The common view—only common because of its proliferation by the leftist media, and Hollywood–is that Democrats are empathetic wonks. What I mean by that is they are portrayed as people whose hearts bleed when they see hardship, and all they want to do is help. They are seen as eggheads, whose intelligence, and practicality of policy lead them to be mocked. While Republicans are viewed as either bumbling morons, or racist, misogynistic, greedy menaces to society. This is only the case because–as I mentioned above—Hollywood and the media have worked tirelessly to sculpt these images.
One of the more upsetting aspects of this incorrect perception is that people actually believe that it was Republicans who were opposed to civil rights, and that it was Democrats who tirelessly championed them. This belief has led people away from the Republican Party, and toward the Democratic Party. But it’s just false. I cannot do justice to this issue on a large scale, but I would like to tackle it in a very specific way. If you’d like a better, and more thorough grasp on this issue, read The Tyranny of Cliches, by Jonah Goldberg.
According to Breitbart, Joe Piscopo, a former SNL actor has publicly left the Democratic Party. In an op-ed for the Washington Times, Piscopo explained the reason he decided to leave the Party:
“I was a Democrat because I believed in civil rights, like Lyndon Johnson…I was a Democrat because while it was clear to me that the Republican politicians were out of touch and cared for only the upper class, Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt cared for the masses and helping the working man…By and large, none of these values are represented in the Democratic Party today…From where I’m standing, the party has largely abandoned its commitment to civil rights and instead allows race-baiters to be national power brokers…“
To most people, what Picopo wrote falls into line with what they know to be true—at least in terms of the historical position of Democrats like Lyndon Johnson. The problem is that the Democrats were not the civil rights champions college professors, and pundits claim they were. Moreover, Lyndon Johnson was certainly not an advocate for blacks, in fact, he was a racist.
Yeah, most liberals, and even many apolitical individuals would probably scold me for saying something like that, because they have no clue. They believe that Johnson was a champion of the black community. According to Kevin D. Williamson of National Review (and don’t lambaste me for my choice of source, because this info can be found in many other places. Try Google, it’s pretty cool, guys.):
“The depth of Johnson’s prior opposition to civil-rights reform must be digested in some detail to be properly appreciated…In Congress, Johnson had consistently and repeatedly voted against legislation to protect black Americans from lynching. As a leader in the Senate, Johnson did his best to cripple the Civil Rights Act of 1957; not having votes sufficient to stop it, he managed to reduce it to an act of mere symbolism by excising the enforcement provisions before sending it to the desk of President Eisenhower.“
Lyndon Johnson said this of the Civil Rights Act:
“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
Next time a liberal friend extols Lyndon Johnson as some kind of civil rights hero, make sure to bring up that quote. There is so much more to this story, just check out the rest of the article on National Review, and read Jonah Goldberg’s book. But my focus isn’t on the fact that Lyndon Johnson was a racist, or that it was mostly Republicans who shepherded the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, but the fact that common wisdom says that the reverse is true.
When celebrities like Joe Piscopo come out, and leave the Democratic Party, it’s a good thing. But when they make comments like “I was a Democrat because I believed in civil rights, like Lyndon Johnson,” it perpetuates a devastating myth. This myth permeates our society, and it blights the conservative movement. As Winston Churchill said, a lie can get around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. Because of lies like the ones being told about who opposed civil rights, many people are completely unwilling to understand the Republican Party. More than that, they don’t see that the Republican Party is the Party of compassion. They see Republicans as evil, and backwards.
This one myth has created an illusion that has millions of people convinced that conservatism is bad, that conservatives are idiots. Joe Piscopo has just done his part—likely unwittingly—to advance a vile cultural lie. And as we know, lies (propaganda) told enough times have an incredible influence. Without the lie that Republicans were racists, and Democrats were compassionate civil rights champions, more Americans may be willing to seriously consider our platform. Without this lie being constantly told, the light of truth could reveal to many Americans that conservatism is the most compassionate philosophy. But, once again, “common knowledge” has killed the truth.