Letter: Recent letter was ‘grossly misleading’
It is a tad ironic that Pete Wood, chairman of the Routt County Republican Party, would chide John Spezia’s letter for inaccuracies, when Wood’s recent letter is grossly misleading, due to lack of historical context.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term, “the Solid South,” in political news coverage. Today, that refers to the southern wing of the Republican Party, chiefly composed of white conservatives who are often racist in attitudes. Before the 1965 passage of the federal Civil Rights Act, the “Solid South” referred to the southern wing of the Democratic Party, which was chiefly composed of white conservatives who supported segregation, Jim Crow law and were out and out racists.
The pre-1965 southern wing of the Democratic Party was “Democratic” because it was the only viable opposition to the northern Republican Party — the party of President Lincoln and the Union forces that defeated the Confederate states and their secession from the Union. In the same pre-1965 era, southern Blacks were uniformly registered as Republicans, because they were freed from slavery by Lincoln and the northern Republican Party. Today, southern Blacks are virtually all registered as Democrats.
So what happened?
The Civil Rights Act happened, which really made southern whites angry. Richard Nixon, and later, Republican presidents and leaders took advantage of that southern white anger with Nixon’s Southern Strategy — basically an invitation to southern whites to leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party, with the implicit understanding that Nixon wasn’t all that interested in enforcing civil rights for minorities.
The strategy worked, and the South flipped political allegiances, with whites joining the increasingly conservative Republican Party and Blacks joining the increasingly more liberal Democratic Party.
It is a simple, straightforward story that Mr. Wood muddies by focusing on the label “southern Democrat” rather than the political values of southern whites, which are alive and well today.
Mr. Wood strongly implies that the old, southern Democratic Party is identical to today’s Democratic Party. That is grossly inaccurate.
What is historically true is that today’s Republican Party has driven out its own liberals and moderates and is now largely controlled by white, racist conservatives who would cheerfully impose Jim Crow 2.0 on the states they control, making it harder for minorities to vote.
Mr. Wood should attend to the beam in his eye, rather than the speck in Mr. Spezia’s eye.
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