By Bob Bennett
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
—Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural speech
And still, we bleed.
The left, heartened by the removal of the flag from atop the South Carolina State House, has moved on to disinterring Confederate General and early Klan leader, Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from a Memphis public park.
Now they’re protesting the fleur-de-lis on the helmets of the New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana state flag. Why? Because runaway slaves were branded with the symbol in 1724. This ignores the fact the French were the first to abolish slavery, in 1794, during their revolution. And the fleur-de-lis has been a symbol of France since the 12th century.
They forget, too, that the Maid of Orléans—later Sainted—carried a white banner bearing the fleur-de-lis when she led French troops to victory over the English, and the Roman Catholic Church made it the special emblem of the Virgin Mary.
Understandably, Black Americans have an acute sensitivity to reminders of their bondage. But, must all symbols having any taint of race be swept away, no matter what they mean to others? And what does this really do for Blacks?
Progressives, ever yearning for their own revolution, are pursuing a gleeful symbol purge in the more Republican South, devoid of any deference to the nine Black Americans murdered at prayer—and their families, whose forgiveness moved the Nation. The Left’s implication is that Republicans were responsible for slavery, when it was, in reality the work of Democrats.
The Left is all about exploiting racial symbols, while simultaneously making every effort to forever bar Blacks from the American dream. These are the goals of Democrats, and they have ample time to work on it, since they spend zero time on good governance.
If we are to have a war on symbols, let it be all-out war—let us purge all racial symbols.
And why go back to the Civil War, when symbols of racism from a more recent era abound? What is the reason to skip over the segregation era—could it be because it was Democrats who devised and defended Jim Crow—segregationists with a direct connection to some of today’s top Democrats?
First and foremost was Senator J. William Fulbright, one of the Democrats who signed the 1956 Southern Manifesto, a statement of support for segregation and refusal to obey Brown v Board of Education. Ninety-nine Southern Democrats and 2 Republicans signed it. After a single term in the House, Fulbright served as Arkansas’s senator for 30 years.
He was one mentor of Bill Clinton; Arkansas Gov. Orville Faubus was the other. Recall that Faubus used the Arkansas National Guard to bar nine Black students from attending Little Rock’s Central HS, in 957. Here’s a look back on a history Democrats would like to conceal.
On September 24, 1957 Republican President Eisenhower spoke on television to the Nation. He made this declaration, which may ring strangely in the ears of some, after six years of lawlessness and often-violent protests encouraged by the White House:
“The very basis of our individual rights and freedoms rests upon the certainty that the President and the Executive Branch of Government will support and insure the carrying out of the decisions of the Federal Courts, even when necessary, with all the means at the President’s command.”
That night, one of the Black students, Melba Pattillo, was awakened by the doorbell and loud voices. Her mother took a shotgun to the door. Seeing white men on the porch, she said, “State your business, gentlemen, or I’ll be forced to do mine.” The reply was:
“We’re from the office of the President of the United States; please open your door,” said one of the men. “We have a message from your president.” After showing their identification, they told Melba’s mother, “Let your daughter go back to school, and she will be protected.”
Eisenhower had nationalized the Arkansas Guard and sent in elements of the 101st Airborne to enforce Brown. Thus does a president enforce the law, rather than flouting it.
As president, Bill Clinton bestowed the racist Fulbright the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and delivered a moving eulogy on the dedication of a bronze statue of him, which stands, to this day, on the grounds of Arkansas University. That must be removed.
Fulbright created the Fulbright Scholarship Program, which shall be re-named, and in 1982, the University of Arkansas dedicated the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Its website declares, “Fulbright College is committed to Fulbright’s belief that knowledge promotes tolerance and understanding among peoples.” That must be renamed, as well.
Fulbright participated in a record-breaking 57-day filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s an Embarrassing Truth that Al Gore Sr., father of the 2000 Presidential nominee, did also.
Bill Clinton emulated his mentor: he “refused to enforce a court-ordered affirmative action plan while president and was himself sued for discriminating against his black employees while he was Governor of Arkansas.
Democratic Senator Carl Vinson, another staunch segregationist who signed the Southern Manifesto, served 50 years in Congress. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, was named after him, an honor rarely given to a living person. That, of course, must be renamed.
Vinson mentored Lyndon Johnson, who later became president and father of the Great Society. A steward on Air Force One heard LBJ say: “I’ll have them n—-rs voting Democratic for two hundred years,” referring to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he is credited with. However, it was only a retread of Ike’s 1957 Civil Rights Act, which LBJ had gutted of its enforcement provisions.
Another Democratic segregationist who joined in the filibuster and signed the Southern Manifesto—which he had a big hand in writing—was Senator Richard B. Russell. A seven-foot marble statue of him stands in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, which is named for Russell. He once said:
“As one who was born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old South, with six generations of my forebears now resting beneath Southern soil, I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders.”
Obviously, the statue must be removed and the building renamed.
Russell mentored Senator Robert C. Byrd, who spoke for 14 hours, 13 minutes during the filibuster. Byrd was the longest-serving member of Congress. He had been a member of the Klan, holding titles of Imperial Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops.
Democrats called him “the Conscience of the Senate.” Hillary Clinton eulogized Byrd as a “friend and mentor.”
He is quoted as saying, in opposition to Truman’s partial desegregation of the Armed Forces: that he would never fight “with a negro by my side. Rather, I should die 1,000 times than to see this beloved land become degraded by race mongrels.”
Making this right will require name changes of over 47 buildings, 11 bridges, highways and dams, which were named after Byrd and his wife.
Bob Bennett is a New York-based writer who has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, and has appeared on Fox and Friends and America’s Newsroom. He has traveled widely and written travel pieces for the NY Post, a cover article for the Jewish Press, and an op-ed for the medical journal Cancer Biotherapy & Radioimmunotherapy. Bob was also award-winning producer of a travel radio show heard on New York stations: WMCA, WNWK and 50,000 watt WOR and the national Sky Angel Network. He now blogs on Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Community and Red State Diaries.