White Backlash

The strategy of raising racial and religious hatred isn’t new in US society of in US politics. The KKK has been around since the 1870s; the Nazis since the 1930s; the Know Nothings long before both.

In politics, we had George Wallace in 1964 — the white racist response to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1963.  Wallace proudly proclaimed “segregation now, segregation forever.” Other racist former Democrats simply defects to the GOP on passage of the Civil Rights Act. Prior to that, the GOP leader in the Senate, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, had played an instrumental role in passing the Act. After that, the GOP started it’s swing away from moderation that has culminated in Trump.

President Lyndon Johnson, himself a Texan, had choice words for those who you pander to racist sentiment. In a speech in Texas on November 6, 1966, he said,

I can think of nothing more dangerous, more divisive, or more self-destructive than the effort to prey on what is called “white backlash.” I thought it was a mistake to pump this issue up in the 1964 campaign, and I do not think it served the purpose of those  who did. I think it is dangerous because it threatens to vest power in the hands of second-rate men whose only qualification is their ability to pander to other men’s fears. I think it divides this nation at a very critical time — and therefore weakens us as a united country.”

Please keep this in mind as you vote today.


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