Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Political Parties; Change We Can Disbelieve.

April 16, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) Like me, many of my friends are enthusiasts of history and historical facts.  When possible, we’ll sit and dissect what we understand of historical events and how they have shaped our current circumstance.  When lacking completely factual information, we may speculate, but rarely do we entertain theories that border the conspiratorial.  Our efforts are directed to greater clarification of the events of our past and present, and what we might ultimately expect from their occurrence in our future.

As a self-styled historian, I was surprised and delighted when one of my good friends gave me the opportunity to examine Republican campaign literature from the 1932 presidential election.  For those unborn or unfamiliar with the 1932 election, the Republican Party candidate was the incumbent, President Herbert Hoover.  The candidate of the Democratic Party was New York Governor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The nation was in the grasp of the worst economic catastrophe in its history.

Much like in our recent pre-Obama past, during The Great Depression, citizens experienced widespread job loss, businesses failed and we stood on the brink of total economic collapse.  People were forced into homelessness and too many did not 2016-Political-partiesknow from one day to another from where their next meal would come.  Many historians view this election as a pivotal point in the relationship between African Americans, who until that time had generally been loyal Republicans, and to the Republican Party.

The choice for African Americans and most Americans was in who they believed would be most successful in bringing The Depression to an end.  Unfortunately for Hoover, he embraced the belief that private individuals and institutions, not government, had the responsibility to provide direct aid and assistance to struggling Americans.  The depth of The Depression and its impact on the majority of Americans was fundamental to the 1932 election outcome.

The Negro and The Republican Party, a 1932 RNC campaign pamphlet, in part said, “Since the birth of the Republican Party the Negro has sat in its highest councils.  He has been among its directors and advisors…Under the administration of President Hoover the American Negro has persisted in the marvelous and commercial progress which has astonished mankind.”  Criticizing their political opponents, Republicans said of Democrats, “The Democratic Party, two tongued and two-faced, forced the Negro out of the franchise…because he had refused to transfer his allegiance from the party of freedom to the party of slavery.”

The political pabulum of Republicans did not convince African Americans to maintain their loyalties to that party.  Roosevelt’s forward thinking policies and New Deal implementations played a significant role in stabilizing the American economy, providing the means for earning the basic commodities for life, and permanently bringing millions of new Black voters to the Democratic Party.

Reflecting on the 1932 election, I see several parallels with our current election cycle.  This time, as in 1932, Republicans seek to reject/abandon the social safety nets that protect the average citizen.  Paul Ryan, now Speaker of the House of Representatives and chief architect of Republican budgets, is a disciple of writer/philosopher Ayn Rand.  His policy and budget proposals incorporate her philosophy of “the virtue of selfishness.”  She said the individual should “exist of his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.”  In other words, everyone for her/himself, sink or swim, etc.

This time, instead of condemning Democrats for disenfranchising Black voters, Republicans have gone on record and publicly boasted that their voter suppression efforts would change election outcomes.  As one television pundit has expressed, the Republican message cannot win elections for them, so they cheat to win.

Like 1932, I see no substantive change in Republican ethos or practices I believe will improve the quality of life for African Americans.

Columnist; Dr. E. Faye Williams

Official website; http://www.efayewilliams.com/


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