CSotD: Past Imperfect

The big news today is that Steve Kelley (Creators) has embraced Critical Race Theory and has begun promoting that view of history in his cartoons. Or at least in this one.

And he has the situation right: Democrats have long been critical of their party’s legacy in Civil Rights.

As Biden suggested, and as Kelley confirms, they’ve had a lot to sort through, over the past half-century. The Dixiecrats broke off in response to Harry Truman’s desegregation of the military and other moves towards giving more rights to African-Americans, and, as Kelley notes, a lot of rabid segregationists remained Democrats, not simply in the face of Republican President Eisenhower’s sending troops to Little Rock, but even as Democrats Kennedy and Johnson became champions of civil rights.

Obviously, the influence in the party of these knuckle-dragging white supremacists waned, but, as with many things in history, it was neither a sudden collapse nor was it particularly on time, hence Mauldin’s “I’ve decided …” in this 1964 commentary on the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

His classic take was as much a criticism of the unnecessary, immoral delay as it was a celebration of the breakthrough, though it’s worth noting that he used the eagle, not the donkey or elephant.

Maintaining our long history of racist policies had required a bipartisan effort.

Teaching the impact of race in our history is certainly problematic. As noted here before, the fact that schools teach almost nothing of the history of the Southwest until the Anglo-Americans got there in the 19th century is clearly an issue, while the “Great Man” school of history ignores the experiences of the workingclass, including minorities, in favor of celebrating famous inventors, generals and prominent politicians.

When people of color are included, they are isolated in little boxes on the page of the textbook, not woven into the ongoing narrative.

So I’m looking forward to seeing more historical references in political cartoons, and I’m sure that the Republicans will be taken to task, for instance, for the corrupt 1876 elections in which their candidate, Rutherford Hayes won dubious support in return for which he withdrew troops from the South, opening the gates to a near-century of Jim Crow government there.


And, of course, this look back at history will surely include retrospective examination of the scandals of the Republican Grant and Harding administrations, as well as the roles Grant, Hoover (seen in this Jack Knox cartoon) and GW Bush played in the worst economic depressions in our nation’s history.

As the saying goes, fasten your seat belts — all this sudden candor is going to make for a very bumpy ride!


Moreover, history doesn’t stop, or at least, it hasn’t yet, as Ann Telnaes points out.

Even as the first charges of sedition over the January 6 riots have been laid, Kevin McCarthy has denounced the hearings as illegitimate and is refusing to appear before investigators.

As Telnaes points out, his loyalties have been otherwise pledged.

The point being that we can’t predict how history will judge our moment because we don’t yet know who is going to win.


Though we do know that the Republicans are no longer interested in campaigning on ideas. David Cohen notes the announcement that they will no longer allow presidential candidates to appear in debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run the events for three decades.

It’s a surprise of sorts, but, then, the Republicans broke new ground in the last presidential campaign by declining to write a party platform, a decision that was consistent with their emergence as a cult of personality and no longer a party of principles.


Now Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has decided that his promise to serve only two terms is no longer operable, and Phil Hands simply writes it off as part of a pattern, since Johnson has also denied the science of the coronavirus and that there was any violence in the tourist visits to the Capitol in January.

In a Wall Street Journal guest editorial, Johnson laid out his worldview and explained that he was reversing his promise because he hadn’t anticipated “the tyrannical approach taken by the elites who have created and maintained a state of fear that allows them to exercise control over Americans’ lives.”

My goo’ness gracious, how could he do otherwise?

Certainly, as RJ Matson notes, when elites are tyrannizing and so forth, a patriot’s true loyalty should be to the party that has a plan to fix things, not to some amorphous collection of unaffiliated people operating on outdated concepts under a fictional mascot.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett – CTFP)


(Kevin Siers)

The party’s goal is to maintain their grip on partisan power, by any means necessary, and to answer protests by pointing out that people are perfectly free to vote, just so long as they do so in gerrymandered districts where their votes won’t interfere with the necessary outcome.

And so long as they do it on the day appointed, in the place appointed, under the rules declared by the projected winners.

After all, you can’t expect the country to be properly governed in a state of chaos and uncertainty.


All of which sounds like a blunt, outright condemnation of the Republican Party, but nothing could be further from the truth.

As Marc Murphy suggests, the issue of whether to guarantee free and fair elections is not a partisan issue: Everyone is free to join in the decision.

Or to refuse to. Yesterday, Sen. Kristen Sinema (Your Guess Is As Good As Mine – AZ) explained that, while she is in favor of both voting rights bills, she is opposed to letting them actually become law, because the filibuster is the only thing keeping Congress in a mood of bipartisan cooperation.

Such as it is.

Such as it was.

Mark Twain never actually said “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

Perhaps he will the next time.

Meanwhile …


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Past Imperfect

  1. Ron Johnson’s inaugural campaign ad on TV opens with a parade of horrors for which he blames Democrats. The montage includes footage of the guy on parole who drove his truck through the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six — a tragedy he and Senator Tammy Baldwin urged not be exploited for political purposes.


    That stance didn’t last long, either, did it!

  2. I voted for Sen. Sinema because she was different and I still respect her courage. Maybe enough non-voters will get mad enough to elect representatives with her common sense. Adding a few more trillion to the national debt isn’t going to fix our country.

  3. I voted for Sinema also, but that was back when she was a Green Party candidate who would rather be right, than elected to the state legislature.

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