Not too long ago I saw a comment at a local blog that referred to the Democratic Party as the party of slavery and whose members ultimately formed the Ku Klux Klan. I wish I could say I was surprised at this example of ignorance; alas it is becoming all too common. The reason for this is what I call the Deception Industry. I am not going to touch on all aspects or enumerate the many members in good standing of this club, though Brian Sikma of MediaTrackers and the writers for the MacIver Institute are local examples. Instead, I want to talk about an especially egregious sample; Ann Coulter and her April 18 column titled “Negroes with Guns.”
This is a classic example of presenting just enough truthiness. The intent to get it picked up by the ignorant and repeated ad nauseum.
It’s Coulter’s contention that in the wake of the Travon Martin fatal shooting – assuming Mr. Zimmerman did indeed stalk the youngster – that African Americans should join the NRA, “…America’s oldest and most august civil rights organization.” She continues:
“Gun control laws were originally promulgated by Democrats to keep guns out of the hands of blacks. This allowed the Democratic policy of slavery to proceed with fewer bumps and, after the Civil War, allowed the Democratic Ku Klux Klan to menace and murder black Americans with little resistance.
(Contrary to what illiterates believe, the KKK was an outgrowth of the Democratic Party, with overlapping membership rolls. The Klan was to the Democrats what the American Civil Liberties Union is today: Not every Democrat is an ACLU’er, but every ACLU’er is a Democrat. Same with the Klan.) “
Of course in the world that is Coulter the fact that her statement is only half the truth doesn’t matter; Democrats have been smeared and Republicans presented as the heroes of black emancipation. The problem is, as I wrote, it’s not completely true.
If Coulter knew her history or was interested in presenting it truthfully (that word again), she might note that the Democratic Party of the Civil War era was split into two factions: The Northern and the Southern Democrats. The Northern Democrats – almost all who were in favor of eliminating slavery – worked to this end in concert with, yes, the Republican Party. It was the Southern Democrats who opposed the elimination of slavery and who seceeded from the Union and provided the literal spark that started our Civil War.
Yes, the two factions agreed on many things; enough so that the southerners remained in the Democratic Party for years. But ultimately, as we know, the coalition of anti-slavery forces defeated the south. Coulter’s disingenuous statement, “…Republicans eventually had to fight a Civil War to get the Democrats to give up slavery,” is simply misleading.
Who were the Southern Democrats? Its members had a deep resentment towards blacks and Republicans. While a number of Northern Democrats joined the Republican Party because of its anti-slavery stance, the conservative and pro-slavery wing of the Democratic Party (Southern Democrats) remained and would eventually form the nucleus of the original Ku Klux Klan. Make no mistake about it, Coulter’s use of the name, Democratic Party, is meant to impugn all Democrats and distract from the real truth – the move by Southern Democrats to their new home, the Republican Party. Southern Democrats were the party of racism, anti-civil rights, two more incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan and … they are today’s most conservative stalwarts of the Republican Party. A fact Coulter does not want her minions to know.