Sunday | January 19, 2003
Bush honors Jefferson Davis
Years ago, Woodrow Wilson began a tradition of having the White House send a floral wreath to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cementary in celebration of Jefferson Davis' birthday.
Jefferson Davis, of course, was the one and only president of the Confederacy -- those rebels who not only took up arms against our beloved U.S. of A, but did so in large part to preserve the practice of slavery.
The wreath tradition stuck around until Bush I mercifully ended it. Clinton, I am happy to say, let the dead tradition stay dead. But Bush II, never one to squander an opportunity to pander to the racist segment of the South, has happily resurrected the tradition.
Last Memorial Day, for the second year in a row, Bush's White House sent a floral wreath to the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Six days later, as the United Daughters of the Confederacy celebrated Jefferson Davis' birthday there, Washington chapter president Vicki Heilig offered a "word of gratitude to George W. Bush" for "honoring" the Old South's dead.So why exactly did Bush restart the practice of honoring the nation's biggest traitor?
But one of the organizations connected to the ceremony is the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose "Chief Aide-de-Camp" is Richard T. Hines, a politically active lobbyist from South Carolina. In that state's brutal 2000 Republican primary, Hines reportedly helped finance tens of thousands of letters blasting Bush rival John McCain for failing to support the flying of the Confederate flag over the state capitol. Hines declined to comment.The Trent Lott affair did not cleanse the GOP of its craven flirtations with racist, segregationist, neo-Confederate types in the South who catapulted the party into national prominance. This shit is so ingrained into the Party of Lincoln, that it doesn't think twice about honoring the father of the Confederacy, supports the Confederate flag, nominates and renominates judges who fight for the rights of cross burners and work to close loopholes in laws banning interracial dating, and that mischaractarizes university admissions guidelines as quotas, when they merely provide points for being a member of a disadvantaged community (which could be race-based, or also help under-priviledged or rural whites).
Throw in the virtual parade of hate-spewing Republicans that seem to make daily news, and what you have is a morally corrupt party -- one that is so unwilling to fight the Democrats on ideology (big government vs. small government; government regulation of morality vs. privacy) that it must resort to race baiting in order to achieve power.
There are lots of reasons I am not a Republican, but this has to top them all. Now that the self-congratulatory pats in the back over the Lott demotion are fading memory, it's clear that we still have the same, unapologetic race-baiting GOP.
Update: Time screwed up the story. It wasn't true.Posted January 19, 2003 09:22 AM | Comments (46)