I enjoy talking politics and history. Whether separate or combined, there are always some interesting stories to be learned. Watching the brouhaha over the NFL protests has led to quite a few different discussions online, at home, and at work. After watching an online conversation where I saw a few conservatives trying to school blacks on the issue of slavery, I had a moment of clarity that made me realize how much things have changed.
The Republican Party, or the Party of Lincoln, has always advertised itself as the Party of Civil Rights. There’s no stopping any Republican or conservative when they decide to preen on their laurels of yesteryear. Even Black Republicans love to talk about how the Democratic Party is the home of racism and racists while they’re the Civil Rights party.
While indeed that is the history of the GOP, the legacy that began by the founders has died. I’m not saying that it is dying. I am suggesting that it is dead, not coming back like Jason Voorhees dead. How did I come to that realization you ask? The reaction to Colin Kaepernick and the NFL.
See, the parties have become more ideologically pure over the past century. Right after the Civil War, there were liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. In those days, it was the liberal wing of the Republican Party that pushed much of the progressive issues forward. As time moved forward, progressives migrated towards the Democratic Party and conservatives towards the GOP. Now, the parties have completely switched when it comes to civil rights.
Now that the parties are so ideologically different, there are very few Republicans left to take up the mantle of Civil Rights. That’s why you have state GOP parties enacting voter laws that adversely impact minority and poor voters. You have a GOP president who is barking orders to the NFL as though he’s a dictator as opposed to someone who would advance equality under the law. You have a GOP Attorney General who is backing away from consent decrees with police departments who have shown themselves to be less than upstanding when it comes to the civil rights of minorities they have sworn to protect. And finally, you have an entire conservative movement that is so out of touch with civil rights that they’re angry that NFL players are allegedly disrespecting the flag, the military, and the national anthem, when the players are actually protesting for the respecting of civil rights of Americans who lack the platform to protest on a national level.
Indeed, the “Party of Civil Rights” is actively and aggressively trying to fight a protest that is actually seeking equal civil rights for all citizens of this country. If you don’t believe me, ask any conservative about why the NFL players are taking a knee or sitting during the anthem. I will put money that 90-95% will come with some response about disrespecting the country, flag, anthem, or military. Very few, if any at all, will mention anything about civil rights or police brutality.
On the other hand, ask any liberal or progressive about the protest, and you’re more likely to hear them mention police brutality or civil rights. That’s not even to suggest that the left overwhelmingly supports the protests. There are many on the left who disagree with the protests, but they will also acknowledge the right to protest as being American. They also realize the protest is not done to demean the service of our military personnel or to disrespect any part of this nation.
When these two guys get what the protest is about and can participate, why can’t the rest of America catch on? When the Party of Civil Rights cannot take the mantle of pushing for civil rights when the issue is being served up on a silver platter, then that party’s legacy is dead. It died and those who rest on those laurels have yet to acknowledge it. I guess it’s better to live in a glorious past than to address a bleak present and future. As sad as it is, I am glad to see the liberals pick up the mantle and carry on with the challenge of pushing for equality.