In his Oct. 14 column, Mike Lang says “History shows that the Republican Party has been a greater friend to the blacks than any other political party in the United States.” I agree that Abe Lincoln was a Republican. Being a greater friend to blacks is a different matter.
That was 167 years ago, and today the party of Lincoln is a different Republican party, and a lot has changed in that time. He also mentions President Dwight Eisenhower as a Republican which was in a different time the 1950s. The Republican party platform included many social reforms including five elements of the 1956 platform. 1. Federal assistance to low-income communities. 2. Protecting Social Security and extending it to 10 million more workers and benefit increases for 6.5 million Americans. 3.The Refugee Relief Act “to provide asylum for thousands of refugees, expellees and displaced persons. 4. Raise the minimum wage for more than 2 million workers and extending the minimum wage to as many workers as is possible and practicable. 5. Improving the unemployment benefit system by bringing unemployment insurance to 4 million additional workers. Does this sound like today’s Republicans?
Mike also mentions the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, is considered one of the crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement. First proposed by President John F. Kennedy, it survived strong opposition from southern members of Congress and was then signed into law by Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson.
I am not disparaging Republicans; I was one once upon a time. Mike doesn’t mention the current situation where several Republican led states are making it more difficult to vote by closing polling places, intimidating voters, discouraging mail in votes, putting a new Postmaster General in place who seemingly put restrictions on overtime so that the mail would be slowed down, filing lawsuits to prevent the expansion of mail in voting during our pandemic. President Trump has been the instigator in much of the voting difficulties. He was quoted on Fox news concerning expanded access to voting by mail and mandating specific early voting timelines. “They had levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
He quotes Ronald Regan that “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation from extinction, etc.” I am also concerned about Freedom and the autocracy that our current President would like to gain. There are many articles written about his desire to be an autocrat and that would most certainly limit our freedoms.