Sorry, GOP, You’re The Party Of President Klan Robe Now, Not Lincoln
Kevin McCarthy, the moron who might become House Speaker in a couple years, released a video Saturday with Tim Scott, the junior senator from South Carolina, where they celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first Black American’s admission into Congress.
Modern Republicans insist on calling themselves the Party of Lincoln, although they have little in common with the great emancipator, either politically or morally. Ted “Wolfman” Cruz grew a beard this year, but that doesn’t change the fact that the current GOP is a pack of neo-Confederate frauds with limited interest in a democracy that actively involves Black people.
It's especially odious now when most Republicans, including McCarthy, are refusing to acknowledge the presidential election results because they don’t like the outcome. McCarthy recently, as in just the other day, supported a despotic effort to have the Supreme Court toss out millions of legally cast ballots because the “wrong” (i.e. Black) people had voted for Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump. That antidemocratic stunt will rank up there with the November 9, 1860 resolution from the Southern states to declare Abraham Lincoln’s election a “hostile act."
The Republican Party is the Party of Lincoln, grounded in the values of freedom and equality for all people. 150 y… https://t.co/cdP5lt3tTA— Kevin McCarthy (@Kevin McCarthy)1607787780.0
Black people overwhelmingly voted for Biden, and Trump’s thugs with dime store law degrees have targeted Black communities and cast spurious, unproven allegations of fraud on our votes.
McCarthy won’t even acknowledge Biden’s win that Black voters helped deliver. Now, this asshole wants to talk about Mr. Joseph Rainey. OK, let’s talk about him.
Rainey was born into slavery in 1832 in Georgetown, South Carolina. His father, Edward, was “allowed” to work independently, and he built a successful trade as a barber. Of course, he was legally required to hand over a cut of his earnings to the lazy sack of shit who “owned” him. Edward Rainey still saved enough to “purchase" the freedom of himself and his family, which was rightfully theirs in the first place.
Joseph Rainey followed in his father’s footsteps as a barber. When the Civil War broke out, Rainey was conscripted to fight for the continued enslavement of other Black people, but he fled with his family to Bermuda, where they were treated like a human beings and prospered.
The Raineys returned to South Carolina after the Civil War and settled in Charleston. They had reason to believe the American dream would apply to them now. After all, 43 percent of Charleston’s population at the time was Black. Rainey was elected to the state Senate in 1870 and shortly afterward, he won a special election to replace scandal-ridden Benjamin Franklin Whitmore in the House of Representatives.
As a congressman, Rainey supported the Enforcement Acts, legislation designed to put the smack down on the Klu Klux Klan. White racist conservatives remained undaunted, of course, and other insurgent groups emerged, such as the White League and the Red
Rainey fought to defend the tenuous freedom of Black Americans. He spoke three times on the floor of Congress in support of what eventually became the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Conservatives believed the bill was unconstitutional because it would permit "large numbers of colored persons" the opportunity "to demand their rights in the most offensive form.” Rainey’s response was moving and should rightly shame someone like Tim Scott.
RAINEY: I can very well understand the opposition to this measure by gentlemen on the other side of the House, and especially of those who come from the South. They have a feeling against the negro in this country that I suppose will never die out. They have an antipathy against that race of people, because of their loyalty to this Government, and because at the very time when they were needed to show their manhood and valor they came forward in defense of the flag of the country and assisted in crushing out the rebellion. They, sir, would not give to the colored man the right to vote or the right to enjoy any of those immunities which are enjoyed by other citizens, if it had a tendency to make him feel his manhood and elevate him above the ordinary way of life. So long as he makes himself content with ordinary gifts, why it is all well; but when he aspires to be a man, when he seeks to have the rights accorded him that other citizens of the country enjoy, then he is asking too much, and such gentlemen as the gentleman from Kentucky are not willing to grant it.
The gentleman from Kentucky says that the Constitution has prescribed what rights we ought to have and to enjoy. I ask the gentleman, in the light of the Constitution, if he can say to the House today conscientiously, if he can say to the country conscientiously, that the rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution are given to the negroes in the State of Kentucky? I should like to know if they enjoy those immunities and those rights there. Why, I saw not long since a measure pending--and it was pending during the last Congress--to deprive the negroes of Kentucky of the right of suffrage. They do not want any enactment by Congress that will have a tendency to elevate the negro and make him feel that he is a man and an American citizen. Just so long as you will let Kentucky and the other Southern States, and some of the Northern and Western States, mete out to us what they think we ought to have, and we receive it without objection, we are good, clever fellows; but just as soon as we begin to assert our manhood and demand our rights we are looked upon as men not worthy to be recognized, we become objectionable, we become obnoxious, and we hear this howl about social equality.
We know how this story ended. White racists rolled back racial progress in the South and soon the former Confederacy existed in a state of apartheid, which the rest of white America tolerated and even encouraged. Violence against Black South Carolinians increased to the point that Rainey, while still in Congress, moved his family to Connecticut for their protection.
McCarthy and Scott like to hide behind party labels, pretending that what those parties believe haven’t changed over the years. Republicans of the 19th Century aren’t the Republicans of today, who like 19th Century Democrats are committed to disenfranchising Black citizens and ensuring white-dominated rule.
There are more self-identified QAnoners in the GOP than Black Republicans for a reason. Kevin McCarthy, who signed his name to Trump’s attempted sedition, can kindly keep Joseph Rainey’s name out of his mouth. He can also go to hell, where I’m sure Tim Scott will carry his bags for him.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."