For my latest installment on how not to be a moron during the next election season I offer you this painfully misleading political meme. Yes, Democrats did indeed write, promote, and enforce Jim Crow laws in the segregated South during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One thing that this meme does not mention, however, is that during this particular period the Democratic Party was – hang on boys and girls – the conservative party. Conservatives during this period were quite adamant about keeping black folks in their “place” after the Republican Party (quite progressively, if you ask me) passed a few Constitutional amendments guaranteeing black people basic citizenship rights. In fact, conservatives did everything they could in the post Civil War decades to insure that free blacks were reduced to slavery in all but name. I’ll put things simply if you are not following along: Democratic Party in the nineteenth century = conservative party. Well, that sort of changes things doesn’t it?
For those of you party politickers (on either side) who think you have stumbled on to something clever and can’t wait to embarrass the living hell out of the opposition…I counsel you to think first about context and to consider that history is quite dynamic. Extracting some bit of information from the past and applying it to a twenty-first century situation is well…ahistorical. (and not that clever at all).