I was thinking the other day about what lies in the future for America. One thing that has happened as a result of the Tea Party which eventually brought about the Trump presidency was letting Blacks in America see their position here in a limpid light. Eric Hoffer wrote that once folk see a better way they will not want to go back to the old way. Blacks rejoiced at the election of President Obama expecting great things to come from him. What his election produced instead was a backlash – enough whites were furious that there was a Black president that they worked to undermine him to ensure it would never be repeated.
The rise of Trump as a follow up to the white’s discontent had the effect of opening the door to all sorts of matters that were best kept hidden, not the least of them was the racism that permeated American society. It had been held in check from being openly expressed because it was just not the thing to do. Once Trump exhibited a nihil obstat to the open expression of that bias and added his imprimatur then Katy bar the door – the sluice gates were opened.
There it was in plain view. It was as if we had gone back almost 100 years when the KKK proudly marched down the main streets of town in their white hoods carrying the American flag and the cross of Christianity. Upwards of 30,000 of them paraded in the streets of our nation’s capital as is shown here.
The only drawback to that day was that rain was predicted. That did not stop Grand Kleagle L.A. Mueller of the D.C. Klan from shouting through an amplifier. “It will not rain. We shall pray. Never yet has God poured rain on a Klan assembly.” It did rain before the festivities were over.
The Klan might have been put out of business and its marches disappeared but the ideas it promulgated of white Christian supremacy continued on, mostly silently in the hearts of folk until as noted Trump gave the okay for them to come out of the closet. Obviously, Blacks having felt the satisfaction of seeing one of their own as president were rudely pulled out of their state of contentment seeing so many in America who clung to notions they had hoped had disappeared.
It is like a Great Awakening to Blacks that so many Americans were so willing to make America great again by going back to the 1920s when the Jim Crow laws were in full force and effect depriving them of equal rights as Americans. But this time it was going to be different. They were not going to go back. They were going to demand equal rights despite the machinations of others seeking to deprive them of what is the only way they can gain them which is through the voting booth.
Here’s a statistic that always stuck in my craw. In 1896, 90,000 Black voters in Louisiana voted in the presidential election; in 1900 5,000 Black voters were allowed to vote in that election; in 1904 only 1,000.
I knew being Irish that the only way the Irish gained rights in America was through the election box. Thus too, it is the only way for Blacks. Yet we now see concerted efforts throughout the United States to restrict voting rights. That is doomed to failure. Blacks are not going to go back. They demand and are entitled to equal rights. I would think that rather than alienating them by restricting their voting right the Republicans would work hard to embrace them. Unfortunately it appears that horse has left the barn and the Trump bigots have taken over that party. Like the KKK they will find most Americans will reject their policies.