– In his June 7 column, “Republicans now the party of ‘no’ on any kind of social progress,” Leigh Donaldson makes one accurate statement: “The history behind conservative and right-wing ideology is very telling.”

Yes, it was Republicans who amended the U.S. Constitution to grant blacks freedom (13th Amendment), citizenship (14th Amendment) and the right to vote (15th Amendment).

Yes, it was Republican President Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to desegregate Arkansas schools. And, yes, it was Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen who fought to enact civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, and 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. praised Dirksen’s “able and courageous leadership.” Meanwhile, George Wallace, Democratic governor of Alabama, stood in front of an Alabama schoolhouse in 1963 and thundered, “segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” And it was current Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, “the conscience of the Senate” and former “Keagle” of the Ku Klux Klan, who filibustered against passage of the 1964 civil rights bill for 14 hours.

Democrats promise a man a fish a day to eat from the catch of others. Republicans give a man the opportunity to fish and feed himself for a lifetime.

Space limitations preclude my addressing Donaldson’s other spurious allegations of Republican intransigence and his demonizing of those he accuses of demonization.

Likely diagnosis: severe case of Republican Derangement Syndrome. Possible symptoms: blaming George W. Bush for the breakup of the Gores’ marriage or the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Treatment plan: Hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

 


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