The first example I want to use happened this past summer during the anniversary of the Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. I can’t count the comments I read from Republicans on my page Right Off A Cliff, my Twitter account or here on Forward Progressives claiming MLK would be a Republican.
And they were dead serious.
Let me try to understand that mind set. Republicans currently control the south. Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee — you get the picture.
States which supported segregation during King’s lifetime and many of the same states that fought to keep slavery legal.
Now, MLK was obviously a civil rights leader who stood against the mistreatment of African Americans nationally, but especially in the south. Now these southern conservatives think MLK would be on their side?
That’s not just stupid, it’s insane. Why would he be a conservative? Because he was a religious man who might have opposed abortion and homosexuality? Sure, in the 1950’s and 60’s he might have opposed both. But hey, so did many liberals at that time. Society has evolved and Dr. King epitomized evolution in a society. He lived and died fighting for the progress in this country to give equal rights to African Americans.
Homosexuality is much more accepted now than it was even 10-15 years ago and supporting abortion rights isn’t about agreeing with abortion — it’s about giving women the right to have control over their own bodies.
To believe MLK would side with the party which continues to deny civil rights to millions of Americans — not to mention how many of their voters openly detest our first black president — is so absurd I honestly can’t even grasp how ridiculous someone has to be to really believe that.
Then, more recently, the claim by Republicans that President John F. Kennedy was a conservative. The Democrat who Republicans at the time loathed was actually a conservative.
Why, because he cut taxes? Yeah, he did. But guess what the top tax rate was at that time? Right at 70%. I’ll gladly support tax rates for the richest among us at 70% if Republicans will get on board with that. Since, you know, Kennedy was a conservative and all.
Or let’s just look at an actual quote from Kennedy about being “liberal”:
“What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
Now, I can see why the first part of that quote is something Republicans might champion as evidence that Kennedy was conservative. But not quite. If President Obama said something similar like that right now, they would dismiss it as a lie.
Then the second part of the quote is almost entirely the opposite of what the modern day Republican party stands for.
Republicans aren’t for new ideas. They’re people that are always looking behind. Any mention of change with them brings about a harsh and ridged reaction. They couldn’t care less about the welfare of the people, their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights or their civil liberties.
They cut funding for programs that help people, oppose giving people access to health care, think it’s acceptable that poor people live in slums, constantly cut funding for education, allow companies to outsource jobs (in fact give them tax breaks for doing it) and we covered civil rights and civil liberties during the MLK part of this.
It’s just absurd that Republicans really believe John F. Kennedy would be a conservative if he were alive today, or was any sort of “conservative” during his time. I guess we should just ignore the fact that the Kennedys continue to have a presence in the Democratic party with his own daughter working for the Obama administration as an ambassador.
But yeah, I’m sure he’d be a modern day Republican.
It’s this level of delusion that I simply cannot grasp. A party which constantly stands in the way of civil rights for homosexuals, who has members of their party who have recently claimed the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional, believing that two civil rights icons would be on their side if they were alive today.
It’s honestly laughable that many conservatives, and the right-wing media, really try to perpetuate the idea that these great men would actually side with their ignorance.
It goes to show exactly how devoid of reality these people have really become.