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2124Re: [prezveepsenator] Reagan, the South and Civil Rights

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  • richard kelly
    Jan 17, 2007
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      Tom:

      Actually there are several more important American
      figures, for starters, Theodore and Franklin D.
      Roosevelt, Ike, Harry Truman, and Woodrow Wilson.


      Richard Kelly


      --- THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...> wrote:

      > Great post, Ram.. Incidentally, can anyone think of
      > a
      > more important American historical figure in the
      > 20th
      > century than MLK?
      >
      > Tom
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
      >
      > > Reagan, the South and Civil Rights
      > > By Juan Williams
      > >
      >
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1953700&columnId=1929301
      > >
      > > NPR.org, June 10, 2004 ยท Forty years after the
      > > passage of 1964 Civil
      > > Rights Act, history and politics are celebrating a
      > > strange
      > > convergence: It was the passage of the Civil
      > Rights
      > > Act that launched
      > > the rise of the president who died last week,
      > Ronald
      > > Reagan.
      > >
      > > The Civil Rights Act, signed July 2, 1964, by
      > > President Lyndon
      > > Johnson, ended legal discrimination against blacks
      > > at hotels,
      > > restaurants and department stores. It also made
      > > discrimination illegal
      > > in hiring. Barry Goldwater, the Republican
      > > presidential nominee that
      > > year, decided to make himself a voice for
      > opponents
      > > of the Act.
      > >
      > > Goldwater said he supported the white Southern
      > > position on civil
      > > rights, which was that each and every state had a
      > > sovereign right to
      > > control its laws. The Arizona Republican argued
      > that
      > > each American has
      > > the right to decide whom to hire, whom to do
      > > business with and whom to
      > > welcome in his or her restaurant. The senator was
      > > right at home with
      > > Southern politicians who called the Civil Rights
      > Act
      > > an attack on "the
      > > Southern way of life."
      > >
      > > To overcome the forces arrayed against the bill,
      > > Johnson needed every
      > > bit of his political skill and every bit of
      > > emotional aftermath from
      > > the previous November's assassination of President
      > > John F. Kennedy.
      > > But once the bill had passed, Johnson told
      > > confidants that Democrats
      > > might have lost the South to Republicans for years
      > > to come. He was
      > > exactly right.
      > >
      > > Today the South is solidly Republican. In every
      > > presidential election
      > > since 1964 -- save the election of Jimmy Carter in
      > > 1976 -- Dixie has
      > > been the heart of GOP presidential politics. The
      > > white Southern vote
      > > was key to the Republican takeover of Congress in
      > > 1994, and President
      > > George W. Bush was elected in 2000 because he
      > > carried every Southern
      > > state.
      > >
      > > Ronald Reagan was key to the South's transition to
      > > Republican
      > > politics. Goldwater got the ball rolling, but
      > Reagan
      > > was at his side
      > > from the very beginning. During the 1964 campaign,
      > > Reagan gave
      > > speeches in support of Goldwater and spoke out for
      > > what he called
      > > individual rights -- read that also as states'
      > > rights. Reagan also and
      > > portrayed any opposition as support for
      > > totalitarianism -- read that
      > > as communism.
      > >
      > > In 1976, Reagan sought the Republican nomination
      > > against the incumbent
      > > President Gerald Ford. Reagan's campaign was on
      > the
      > > ropes until the
      > > primaries hit the Southern states, where he won
      > his
      > > first key victory
      > > in North Carolina. Throughout the South that
      > spring
      > > and summer, Reagan
      > > portrayed himself as Goldwater's heir while
      > > criticizing Ford as a
      > > captive of Eastern establishment Republicans
      > fixated
      > > on forced
      > > integration.
      > >
      > > Reagan lost the nomination to Ford in 1976. But
      > when
      > > the former
      > > California governor ran for the presidency again
      > in
      > > 1980, he began his
      > > campaign with a controversial appearance in
      > > Philadelphia, Miss., where
      > > three civil rights workers had been brutally
      > killed.
      > > It was at that
      > > sore spot on the racial map that Reagan revived
      > talk
      > > about states'
      > > rights and curbing the power of the federal
      > > government.
      > >
      > > To many it sounded like code for announcing
      > himself
      > > as the candidate
      > > for white segregationists. After he defeated
      > > President Carter, a
      > > native Southerner, Reagan led an administration
      > that
      > > seemed to cater
      > > to Southerners still angry over the passage of the
      > > Civil Rights Act
      > > after 16 years. The Reagan team condemned busing
      > for
      > > school
      > > integration, opposed affirmative action and even
      > > threatened to veto a
      > > proposed extension of the Voting Rights Act (the
      > > sequel to the 1964
      > > Civil Rights Act passed a year later and focused
      > on
      > > election
      > > participation). President Reagan also tried to
      > allow
      > > Bob Jones
      > > University, a segregated Southern school, to
      > reclaim
      > > federal tax
      > > credits that had long been denied to racially
      > > discriminatory institutions.
      > >
      > > The genial Californian Republican denied there was
      > > any racism implicit
      > > in those policies. Even when he was characterizing
      > > poor women as
      > > welfare queens driving around in pink Cadillacs,
      > he
      > > said it was a
      > > merely matter of encouraging people to pull
      > > themselves up by the
      > > bootstraps. The America he seemed to envision had
      > no
      > > need to deal with
      > > racial divisions, and he said his only desire was
      > to
      > > encourage
      > > self-sufficiency for all Americans and to reduce
      > all
      > > Americans'
      > > dependence on government programs.
      > >
      > > Today it is hard to believe that Reagan had such
      > > success using the
      > > Civil Rights Act as a whipping boy. The Civil
      > Rights
      > > Act is now so
      > > widely accepted that it doesn't attract
      > controversy
      > > in any region of
      > > the country -- including the South. There is no
      > > debate about the right
      > > of black people, Hispanics or Asians to stay in a
      > > hotel, shop in a
      > > store or to apply for a job without fear of racial
      > > discrimination.
      > >
      > > In 2004, minorities are one-third of the national
      > > population and it is
      > > hard to understand how anyone could have ever
      > argued
      > > in favor of
      > > allowing states to practice racial discrimination.
      >
      === message truncated ===




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