WND – The South Carolina Tea Party Convention was challenged Sunday to convince blacks to flee the party of slavery and once again embrace their Republican roots by embracing a philosophy some conservatives would consider akin to heresy.
“The political insight of Frederick Douglass is more important than the political insight of the Founding Fathers,” attendees were told.
While conservatives are used to hearing liberals speak ill of the Founding Fathers, this statement was made by K. Carl Smith, founder of the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
He noted that polls consistently show more people identify themselves as conservatives than liberals in America. With that in mind Smith went on to explain why it is that the word “conservative” has such a negative connotation among blacks today and when the problem first began.
“We must understand this, because if we don’t, we will never win the White House again,” Smith warned.
When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, Smith explained, 18 senators voted against it with Barry Goldwater being the lone Republican. Yet Smith explained that unlike the Democrats who voted against the bill, Goldwater’s opposition had nothing to do with racism.
“He voted against it not because he was a racist; he voted against it based on constitutional grounds,” Smith explained. “Goldwater voted against that bill based on Title II and Title VII, which dealt with accommodations and employment.”
But when the GOP went on to nominate Goldwater to run against Lyndon B. Johnson later that year, Smith said, it soured black voters on the party.
“When that happened, the black electorate felt alienated,” Smith explained. “The party of Lincoln, the party of emancipation – the black folks felt politically homeless. The RNC turned their backs on them by nominating Goldwater, the man who voted against the bill.”
He noted the same day Goldwater was nominated, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. issued a press release condemning the nomination.
“It is both unfortunate and disastrous that the Republican Party has nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater as a candidate for the presidency of the United States,” Dr. King said in the release. “On the urgent issue of civil rights Sen. Goldwater represents a philosophy that is morally indefensible and politically and socially suicidal. While not a racist himself, Mr. Goldwater articulates a philosophy which gives aid and comfort to the racists.
“His candidacy in philosophy will serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes will stand,” King continued. “In light of these facts and because of my love for America, I have no alternative but to urge every Negro and every white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and withdraw support from any Republican candidate that does not publicly disassociate himself when it comes to Goldwater.”
Smith explained that what King was essentially saying was that Goldwater wanted to be so constitutionally right that he was morally wrong.
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