played into a Democrat narrative and insulted a lot of innocent people who don’t think about the Civil War or the segregation of the 1960s when they fly the flag to honor their ancestors who died in the war or who merely fly it out of Southern pride.

He inadvertently let what amounts to an attack on Republicans as the party of racism continue unquestioned.

When Nikki Haley took the flag down from the grounds of the Capitol, she put it thoughtfully, reminding people of the noble traditions the flag now stands for in many peoples’ minds.

Democrat Fritz Hollings was the one who initially raised the flag over the state’s Capitol in 1961 when he was governor. While later claiming it had nothing to do with racism, Fritz at the time was a leading segregationist with a long history of racial slurs.

In an article entitled, “Warnings by Hollings, in the New York Times, March 17, 1960, Hollings warned against lunch counter segregation. In the article, Hollings warned that “today that South Carolina would not permit ‘explosive’ manifestations in connection with Negro demands for lunch-counter services.” Hollings called a news conference and “challenged President Eisenhower’s contention that minorities had the right to engage in certain types of demonstrations” against segregation. Hollings told reporters at the press conference that Eisenhower was “confused” and had done “great damage to peace and good order” by supporting the rights of minorities to protest segregation at the lunch counters.

The Civil Rights Movement Veterans reported another comment from Hollings on the issue: “To oppose any form of integration, 350 businessmen form a White Citizens Council in Rock Hill and South Carolina Governor (later U.S. Senator) Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings supports them with the assertion that the sit-ins “..are purely to create violence and not to promote anyone’s rights.”

No one is saying Democrats feel that way now but racism is mostly their history, and Republicans allow a false tale to be spun by not counteracting it when it comes up.

When this battle took place several years ago, Republicans, including Bush and Romney, did the same thing.

Jeb Bush said he took down the Confederate battle flag when he was governor because he said it was a ‘racist’ flag. He wanted to eliminate the controversy and avoided opening old wounds, adding that symbols that divided the country were removed, a laudable goal, however, the Confederate flag doesn’t shout “racism” to many people today, something Bush didn’t mention. He also didn’t mention that it was a Democratic conception.

Journalist DeRoy Murdock, as a black man, supports taking the flag down, but reminds people that it was the Democrats who came up with it.

He reviewed the history briefly during an interview last week. He said, it has been a Democratic symbol for years and years, started by people of the Confederacy who were anti-Republican. It was run up the flagpole outside the South Carolina capitol in 1961 to commemorate the centennial of the Confederate war. Racist Democrat George Wallace ran it up the flagpole outside the Statehouse in Alabama to “stick it” to RFK who was flying down to discuss racial integration. As recently as 2003, Howard Dean, while running for President, said, “White folks of the South who drive pick up trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us” and two years later he became Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Murdock said Democrats have done an excellent job of disappearing behind a “smokescreen” and “letting the whole history of their support of segregation and racism just recede into the past.”

Republicans have done a terrible job of reminding people of the fact that the Democrats were the ones – George Wallace, Orville Faubus, Albert Gore Sr, Robert Byrd – “they’re the ones who were for segregation, who filibustered against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and as recently as the Bill Clinton campaign, you had Clinton Confederate flag buttons for Clinton and Gore.”

They’ve changed their tunes over the years but they need to recognize their history, he said.

I already posted what Civil Rights icon Andrew Young said about the flag but it’s worth posting again. He doesn’t worry about the flag, he cares about the 93% of black people who are being killed by other blacks. He wants jobs for blacks.

Andrew Young at MLK jr's funeral

Andrew Young pointing to where the shots came from

(Top photo) Andrew Young at the funeral of MLK Jr., (Bottom) Andrew Young on the left pointing to where the shots came from)

Rev. Young’s comments are inspirational. This is a man who was a good friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and was with him when he was gunned down. He doesn’t waste time hating, he worries about what is important now.

This is what Republicans should be saying.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. You do realize that the type of Sourhern Democrat that approved of segregation long ago jumped ship to the GOP (see Nixon’s Southern Statagy ) and that the base of the GOP today has much more in common with the old Dixicrats than any modern Democrat ? You do remember that when the Democratic Party in the 60s championed Civil Rights the whole swath of white Southen Democrats jumped ship for the GOP ? So that the racism of the 60s ,that was part of the Democrats legacy , when the Dems rightly and justly delt with it ,they purged the party for the most part of those racist Dixicrats. They are the Republican’s problem now. … This is part of the ignorant meme coming from the Right that just because Lincoln and the GOP that existed before 1970 was on the right side of history , that that means it’s the same GOP today. It’s not. At least not the base. The base of the GOP is composed of the type of people who would have opposed Civil Rights. It’s not the same party it was at that time , And neither is the Democratic Party.

    • David, that’s the meme coming from the left. Some did become GOP as you said, but most stayed with the Democratic Party and refashioned themselves – the Gores, the Byrds, so many others, have found a new way to enslave blacks and all of us for that matter. Look at the cities they rule and tell me they’ve done right by minorities.

      The fact of the matter is only a handful of Dixiecrats switched sides; most of them remained Dixiecrats for life.

      Concerning the whitewashing of the Democratic Party’s history, Mona Charen writes:

      The Democrats have been sedulously rewriting history for decades. Their preferred version pretends that all of the Democratic racists and segregationists left their party and became Republicans starting in the 1960s. How convenient. If it were true that the South began to turn Republican due to Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act, you would expect that the Deep South, the states most associated with racism, would have been the first to move. That’s not what happened. The first southern states to trend Republican were on the periphery: North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. (George Wallace lost these voters in his 1968 bid.) The voters who first migrated to the Republican Party were suburban, prosperous, “New South” types. The more Republican the South has become, the less racist.

  2. But…. the republican party IS the party of racism!
    American racists are republican, but not all American republicans are racists.
    It’s going to tank the GOP, yet again.

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