Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seattle Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert's Toxic Bigotry

The Seattle Times ran an op-ed piece today by Bob Herbert

The article seemed to take a lot of the facts about Ben "Pitchfork" Tillman straight from Wikipedia.

On Saturday, in a cold, steady rain, voters turned out for the Republican primary. Nearly all of them — close to 100 percent — were white. At a dinner here Saturday night, I was reminded ruefully by one of the guests: "It used to be the Democratic Party that was the white man's party in South Carolina. Now it's the GOP. The black people vote next Saturday."

They still honor Benjamin Tillman down here, which is very much like honoring a malignant tumor. Astatue of Tillman, who was known as "Pitchfork Ben," is on prominent display outside the statehouse.

Tillman served as governor and U.S. senator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A mortal enemy of black people, he bragged that he and his followers had disenfranchised "as many as we could," and he publicly defended the murder of blacks.

In a speech on the Senate floor, he declared: "We of the South have never recognized the right of the Negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him."

He just seemed to miss this one line.
Tillman was a member of the Democratic Party


R Huse said...

Now that's pretty damn funny about Herbert and the Tillman thing. Still, it would be a little much to expect original thought from someone as vested in the status quo - Democrats good, Republicans Evil - mode of non thinking.

I will never understand the logic of people like Herbert. It is certainly true that some racist Southern Democrats left the party and joined the Republicans in the 50's and 60's. However that doesn't alter the fact that the Democratic party has huge and longstanding ties to racist and segregationist policies far beyond anything that could be ascribed to the Republicans. It certainly is the greatest historical revisionism in history, the party of Lincoln is now seen as more racist than the party with a Klansman in the Senate (Robert Byrd,Democrat). Why this is is anyone's guess, but certainly the thoughts of drones such as Bob Herbert have helped it along.

If you want to start an argument, call a Democrat a racist. If you want to start a fight, point out their vote on the Civil Rights act.

Eric said...

If you go to the NYTimes edition of the article, there is an opportunity pointed out at the bottom:
"To find reference information about the words used in this article, double-click on any word, phrase or name. A new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry."

So, if one happened to catch this and then double-click on Tillman's name, you would have been appraised of this fact. But that's still no excuse for Herbert to not disclose that fact up front... "openly and honestly" and all.