Oh, Jeb. At this point I almost feel sorry for him – almost. Sadly, he seems to be the only Republican candidate above 2% in the polls who’s willing to at least try to take on Donald Trump, even if it’s only out of desperation.
Well, realizing that his campaign is on life support, Jeb Bush is now trying to appeal to racism to mount some sort of comeback that isn’t going to happen.
On Wednesday, Bush told a crowd at a campaign stop that the Confederacy is “part of our heritage” that should be respected.
“Look, the Confederacy is a part of our heritage, and it should be respected like other parts,” Bush said. “It doesn’t have to define who we are either. The problem with the Confederate flag isn’t the Confederacy, the problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later. And that’s what we have to avoid to heal those wounds.”
To his credit, he did go on to tell an audience member who said they see nothing racist about the flag that you might have thought differently in the 1960’s during the civil rights protests.
The problem here is the assertion that the Confederacy is a part of our heritage that should be respected. The Confederacy represents the biggest treasonous act against the United States in our nation’s history. These were states who started a war against the U.S. government because many believed they had the right to own African-Americans like pieces of farm equipment. While slavery wasn’t the only reason for the Civil War and the creation of the Confederacy – it was definitely the biggest reason.
Saying the problem with the flag is about what it “began to represent later” is asinine. The reason why it went on to represent the KKK and become a leading symbol for white supremacy and racists is because of what the Confederacy represented. It wasn’t as if these hate groups and racists randomly picked the Confederate flag because they thought it looked cool. They chose the flag based upon what the Confederacy represented – in part being the belief that this country was created for white people and that white people are superior to African-Americans.
But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the reasons the State of Texas laid out for joining the Confederacy dated February 2, 1861. Among them this not-at-all-racist passage:
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
Yes, those are words from an official document from the Texas archives where the state outlined reasons why it was joining the Confederacy. But, please, tell me again how the Confederacy wasn’t about racism and slavery?
But where Bush really misses the point is that the only reason why the Confederacy was allowed to linger as a part of this nation’s “heritage” for some is because of racism. When the Confederacy lost, that didn’t end racism. That’s when the KKK was formed and Jim Crow laws were passed. The Confederate battle flag was quickly adopted as a symbol for those who sought to continue to prevent African-Americans from having equal rights just as that flag was a symbol for the armies who fought for slavery during the Civil War. It wasn’t until 1964 – nearly a century after the Civil War had ended – that desegregation was ended in the South.
To argue that the Confederacy should be honored as a part of our heritage is like saying Nazis should be honored as a part of Germany’s heritage.
This was, in my opinion, Bush’s attempt to appeal to the racism that drives a large part of the GOP because he’s running out of time to save his campaign. He tried to defend the Confederate flag as something that was taken out of context by racists following the Civil War, when the truth is the reason why it was adopted as a symbol for racists is because of what the Confederacy stood for. These are the people who don’t think the Confederacy was about racism or slavery. The folks who think it’s a damn shame that the Confederate flag no longer flies high in many of these Southern states.
To even insinuate that the Confederate flag doesn’t represent racism is Jeb Bush trying to placate those who are either ignorant about history or racist.
That’s what the GOP has turned into, especially with the rise of Donald Trump. Either you appeal to bigotry and racism – or you poll around 3 percent or less.
Watch his comments below via ABC News: