Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is being run out of professional basketball for racist comments he made in private while both Democrats and Republicans rightly cheer. Racism, many in the media would tell you, is no longer acceptable in America. But that’s a lie. Racism in America is dying, but it’s not dead yet. It’s being kept alive by the Democratic Party.
I recently went to New York to see Bryan Cranston on Broadway play President Lyndon Baines Johnson in All The Way. It was an excellent performance, but it was an incredibly well-crafted piece of propaganda.
The hero, LBJ, has to fight racist Republicans and many Democrats to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He feels compelled to do this because it’s right and it finished the work of JFK, whom he replaced after Kennedy was assassinated. But although JFK is routinely cited as a civil rights hero, it’s rarely noted he did little more than pay lip service to the cause, constantly putting off the NAACP because he was afraid it would hurt him in the 1964 election. In other words, President Kennedy put his own political fortune ahead of what was right. Not exactly the quality one seeks in a hero.
But LBJ would not be stopped, at least according to the play. And he really does deserve credit for pushing what JFK wouldn’t try. But the cooperation of Republicans, without whom Democrats would have filibustered and blocked the bill, is downplayed.
This is how history is written – not in books or the public record, but in the minds of a disconnected public that gets its news from pop culture. LBJ’s racism also is downplayed – he’s simply a man working to do what is right, though often in a Machiavellian way. The play refers to LBJ’s Great Society, but only in passing – it focuses on the Civil Rights Act and his election in November 1964. This leaves the audience with an incomplete picture of LBJ’s legacy, one that perpetuates the myth of an altruistic hero.
But that altruistic hero went on to implement anti-poverty programs that have trapped generations of Americans in poverty and created a loyal base of voters for his party that successive Democrats have exploited to obtain and maintain power.
“Vote for us and we’ll give you stuff” has been the subtext of every major Democratic campaign of the last 40 years. In the black community, this scare tactic has been cynically married to the charge of racism, creating a 1-2 punch that ensures the Democrats’ power base, even though blacks’ unemployment rate stands at 11.6 now – nearly twice that of all Americans and higher than any other ethnic group. How’s that loyalty working out?