does anyone need another example of positive ANYMORE?

JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need. JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Feb 17 14:07:24 UTC 2008

On Friday, 15 Feb 2008 02:57:15 Zulu – 0500, Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM wrote:

This was in Missouri, a former slave state wherein the last Indian of
the Missouri tribe, a branch of the Lakota, died of alcoholism in
1935. Were you living in the United States in 1944, James? At that
time, in this country, segregation [sic – should be capital S] was
either de jure or de facto the law in all 48 states.  <snip>

Am I the only one here who knows that "land of the free" and "with
liberty and justice for all" are nothing but sick jokes and will still
be nothing but that, should either Hillary or Barack be elected with
100% of the total vote?

I’d like to expand on Dr. Gray’s remarks.

“Land of the free” is of course from Francis Scott Key, who lived in an area where slavery was practiced.  What did Key say and do about slavery?

As a slave owner and an advocate for a solution to slavery, Key was in the middle of a contentious issue during a period of re-evaluating the benefits and costs of human bondage. As a lawyer, Key was involved in a number of slave cases on both sides of the issue. He represented slave owners in their battles over property rights and also advocated, without pay, for free blacks who unjustly were being sold back into slavery. Key joined the growing colonization movement that sought to establish African colonies where American slaves and free blacks could form an enlightened black republic. In December 1816, Key was on the committee that wrote the constitution of the American Colonization Society and later became a member of its board of managers. In early 1819, Key was chosen as one of thirteen collections agents who were tasked with trying to raise money to pay for the cost of starting the colony. Key called it "the begging business" and solicited money as a part of his travel!
 s. He remained involved in the colonization society for more than twenty-five years, advocating for development of Africa, the suppression of the slave trade and the use of American military resources to protect the new black colonies. Despite his advocacy for the colonization movement, he opposed abolitionists and as district attorney of Washington, DC, went so far as to prosecute an abolitionist "agitator." Nonetheless he emancipated his own slaves and maintained his free black servant, Clem, his entire life.

What was the purpose behind Segregation?  It was “to keep the Negro in his place.”  This does not necessarily mean physical separation (even the most ardent Seggie depended on a “colored woman” to clean his house/castle) but rather ensure blacks remained *powerless*.

Remember that word *powerless*.  It is the key to understanding race relations in the US up through the present day.

To keep the Negro in his place, it was essential that he (and she) not be allowed to vote.  If blacks could vote, they would vote for officeholders who would empower blacks, or in other words they would vote out Segregation.  So despite the 15th Amendment, the South adopted de jure and de facto measures that kept blacks from voting.

(I don’t have data on black voting outside the South, but the fact that for many years Adam Clayton Powell of Harlem was the only African-American in Congress should say something.)

Therefore, despite the 15th Amendment, politics remained a white-only activity.  (Also male-only, but that’s a different story.)

Let us go back half a century, to the days when the Civil Rights movement was one of the leading political issues.  It is to the eternal credit of the otherwise-mediocre Kennedy brothers that they saw the importance of voting and aggressively pursued the right for blacks to vote.  And, thanks to the Kennedys and other politicians of both parties, it worked.

But the black vote scared most politicians of both parties.  Their white-only male-only world was toppling.  So what did they do?

Very simple.  The Democratic and the Republican parties got together secretly and flipped a coin.  The Democrats lost the coin toss and as a result had to take the black vote.

So…blacks could no longer be prevented from voting, so what could be done to keep them more or less powerless.  The answer was to marginalize the black vote.  How to marginalize it?  By setting things up so that all blacks voted the straight Democratic ticket.  That way the Republican party (which won the coin toss) could ignore the black vote altogether, and the Democrats could use the black community as a constant source of straight-party voters who would vote for the candidates of the white male Democratic establishment.

Nifty.  Blacks got to vote, but their votes were, by and large, meaningless, since they always voted as the white male establishment wanted them to.  In return Democratic candidates had to make, uh, *token* measures to keep blacks happy, but the black vote remained marginalized.

Consider Congress.  There are a number of black Representatives (but iirc it is less than 10% of the House).  They are formed into something misleadingly named the “Black Congressional Caucus”.  It is however a down-the-line Democratic party operation.  When a black man had the temerity to be elected to Congress on a Republican ticket, the Caucus showed how meaningless their name was by refusing to let him join.

In the Senate there is presently *one* black Senator, namely Mr. Obama.  I hate to say this, but in the Senate he is a token.  The Senate cannot be said to have been integrated until there are at least four black Senators.  Why four?  So on some important issue they can split two-and-two.  If they split three-and-one then it is easy to accuse the one of being an Oreo cookie or whatever.  This is much harder to do with a two-and-two split.  So the Senate is still a white-only institution

Or consider Bill Clinton.  He has a reputation as a friend of African-Americans and as “the first black President.”  In fact he is a typical prejudiced white Southerner who has only been dragged halfway into the Twentieth Century.  He thinks he is treating blacks as equals when in fact he unconsciously thinks of them as “house niggers” who do whatever he commands them (such as playing golf with him or supporting his policies down-the-line.)

Just one example.  When Clinton became President he inherited General Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Powell had done the one thing generals are supposed to do, which is win wars, and he had not just won the Gulf War but done so efficiently and with a minimum of American casualties.  That would, I think, make him someone to be listened to.

But no.  Clinton treated him as one more black servant.  Specifically Clinton had made campaign promises about gays in the military.  Now he had to produce.  So he casually ordered Powell to carry through on the Clinton campaign promises.  But Powell disagreed with Clinton’s ideas.  To Clinton, this made him an “uppity nigger” and Clinton canned him and tried to carry through his program without further advice from the military.  Result---that goofy “don’t ask don’t tell” that nobody likes, and worse created a mutual distrust between Clinton and the military that seriously plagued the entire Adminstration.  All because Clinton judged General Powell by his race.

Now I have to disagree with Dr. Gray.  He says “should either Hillary or Barack be elected…”  His mistake is in failing to realize that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic establishment’s candidate.  Obama is not just the outsider, he is a threat to the entire establishment.

It almost doesn’t matter whether H. Clinton or Obama gets the nomination.  Simply by managing to tie Clinton and stay in a tie for so long, Obama has become the most dangerous man in America.  He is the first African-American political leader to find a following in White America.  He is the first African-American to break out of the ghetto created by that coin-toss half a century ago.  The white Democratic establishment is at the moment too spellbound by the question of Hillary-or-Barack to notice it, but Obama, even if he loses, may have successors, and they threaten to de-marginalize the African-American vote.

After which, the Deluge?

        - Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

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