We ran this editorial back in 2008, once right after The Trentonian published it, and again at the time of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Here it is again.
Published in The Trentonian, Friday, February 1, 2008
Speaking of apologies...Exuding righteousness, Democrats who control the N. J. legislature recently led an effort to proffer an official state apology for slavery. the apology presumably included within its sweeping mea-culpa ambit even those many New Jersey citizens whose forbears arrived in this country after slavery had been abolished and thus had nothing remotely to do with it. The New Jersey apology, at least, made no exceptions for this extensive category.
The legislature's heralded and hailed effort leads us to wonder aloud: Would these righteousness-exuding New Jersey Democrats now be willing to position themselves in the forefront of an initiative to apologize for their own national party's long and ignoble history of racism? Not that the Republican Party's own history on matters of race is unexceptionable, mind you. Far, far from it. But the GOP's record on racial issues can't remotely approach the out-and-out odiousness, spanning decades, of the Democratic Party's.
This sorry, shameful record has been disinterred in economist Bruce Bartlett's book, "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past." So New Jersey's Democratic legislators would be spared the burden of research to support a formal party apology as a plank in the upcoming national convention platform. In an article in The American Spectator recently, Jeffrey Lord, one-time Reagan White House aide, suggested such a platform. Lord is, of course, a conservative polemicist and -- Democrats might understandably object -- a partisan troublemaker. Yet facts are facts, as it's often said, and Lord's summation of the Democratic racial record is not something easily waved aside. Certainly the record is nothing Democratic legislators can shrug off as ancient history or water over the dam -- especially not after having ostentatiously championed the slavery apology.
Here's a brief sampling of the Democratic Party's racial record:
- Six national party platforms, 1840-1860, spoke out vehemently in support of slavery.
- The national party platform in 1864 declared the Union's military efforts to quell the slavery-supporting Confederacy a "failure" and demanded negotiations with a view toward at least a partial acceptance of slavery.
- At the 1900 national convention, the Democratic Party remained silent on the issue of race as de facto and de jure discrimination leached like toxic waste into all corners of America -- especially in the solidly Democratic South. (The GOP platform that year, in contrast, stated that "the plain purpose" of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was to "prevent discrimination on account of race or color in regulating the elective franchise." The Republican platform added: "Devices of state government ... to avoid the purpose of this amendment ... should be condemned.")
- Four Democratic Party national platforms (1908-1920) were silent on the issues of lynching, segregation and voting-rights suppression of African Americans. (The GOP platforms in those years addressed these issues.)
- The 1924 Democratic National Convention, held in New York City, defeated a proposed platform plank condemning Ku Klux Klan violence. The party confab was dubbed with fully justifiable derision the Democrats' "Klanbake." (Noteworthy local angle: In celebration of the platform victory, 10,000 pointed-hooded Klansmen rallied across the river in New Jersey, cavorting triumphantly around burning crosses.)
Do we hear a motion for a Democratic Party apology?--The Trentonian