Tag Archives: the religious right

The Ghost of Jim Crow

 If you follow my blog, Thought Provoking Perspectives, and I hope you do, you know that I often write about issues concerning and pertaining to the African American Diaspora. I do so, hopefully, to empower those who either don’t know our history or have forgotten it. Therefore, in honor of Black History Month I will write a post each day on this topic that I hold dear. Let me say that I believe our history is American History and as I have said many times; “It is the Greatest Story Ever Told”.

In an earlier article someone made a comment and ask a question that, frankly, surprised me. The question was; “What do you mean when you say Jim Crow”? My first thought was, how can history so recent and one that I’ve witnessed, and know to be true, be removed from the consciousness of anyone living in America. I suppose it speaks to the indifference of what is learned today, or not, through the education system or that the system is designed to protect the system.

So in today’s post I will explain the term Jim Crow for those who don’t know! The term originated in a song performed by Daddy Rice, a white minstrel show entertainer in the 1830’s. Rice covered his face with charcoal paste or burnt cork to resemble a black man as he sang and danced a routine in the caricature of a silly black person. By the 1850’s, this cruelly belittling blackface character, one of several stereotypical images of black inferiority in America’s popular culture, was a standard act in minstrel shows of the day.

The term became synonymous with the wicked concept of segregation directed specifically toward African Americans in the late nineteenth-century. It is not clear why this term was selected. However, what is clear is that by 1900, the term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites while identifying them as subordinate people.
It was around this time that its inception entered the lexicon of racial bigotry after the landmark U.S Supreme Court decision Plessy verses Ferguson in 1896 resulting from a suit brought by the New Orleans Committee of Citizens. The notion was devised as many southern states tried to thwart the efforts and gains made during Reconstruction following the Civil War.

They, the Committee of Citizens, arranged for Homer Plessy’s arrest in order to challenge Louisiana’s segregation laws. Their argument was, “We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred” referring to the confederacy. The Supreme Court agreed and a policy of segregation became the law of the land lasting more than sixty years as a result of that crucial decision.

As a result of reconstruction African Americans were able to make great progress in building their own institutions, passing civil rights laws, and electing officials to public office. In response to these achievements, southern whites launched a vicious, illegal war against southern blacks and their white allies. In most places, whites carried out this war under the cover of secret organizations such as the KKK. Thousands of African Americans were killed, brutalized, and terrorized in these bloody years. I might add that anywhere south of Canada was “South” as this was the law of the land.

The federal government attempted to stop the bloodshed by sending in troops and holding investigations, but its efforts were far too limited and frankly were not intended to solve the problem. Therefore, black resistance to segregation was difficult because the system of land tenancy, known as sharecropping, left most blacks economically dependent upon planter/landlords and merchant suppliers. In addition, white terror at the hands of lynch mobs threatened all members of the black family – adults and children alike. This reality made it nearly impossible for blacks to stand up to Jim Crow laws because such actions might bring the wrath of the white mob on one’s parents, brothers, spouse, and children.

Few black families were economically well off enough to buck the local white power structure of banks, merchants, and landlords. To put it succinctly: impoverished and often illiterate southern blacks were in a weak position to confront the racist culture of Jim Crow. To enforce the new legal order of segregation, southern whites often resorted to even more brutalizing acts of mob terror, including race riots and ritualized lynchings were regularly practiced to enforce this agenda.
Some historians saw this extremely brutal and near epidemic commitment to white supremacy as breaking with the South’s more laissez-faire and paternalistic past. Others view this “new order” as a more rigid continuation of the “cult of whiteness” at work in the South since the end of the Civil War. Both perspectives agree that the 1890’s ushered in a more formally racist South and one in which white supremacists used law and mob terror to define the life and popular culture of African American people as an inferior people.

I want you to remember that words have meaning and power. Therefore, as we witness the already in progress, presidential campaign that you think about what you have heard and hear from the States Rights folks from the right-wing so-called conservatives. Those vying to become president in 2014, as well as others seeking highly placed positions, understand this tried and true principle as they speak to the so-called real Americans and those who want to take back their country because history is known and has repeated itself!

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Purchase “Just a Season” today because Legacy – A New Season the sequel is coming!
AMAZON


The Right is Wrong

We all know the Right-wingers are engaged in an ideological battle with the intent to make the rich richer and marginalizing those who are not. This false narrative is being done by using the tried and true method of quoting the Constitution and those good Ol’ Boys, the so-called Founding Fathers, as a convenient way to get the American people or some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.

One of those candidates is Rep. Ron Paul who has lured a lot of these so called “Real American” into that camp by creating a false narrative about America’s Founding, claiming that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a weak central government and one that was equal for all people. But that’s not the real or accurate history.

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who has topped 20 percent in the first two Republican contests, is fond of claiming that the U.S. Constitution was written “to protect your liberty and to restrain the federal government,” thus making modern laws, from Social Security, to civil rights statutes, to health-care reform, unconstitutional. But that isn’t true either.

While the framers of the Constitution in 1787 undeniably cared about liberty, at least for white men, they were also practical individuals who wanted a vibrant central government that would enable the new nation to protect itself both militarily and economically, especially against European rivals.

The broad powers that the Constitution granted Congress were designed to let this central government address national problems that existed then as well as any that would arise in the future. For instance, the Constitution gave control over interstate commerce to Congress in order to counter economic advantages enjoyed by foreign competitors.

Far from Paul’s assertions that the Founders wanted a weak central government, the Founders, at least those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, understood that a great danger came from having a national authority that was too weak, what they had experienced under the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777 to 1787.

The Articles of Confederation embraced the concept of state “sovereignty” and called the United States not a government or even a nation, but “a firm league of friendship” among the states. In the Confederation’s Article II declared: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” And very few powers were delegated to the federal government.

So, in 1787, the framers of the Constitution led by Gen. George Washington, James Madison and others in the Virginia delegation scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

The Commerce Clause wasn’t some afterthought it was part of the original proposal outlined on the Constitutional Convention’s first day of substantive business on May 29, 1787. The Virginia delegation had one of its members, Edmund Randolph, include it in his opening presentation.

Virginia’s plan laid out the framework that would later become the U.S. Constitution, transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “we the people of the United States” as represented by a new national Republic.

Where Rep. Paul claims the Constitution was designed to let the American people do what they want using the word liberty as his reference point. This is just not true! Unless, of course, he is referring to the people that represent the privilege class of Americans, who happen to be wealthy and white. We needed a government that could co-ordinate commerce in order to compete effectively with other nations. So, from that first day of substantive debate at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that a legitimate role of Congress was to ensure that the nation could match up against other countries economically.

Many conservatives to include Ron Paul have worked hard in recent decades at constructing an alternative narrative. Claiming that the Founders envisioned a weak national government and were big supporters of states’ rights happen to be a storyline that is simply not supported by facts. Key framers of the Constitution even objected to adding a Bill of Rights to the original document, accepting the first 10 amendments only later as part of negotiations over ratification.

The other thing they cry about is Obamacare. This speaks to Congress’s power to address difficult national problems, like the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance but whose eventual use of medical services would inevitably shift billions of dollars in costs onto Americans who must pay higher insurance rates as a result, what courts have described as “substantial effects.”

Paul claims: It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family. They also pray for fewer regulations to the benefit of the rich.

There are some conservative legal scholars examining the Constitution and precedents who could not find a convincing argument to overturn “Obamacare” and that is because the Founders intentionally empowered Congress to address national economic problems. It was, as the Virginian delegation understood, one of the key reasons for the Constitutional Convention.

Now I say the larger goal of the right-wing is not to uphold the ideals of the Founders, who wanted a vibrant central government, but to reverse government policies dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan is to return the United States to a pre-Depression “gilded age” of a society divided into a few haves and many have-nots.

And that is my THOUGHT PRROVOKING PESPECTIVE!


The Law of Unintended Consequences

The incomparable Jackie (Morganfield) Lambert the great niece of the legendary blues man Muddy Waters has done it again. Jackie offers her powerful commentaries on “LET’S TALK ABOUT IT” every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM (est) on Spreaker.com with me and the Wild & Wonderful Brenda White. You must join us on the fastest growing political talk show on the air where we talk about the political news of the day. Oh, and all the crazy goings-on in our country. It’s a blast!!!

The Law of Unintended Consequences

In January 2010 the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from placing limits on independent spending for political purposes by corporations and unions. This case is commonly known as Citizens United. In plain English, it means that the gloves are off and moneyed interests are free to buy elections through their Political Action Committees. Let’s not forget that they have been free to use their mega bucks to buy favorable legislation for years.

Now, fast forward to January 3rd, 2012. Tonight, in Iowa, the Republican Presidential caucus is being held. One notable candidate in the field has been complaining loudly and bitterly about how outside groups have tanked his campaign through a barrage of negative ads. That candidate would be Newt Gingrich.

What I find so remarkable about this is that Mr. Gingrich is one of the founders of scorched earth politics – even going so far as to draft a memorandum to his Republican colleagues in the house of representatives to give them the most incendiary words to use in order to vilify their Democratic opponents. Mr. Gingrich was also a stalwart supporter of the Citizens United decision.

I am sure that Mr. Gingrich never envisioned that his toxic political tactics coupled with unlimited corporate contributions would combine to bite him right in the uh… Well, you know.

http:johntwills.com


Back to the Future

The insight of history is a powerful thing and I have lived long enough to have had the opportunity to witness many things. I can remember watching the KKK marching through the rural area where I lived as a small boy carrying crosses. I have also seen those strains of thinking espoused by the John Birch Society, the religious right, compassionate conservatives, and other right-wing groups during the segregated days of 1950s and 60s. Today there is a new repackaged conservatism that is a diverse movement with many philosophical threads and tensions who call themselves the Tea Party.

In my view, the rise of the Tea Party movement is nothing more than a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since Roosevelt as unconstitutional, to include many civil rights initiatives. The reason, I believe is because from that point in our country’s history the government became socially conscience and began to address the needs of the elderly, the poor, and the least of thee. This element of society typically perceives these issues as dangerous threats to freedom and to the well-educated elitists that support “American values” or as they say the “Real Americans”.

Let me be a critic for a moment. These compassionate folks tend to show their compassion, often times, in support of big-business with their public rhetoric intended for their own self-serving agendas. For example, last week Rep. Joe Barton apologized to BP as if they were the victims of what is happening in the gulf. While basically calling the President a thug with the “shakedown” comment of the company for $20 billion on behalf of those hurt by the gulf oil spill. This is embarrassing precisely because it underscored how far this element is to the extreme as it relates to mainstream America. When faced with a choice between supporting a large British corporation or a federal government battling for compensation of the disaster’s victims, Barton sided with Big Oil as did many of his conservative counterparts.

Now, the guy did or was forced to apologize because of pressure from other Republican leaders, but many in the party and on the right continue to echo his views. Like the Republican Study Committee made up of more than 115 House conservatives called the escrow fund a “Chicago-style shakedown” while leaders of certain factions of the Tea Party called it “extortion”. Could it be that the stock they may have in such companies really be the reason for their greater concern.

A group called Tea Party Patriots that describes itself as “a community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!” Tea Party Nation says it is “a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers.” My question is to them; have they read the original Constitution? These Founding Fathers were really terrorists and the same men who owned slaves, wrote in it that Negroes were 3/5th a man, and denied women all rights. Is this what they want to go back too?

What’s remarkable is the extent to which the movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy. The religious conservatives have not disappeared, and Palin, a Tea Party hero, does share their views on abortion and gay marriage. But these issues have been overshadowed by the broader anti-government themes pushed by the New Old Right, and the “compassionate conservatism” that inspires parts of the Christian political movement has no place in the right’s current order of battle. This seems un-American to me, dangerous, and frankly resurrecting an American that even they want to forget.

Please visit: http://johntwillschronicles.com


%d bloggers like this: