During the 1881 gubernatorial election in Mississippi, the segregationist Democrat, Robert Lowry, had nothing but disdain for his independent opponent, Benjamin King, and those who supported him… a coalition of “dissident farmers, Republicans, and blacks,” people who, from Lowry’s KKK-oriented perspective, were “gutter trash.”
In his book, Political Culture of the 19th Century South, author Bradley G. Bond credits Lowry with one of the most profound statements ever made by an American politician. In his stump speeches he was often heard to say, in reference to his opponent and his opponent’s Republican supporters, black and white, “As the stream could not rise above its source, neither can the candidate rise above his constituency.”
Truer words were never spoken. So what meaning does Lowry’s profound metaphor have in terms of contemporary American politics, especially for the millions of good and decent people who never stop to consider what the Democratic Party is all about, but who continue to identify themselves as members of that party?
For those who like to say with absolutely certainty, but with no basis in fact, that there is “not a dimes worth of difference” between the two major parties, consider this:
the Republican Party is composed primarily of individuals whose primary political interest is in being protected from the excesses of a powerful and impersonal government, while the Democratic Party is composed, almost without exception, of individuals and organizations whose primary political interest is in receiving some special benefit or consideration from government.
For example, the Democratic Party of today is not the party of working men and women… those who tend to think of themselves as the “common” man. It is the party of corrupt labor bosses, the public employees’ unions, and the thuggish Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
In 1945, some 36% of American workers were represented by labor unions. For decades the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, and the Teamsters were all-powerful. They owned the Democratic Party… lock, stock, and barrel… and whatever they wanted from congressional Democrats and from Democratic presidents, right or wrong, they got. No questions asked.
However, when the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 created a level playing field in the political arena between business and labor, it soon became evident that labor could not play on a level playing field. Private sector union membership leveled off and then went into a slow and steady decline. Today, unions represent only 12.5 percent of the U.S. work force, a number that is deceiving because 36.5 percent of unionized workers are public employees: postal workers, teachers, and other government employees. The percentage of union workers in the private sector is now less than 8%.
To reverse their long slide into economic obscurity, labor leaders have recently devised a new organizing technique called “card check,” one of the most evil concepts in the history of labor-management relations. Under “card check,” secret ballot representation elections would be done away with and union organizers would be allowed to solicit individual workers on the job in a targeted non-union workplace, pressuring them to sign cards in favor of union representation. Those who refused to sign cards on the job would receive “outreach” visits in their homes by teams of union organizers, strong-arm thugs who would not hesitate to use violence and other forms of intimidation to obtain a signature on a union election card.
Although it is reminiscent of the feared “knock on the door” techniques employed by Gestapo agents of the Third Reich, “card check” has not been a tough sell in the Obama administration or in the Democrat-controlled Congress. Obama and congressional Democrats think it’s a grand idea… so long as the unions continue to pour huge sums of money into Democratic campaigns, and so long as they continue to provide strong-arm “muscle” for the party when needed.
Can the Democratic Party rise above its relationship with corrupt labor bosses? Not likely.
One of the most significant factors in the high cost of medical care in the United States is the cost of frivolous lawsuits. Many physicians, of all specialties, are burdened with malpractice insurance premiums amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. In Dade County, Florida, for example, medical malpractice insurance premiums for obstetricians rose to as much as $277,000 per year. If an obstetrician maintains a caseload of 60 patients throughout any given year, the cost per patient comes to $4,600, just to buy protection from trial lawyers.
In response, physicians in all medical specialties, in all parts of the country, have learned to practice “defensive” medicine, ordering unnecessary tests and procedures as a way of protecting themselves from trial lawyers pursuing frivolous lawsuits, often based on “junk” science. Yet, as the Congress considers much-needed healthcare reform, designed to make health insurance available and affordable for every American family, Obama and the Democratic leaders in Congress cower in fear of the American Trial Lawyers Association, a major source of money for the Democratic Party and its candidates.
Can the Democratic Party rise above its slovenly obeisance to trial lawyers? Not likely.
According to James Bovard, writing for The Freeman, teacher monopoly-bargaining laws (forcing local school boards to deal with unions) in 34 states cover 67 percent of the nation's teachers. Teachers unions have worked to destroy local control of education, subvert educational standards, undermine teacher accountability, and deny parents a meaningful voice in their own children's education. Unions have launched strikes to prevent or restrict “parental interference” in public education, and they have stood in the way of meaningful reforms such as school vouchers, charter schools, and merit pay for teachers. In the meantime, classroom teachers purposely dumb-down our children, using every possible device to turn our children into obedient little left wing robots.
The teachers unions… the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)… are currently the most powerful special interest lobbies in Washington and in the state capitals. Along with the major trade unions, public employee unions, trial lawyers, radical feminists, abortion rights activists, radical environmentalists, and gay and lesbian activists, the teachers unions own the Democratic Party, and neither Obama nor the Democratic members of Congress have the political will or the courage to challenge them.
Will the Democratic Party ever rise to put the best interests of our children above the countless millions of dollars that the NEA and the AFT regularly contribute to the party and its candidates? Not likely.
In election after election, African Americans parade to the polls and cast 90-95% of their votes for Democratic candidates. They appear unaware that the Democratic Party was the pro-slavery party, the party that opposed citizenship and voting rights for blacks, the party that wrote and enforced the Black Codes and the Jim Crow Laws, and the party that used the Ku Klux Klan as its paramilitary arm to keep blacks “in their place,” murdering, raping, and brutalizing thousands of black Americans during their century-long reign of terror.
It was left to Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, in 1957, to put into words what has always been and what remains the prevailing attitude toward blacks among white Democrats. In reluctantly agreeing to support President Dwight Eisenhower’s civil rights agenda, Johnson said, “These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now, we've got to do something about this; we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference…”
Yet black voters stream to the polls each election and pull the lever for every Democrat on the ballot. One could argue that, for a black man to identify with the Democratic Party is no less amoral than for a Holocaust survivor to identify with the Nazi Party.
So can we expect the Democratic Party to ever rise above its racist past and present? Not likely.
The Democratic Party as we know it today is the party of the labor bosses, the party of trial lawyers, the party of unionized teachers, the party of pro-abortion zealots, the party of radical anti-growth environmentalists, the party of special rights for gays and lesbians, and the party of fraud, violence, and intimidation in elections… the party of ACORN.
The Democratic Party is all of these things, individually and collectively. It cannot escape what it is, it cannot deny what it stands for, and it cannot ignore its past. And although millions of decent, hardworking, and patriotic Americans continue to affiliate with the party, they cannot escape the stain that their attachment to the party places on their good name.
To identify oneself with the Democratic Party is to make common cause with the constituencies that swell its numbers, that fund its candidates, that provide its electoral majorities, and that write its agenda. So the next time a Democrat gives you a hard time for being a dedicated Republican, just turn to them and say, “A very wise old Democrat once said that, ‘as the stream could not rise above its source, neither can the party rise above its constituencies.’ So what’s it like to be a member of the ACORN Party?”