Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2014, April 23: Silent Cal and the Confederacy

Erik Loomis (Coolidge and the Confederates LGM 04/22/2014) just yesterday posted this YouTube video that's a reminder that the Republican Party's romance with neo-Confederacy didn't start with Barry Goldwater in 1964, Nation's Head Pays Tribute To Confederate Dead AKA President Coolidge Pays Tribute (1930-1939) British Pathé:

This is a video of Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge who served without notable distinction as President from 1923 to 1929. He is probably most remembered for his characteristic declaration, "The chief business of the American people is business." And for his plutocrat Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon.

The newsreel footage shows him celebrating on a platform hung with Confederate flags.

The time of the event isn't given at the YouTube site or at the British Pathé site. The title is a bit confusing because it shows a date of 1930-1939 but it calls him the "nation's head" so it's presumably from when he was President.

The Republicans still had a lot of loyalty from black voters in the North from the tradition going back to the Civil War. But the Republicans certainly weren't trying to roll by the segregation system in the 1920s, the high period for the Ku Klux Klan's political influence.

The Republicans even today try to make historical arguments that range from the merely odd to the bizarre to claim a lasting civil rights heritage for the present-day incarnation of the one-time Party of Lincoln.

Don Arel discusses one of them in the somewhat inappropriately titled, Top Figures in Conservative Movement Spreading Crazy Lie That Faith in God Ended Slavery Alternet 04/16/2014. He doesn't mention it in the article, but the kind of statement he's analyzing from the Heritage Foundation's Jim DeMint is phrased to indicate an identification between the pre-Civil War anti-slavery Abolitionists and today's hard right anti-abortion militants. That identification is a tribal slogan for the Christian Right which also serves to morph the history of Abolitionism into something that has nothing to do with contemporary civil rights issues for African-Americans.

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