August 7, 2016
Those of us who did not fall asleep in sixth grade civics class remember that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery in this country for almost two hundred years. (To save some typing, I’ll use DP and RP for the Democratic and Republican parties.) Dinesh D’Souza, the maker of the political documentary “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” beats us over the head with that party association for about half the length of the film.
The film’s release was deliberately timed for July, coinciding with the conventions of both political parties. The timing and the strong audience interest surely have the industry’s attention. In almost two weeks, the film had grossed over $5 million, admittedly weak compared to the usual movie offerings from Hollywood. For a documentary, however, those are strong numbers. I went to an early afternoon showing on a weekday, expecting a theater of mostly vacant seats. Instead, I had difficulty finding a seat among a sea of gray haired retirees, the age demographic that votes in consistently high percentages each election. The person manning the ticket booth later confirmed that the movie was the most popular daytime choice among the twelve movies it was showing.
The movie begins with the conviction and two year imprisonment of D’Souza, who contributed too much money to the campaign of a friend who was running for local office. An innocent man persecuted by our legal system, we are told. A sentence that was hardly commensurate with a technical violation of election law. D’Souza had my sympathies until he attributed his plight to a vendetta by President Obama who evidently orchestrated this judicial persection of D’Souza in retribution for earlier documentaries that D’Souza had created. What was next, I wondered? The Illuminati?
Taking notes during the film, I did some fact checking afterwards. Did D’Souza go to prison for two years? Not according to this NY Times article. By law, the judge could have given D’Souza two years but declined to do so. The details of the trial are here. The reader will see that this was not an innocent mistake of mistakenly writing one too many checks to a political campaign. The audience is led to believe that several scenes and conversations that occurred inside the jail were during D’Souza’s two year sentence. They might have happened while he was in detention, not a pleasant experience, for sure, but not two years in prison.
D’Souza makes the claim that Obama rules over an urban plantation of blacks, other minorities and immigrants, following a template laid down by rural southern plantation owners and urban DP politicians. Obama’s political background is rooted in the state of Illinois where Democratic mayors and a gang of political cronies have ruled Chicago through a system of voter impressment, physically forcing immigrants and blacks to the ballot box. D’Souza neglects to mention that the most corrupt mayor of Chicago was “Big Bill” Thompson, a Republican whose two terms during the Prohibition era set the template of power and corruption that marked successive administrations in the city. But this is not a Republican Party hatchet job, is it? More inconvenient facts, darn it.
D’Souza makes the case that FDR’s reign during the Depression era 1930s marks the beginning of the Democratic theft of America. Whether it was a theft is a matter of opinion. As Lincoln did, FDR used the crisis to help rewrite the relationship of the Federal government to the states and its citizens.
During some forty minutes, the movie documents the many horrors of slavery by Democratic landholders. The moral rot at the heart of the DP is evidenced by the election of a savage, ruthless man to the highest position in the land. Andrew Jackson was a Democratic President who treated his slaves worse than farm animals and forced Indian tribes on a long death march from their ancestral lands. The party of slavery and Jim Crow laws now tries to market itself as the champion of blacks and minorities.
As with other documentaries of political propoganda – yes, Michael Moore, I’m talking about you – there are careful omissions of fact and context as well as just plain old sloppy research. Facts are sacrificed to the cause the film promotes. D’Souza tells us that Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party, a falsehood that is easily checked by anyone with a cell phone. Why tell such balderdash? D’Souza wants to stress that the RP, which began as a friend to the blacks, is still a friend of the blacks and other minorities.
D’Souza notes that it was Republicans who took land from the defeated Democrats after the Civil War and gave it to the blacks who had worked those lands. On the face of it, this is true. Now for the rest of the story, as broadcaster Paul Harvey would say. In the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, Republican politicians took over state legislatures and did award white owned farms to the newly freed blacks. Many blacks, illiterate and unschooled in the management of a farm, lost the newly awarded lands to tax forfeiture. Republican legislators and their friends were at the courthouse when the lands were auctioned and became the new owners of the land for a paltry sum. That unlovely coincidence of human greed surpasses all political affiliation.
Emphasizing the point that it is the Democrats who are the party of racism, D’Souza recounts Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s sordid sentiments toward blacks, his endorsement of the KKK and the hosting of a White House screening of the D.W. Griffith film “Birth of a Nation.” D’Souza includes several clips from the movie to cement the association between the Democratic Wilson and slavery.
D’Souza dramatizes a scene where Wilson repulses the efforts of Ida Wells, a black journalist and activist, who attempted to get the President’s help to stop lynchings in the Democratic South. Left out is the fact that Wells had been unable to get cooperation in this cause from a Republican President, William McKinley (Source). In 1918 and subsequent Congresses, there were repeated Republican efforts to pass anti-lynching legislation but they were blocked by Democratic Senators (See notes at end).
The RP is a friend of women as well as blacks, D’Souza tells us. After all, a Republican Congress passed the women’s suffrage amendment. What we are not told is that Republicans specifically excluded women from the draft language of the 14th Amendment. As this historian notes, “History is messy.” Inconvenient facts are tossed aside to present a consistent narrative with a simple, clear message. Donkeys bad. Elephants good.
Although Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, D’Souza reminds us that it was the Republicans who overcame a Senate filibuster of the Act by southern Democrats. One more reminder in an election season that the RP has been a friend to blacks. Republican efforts to make voting by blacks a bit more difficult is conveniently left out of the narrative.
D’Souza dismantles the notion of a party switch, the idea that southern racist Democrats switched parties and are now Republican. To refute this theory popular in Democratic circles , D’Souza shows a graphic of the 1500 KKK leaders and Democratic politicians in the southern states in the 1960s. After the passage of the Civil Rights Act, less than 1% switched parties. The graphic is a visually powerful argument but there is little explanatory information with this graphic. What years are compared? Why include the KKK members? How were the party affiliations of these members checked? A comparison of election maps before and after the passage of the Civil Rights Act makes it clear that there was a party switch.
In the 1960 Presidential election, most of the southern states, including Johnson’s home state of Texas, voted Democratic. This election map shows the southern blue voting block. The Civil Rights Act passed in July 1964, a few months before that year’s Presidential election. Texas stayed with Johnson but five Southern states went Republican, as this election map shows. (You can also toggle the election year above the map.)
In the 1968 election, four of those five southern states voted for George Wallace, the former Democratic governor of Alabama who had refused to integrate public schools in the state. Running as an Independent and a champion of segregation and states’ rights, Wallace won about 10% of the electoral votes, a feat achieved by no third party candidate since. (Map)
Clearly now the southern states were in the hands of Republicans and segregationists. Or were they? In the 1976 election, many southern states voted for Jimmy Carter, a fellow southerner and the Democratic governor of Georgia. (Map)
The appeal of political propoganda documentaries is that they simplify history by carefully filtering out the confusion of contradictory events and data. We would all like to disregard the complexity of human behavior, the conflicting loyalties that confirm the chaotic in human affairs. We want tidy circles, not ragged inkblot shapes. What keeps historians busy in a lifetime of academic research and study can be easily brushed aside by the makers of message films. Darn it, we’re still arguing over the causes of WWI and that was a century ago!
Champions of slavery, tolerant of racist Jim Crow laws and lynchings in the southern states, the DP has also supported eugenics laws. D’Souza implies that this is part of a continuing effort to eradicate the black race. No longer able to use black people as free slave labor, the DP seeks to rid the country of them through sterilization and abortion.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of what is now called Planned Parenthood, was also a champion of eugenics (see here), as were many progressives. In today’s political alignment, progressives are part of the DP, but they used to be part of the Republican Party when the eugenics movement first gained popular strength. Led by President Theodore Roosevelt, the progressive movement was responsible for workplace and social reforms, and the creation of the first national parks. Eugenics was an “enlightened” and scientific idea at the time, but horrifies us now. Hitler’s devotion to the concept impelled his commitment to the methodical destruction of the Jewish race, and the wholesale slaughter of Slavs and Communists who surrounded and threatened the noble German race.
Linking Sanger with another group devoted to the suppression and eventual eradicaton of the black race, D’Souza shows a picture of Sanger at a KKK rally as proof of her association with the racist group. The researchers at the debunking site Snopes showed that this was a doctored photo . Sanger did speak before a NJ women’s chapter of the KKK as part of her effort to speak about birth control to as many groups as possible. In her autobiography, Sanger wrote about the meeting and the strangeness of the experience so D’Souza uncovers no dark and hidden secrets.
Sanger wrote that she wanted Negro parents to have the ability to make the same family planning decisions that white parents did. She envisioned a day when Negro parents had the same access to hospital services for their births that white parents did. She wrote ” Some day … there will not be a single section of the country without adequate hospital facilities for all. But until that day is here, Negro mothers should be given all possible protection against needless sacrifice through childbearing.” Doesn’t sound like someone who wants to eradicate the Negro race, does it?
D’Souza’s message is that abortion and sterilization are the twin weapons of the eugenics movement. Although sterilization was discontinued after the 1970s, abortion remains a tool of the eugenics movement primarily aimed at black women and the gradual reduction of the black race in America.
As evidence of this, D’Souza notes that the majority of Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics are in black-majority neighborhoods. Protecting Black Life, a pro-life advocacy group, has an interactive tool using 2010 census figures that verifies the correlation of clinics in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. With a tendency to have lower incomes, these minority population may simply use PP’s services more frequently, prompting PP to position their clinics in these areas. Secondly, lease rates are lower in these neighborhoods and are attractive to an organization with constant funding needs. However, those are boring pedestrian explanations for the correlation of locations. D’Souza’s more dramatic explanation is that the location of PP clinics is part of a DP master plan of genocide. Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain (2012) and Ben Carson (2016) have made accusations similar to D’Souza’s (WP article) Maybe D’Souza will write the next Jason Bourne film?
A conservative propoganda piece must include Saul Alinsky, the anti-Christ of liberal politics who wrote “Rules For Radicals.” The 1971 book consisted of tactics that a community organizer might use to knit low income communities into a more powerful voice at the political bargaining table. Confrontation and conflict are themes common to many of the tactics.
Political propoganda consists of a series of “dog whistles” familiar to the target congregation. Conservatives are quick to tar any Democratic politician with the epithet “Alinskyite” as in “Alinskyite ideas.” The congregation barks with approval.
Obama was only ten years old when Alinsky died in 1972 but Obama was a community organizer who has quoted Alinsky. The quotes are not direct but close enough that any true conservative can see that Obama is a commie radical like Alinsky. In Chapter 2 of Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote about the world as it is and the world as it should be. When Obama uses the words “world”, “is” and “should” in the same sentence, he is quoting Alinsky and professing to be a Communist. I totally get that. Here is one example of this kind of dogmatic analysis.
In a 1963 speech, President Kennedy – yes, a Democrat – differentiated those who saw the world as it was and asked why, and those who dreamed of what the world could be and asked why not. His brother, Robert Kennedy, used the phrase as well in several speeches. In that same speech, JFK attributed the original quote to Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Using the logic of this conservative accusation, we can assume that anyone who has dreams about a better world is a disciple of Alinsky and yes, a radical Commie Utopian.
The movie’s title begins with Hillary’s America, so when is D’Souza going to show us Hillary’s secrets? Why, just about now. Hillary Clinton actually wrote a student thesis on Alinsky. As president of the student club, Hillary invited Alinsky to speak at Wellesley College. The audience does not have to be good at math to realize that Hillary Clinton = Communist.
As the student commencement speaker at her graduation from Wellesley in 1969, Hillary went off script to chide the guest speaker, Republican Senator Edward Brooks, an African American, about his remarks (Transcript of Hillary’s speech). D’Souza dramatizes it for his audience. White girl at Wellesley rebukes black senator, showing no respect for either his position or his race. Senator sits quietly in chair on dais as Hillary says these disrespectful words. Bad Hillary.
Here is a piece of Hillary’s remarks: “we feel that for too long our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible. And the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.” Any conservative can see what she is saying. We feed her words into the conservative de-confabulator and out pops the translation. She is talking about the world as it is and as it should or could be. Alinskyite Communist thinking of a better world, for sure.
D’Souza left out the Senator’s remarks that prompted Hillary’s response. Senator Brooke adopted what was a mild authoritarian posture typical of the time. Student protests against the Vietnam war, discrimination and entrenched power structures occurred almost weekly, it seemed. He said: “Dissent and protest are essential ingredients in the democratic concoction. Without them an open society becomes a contradiction in terms, and representative government becomes as stagnant as despotism. Yet there is a narrow but distinct line between productive dissent and counter-productive disruption.” (Transcript of Brooke’s speech)
Brooke cautioned against protest for the sake of protest, sentiments that sound reasonable to most American ears today. Other elements of the speech would be typical of today’s moderate Democrat or Republican, animals who may have been driven to extinction in the current era of polarized opinions. Only a Republican very secure in his seat would dare to give such a speech today. Brooke endorsed the growth of the many Federal government cabinets recently created to combat housing and job discrimination, poor education and poverty. Yes, a Republican endorsing bigger government. He was practically a Socialist in the eyes of some conservatives today! What did bad Hillary find wrong with those sentiments?
Hillary’s response is rather tame for the period when there was open antagonism between the rulers and the ruled. D’Souza uses a snippet of a sentence taken out of context to portray Hillary as an uncivil person with little respect for authority. That’s the message of this segment of the film. Hillary bad.
These days ain’t those days. There, I said that and you can quote me.
Rulers had rigid rules that gave most of society’s power to men, not women. Hillary spoke for many who wanted a change.
The rulers said war was necessary and that the ruled were supposed to go fight the war to stop Communism. The ruled were ordered to fight but were not allowed to vote. The ruled broke things in protest.
At the universities, rulers had clearly defined and time honored curricula choices that reflected the prejudices and preferences of past generations. The ruled wanted a greater voice in curricula selection.
The rulers had a grading system that seemed arbitrary to the ruled. What is the difference between a B+ and a B paper? With few consistent rules to guide the grading process, wouldn’t a pass-fail grading system make more sense? No, the rulers said. Rulers make the rules and students follow them. Is that clear?
Those were the good old days. College students today are surprised when they hear of these old rules, most of which have been either abandoned or dramatically altered. The ruled stormed the forts of power and the rulers compromised so that they could continue ruling in whatever capacity they could manage. Some of the ruled became the rulers.
I do encourage the reader to read the speeches of both Hillary and Brooke. Hillary’s speech is the shorter, for sure, but both speakers are rather moderate and deliberate, remarkable in an age of sometimes murderous (Kent State) and often bloody (Columbia U. and others in NYC, for example) protests.
Having established that Hillary is a socialist, anarchist Communist, D’Souza then shows the tragedy of her personal life. For several decades she has been covering up for the sex addiction of her husband and former President Bill Clinton. Democratic Party = slavery = sexual deviants = Communism = Godlessness = bad.
I was busy writing out D’Souza’s equations when I realized that I was going to miss an appointment. I had to miss the final 15 minutes of the film but I suspect that D’Souza was going to finish with the tragedy at Benghazi and Hillary’s personal email server while she was Secretary of State. If you want to know how the film turned out, you can rent it on Vudu or spend a couple of hours at your local theater. I have now seen a Michael Moore film and a Dinesh D’Souza film. As Johnny Cash sang, I walk the line between either extreme. I hope I can keep my balance.
“We urge Congress to consider the most effective means to end Iynching in this country which continues to be a terrible blot on our American civilization.” Republican presidential platform, 1920. In the House, Republicans held a 50 seat majority, 240 seats to 192 Democratic seats. In the Senate, Republicans had won a 49 to 47 majority in the 1918 elections. Repeated Republican efforts were blocked by Democratic Senators (more here)
The claim that Lincoln founded the Republican party is incorrect. Here and here.
In Buck v. Bell (1927), the Supreme Court ruled that state sterilization laws were legal. As further evidence of the DP’s efforts to eradicate the black race, D’Souza notes that it was Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Progressive, who wrote the court’s majority opinion. D’Souza omits the fact that a Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, appointed Holmes to the court and a Republican majority Senate approved the appointment.