Jordan is a junior political science and history major and writes "Musings from Moorman" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An issue of salience this year has been one requiring analysis from a historical perspective. I have increasingly noticed symbols historically associated with intolerance, hate, racism, etc. as part of the news. As a conservative, I believe these symbols of hate and injustice should be taken down.
Symbols advocating for genocide, violence and oppression, have no place in this nation. The tearing down of these institutions and the figures that represent the injustice of the past is more than reasonable. Indeed, a plethora of modern institutions and figures exist to this day with influences from that sordid past.
What do we make of figures who promote segregation? Figures who speak at Ku Klux Klan rallies? Figures who are truly racist? Figures who push racist media and use racial slurs? This sort of thing has no place in society. They are hateful. Illogical. Any man or woman willing to use the Ku Klux Klan as their platform deserves to be discredited and ignored by the mainstream. But once more, there remain pillars in our society that are remnants of a terrible past, existing in plain sight.
I speak not of statues of confederate soldiers, but of the modern-day institution of the Democratic Party.
I concede that statues of certain individuals do not need to be memorialized. I concede that some images are unnecessary reminders of a dark past. But let us be consistent. If we tear down statues of slave owners, let us also tear down those who oppressed and perpetuated the worst kind of racism.
Carol Swain, an African-American professor of political science at the University of Vanderbilt, using Prager University as a medium, reveals the racist history of the Democratic Party in the United States. She explains “the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the civil war, opposed reconstruction, founded the Ku Klux Klan, imposed segregation, perpetrated lynchings and fought against the civil rights acts of the 1950’s and the 1960’s.”
Do we give them a pass because “things aren’t like that anymore”? Or, do we tear them down by mob rule because they hurt our feelings and are deemed offensive? She goes on, explaining that it was the Democrats imposed poll taxes and used the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize and intimidate.
She cites Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University, saying “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.” Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, resegregated federal agencies and screened the racist movie “The Birth of a Nation” in the White House.
Carol Swain has presented some thought provoking information, much of which has been buried or ignored. How inconsistent are those who wish to destroy history by removing the statues? If we destroy those racist icons, then we better destroy them all. What bigger racist icon is there than the past Democratic Party?
We want to destroy confederate statues because almost 200 years ago they were racist. Fine. Less than 100 years ago, the Democratic Party was racist. As I said earlier, it is reasonable to tear down terrible and offensive icons. Or is it?
Being offended is subjective. Did not the Democratic Party support and perpetuate racist ideologies, just like the statues of those who owned slaves?
So, are we going to be consistent and attack and dismantle the Democratic Party for its once terribly racist and violent actions and rhetoric? Or are we going to grow up, recognize that racism is a horrific practice and learn from our history?