Thursday, September 21, 2006

This is the Black GOP?


Race is playing a prominent role in the Maryland Senate campaign. Richard Steele, the first black candidate elected statewide in Maryland, faces a white Democrat, Benjamin L. Cardin, in a heavily Democratic state with the highest percentage of black residents -- 29% -- of any state outside the South (I didn’t know that Maryland isn’t considered to be part of “the South,” but that’s a different conversation entirely).

Recently an ad sponsored by a Republican group ran on televisions across Maryland, claiming that "Dr. (Martin Luther) King was a real man. You know he was a Republican," and "Democrats passed those black codes and Jim Crow laws. Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan."
What we have here are inaccurate statements that are only meant to inflame black voters. It is the type of political truth stretching exercise that occurs regularly during campaigns, no doubt. What surprises me is that this ad is sponsored by a national black Republican group.

First let me say that there is no evidence that Dr. King was a Republican; that is simply made up. Steve Klein, a senior researcher with the Atlanta-based King Center, said that King never endorsed candidates from either party. "I think it's highly inaccurate to say he was a Republican because there's really no evidence," Klein said. A King biographer, Taylor Branch, also said Thursday that King was nonpartisan.

I guess one can say that the issue of Democrats being the party that started the Ku Klux Klan is a bit more complex, but I find myself insulted when I think about the fact that this Republican group believes that blacks are so uneducated that we just might believe the nonsense they are spewing.

Whenever in front of a black audience, a Republican candidate will never waste a chance to laud him or herself as representing “the party of Abraham Lincoln,” pointing to the fact that Lincoln was the President who freed the slaves (this point is arguable, but I will concede that it is true enough). It is also true that at that point in American history most of the southern states were Democrats. So, like true Republicans, they look at the numbers and take them as fact, rather than think longer about the causes of said numbers (I often enjoy Heritage Foundation reports that suggest blacks are a weaker race of people because a small percentage of us are highly educated and a high percentage of us are incarcerated, ignoring the socio-economic barriers we face. It’s amusing…).

This black Republican group is preying on the supposed ignorance of black folks in Maryland, believing that they do not understand the change in political climate since 1867, the inception of the Ku Klux Klan. Since they won’t point it out, I will: as they are relevant to black issues, the ideological views of Democrats and Republicans switched during the New Deal of the 1930’s.

It saddens me that black folks would think so lowly of other black folks, whatever the arena. To call this “politics as usual” would further my disappointment in this Republican group, as they should be using this arena to further our cause. To his credit, Richard Steele denounced the ad, saying "I don't know exactly what the intent of the ad was" but that "it's not helpful to the public discourse." Forget political party affiliation, I hope Steele is true to form, and is one of the good guys.

I find this black Republican group to be despicable...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Michael Steele was uncontested in the Maryland primary on the Republican ticket. I was disheartened when I went to the polls earlier this month because of the low turnout. A Steele versus Mfume race would have made Maryland an interesting place to watch.