Throughout history we have been subjected to flippant, callous remarks about dark periods of our past. Think about how many times we hear this person or that person compared to Hitler. People make such comparisons without regard to the gravity of the reality.
Add Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson to the disgraceful list.
Short on history and lacking sensitivity, he sent out a fundraising mailer picturing a burning cross — comparing the tea party to the Klu Klux Klan.
Lest we forget, the KKK was committed to using extreme violence to exert control over blacks and preserve white supremacy. Its tactics included the worst kind of terror: bombing, burning, dismemberment, castration, and the most well-known—lynching.
Hava Holzhauer, regional director of the Florida Anti-Defamation League got it right when she recently wrote that the Klan is “America’s first true terrorist group.”
Given that history, it’s really ironic that Grayson, whose congressional district and surrounding areas are historically no strangers to the KKK, would use the Klan for political advantage.
He and his fellow Democrats and liberals may not know it, but the Tuskegee Institute recorded 3,446 blacks lynched between 1882 and 1968 — 257 in Florida — including women.
They should read a 1993 Orlando Sentinel article “Lynching: Florida's Brutal Distinction” pointing to a study showing that, between 1882 and 1930, Florida had the highest per capita percentage of black lynching in the nation.
On Christmas night in 1951, seven years before Grayson’s birth in the Bronx, the home of Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriett was bombed.
It was their 25th wedding anniversary.
Moore died on the way to a Sanford, Fla., hospital. His wife died from her injuries nine days later.
Speaking of Sanford, now famous for the George Zimmerman trial, it was fear of the KKK that caused the Brooklyn Dodgers to decide it was too dangerous for future Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson — the famous No. 42 — to stay in that town.
Moore was a civil rights pioneer in Florida. He started the Brevard County NAACP; later organized the Florida State Conference of the NAACP; and, was called the first martyr of the 1950s-era civil rights era.
Who killed him and his wife?
A 2006 Florida Attorney General’s investigation concluded that they were killed as a result of a conspiracy by the central Florida KKK.
The Report stated: “membership in the Ku Klux Klan was widespread in the State of Florida during that time, and even the Governor of the State of Florida, Fuller Warren, was a self-admitted former Klansman . . . So many people suffered at the hands of a few.”
Moore’s NAACP history and death by the Klan makes the silence of the Florida and National NAACP on Grayson’s use of the KKK imagery even more deplorable.
So why all of this background on the KKK and Florida?
Because it makes Grayson’s political use of the Klan for political purposes even more despicable, ignorant, and reckless.
Where is the outrage?
- Moore gave his life fighting the Klan; no word from the NAACP?
- The Congressional Black Caucus has no comment?
- The Florida Democratic Party and Grayson’s fellow Democrats — nothing to say on the matter?
- Any and all liberal organizations should take a stand
Contrast the silence by these groups to the criticism of former Congressman Allen West when he said that Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the Democrat Party because Democrats have an incredible propaganda machine.
Unlike Grayson, West did not equate Democrats to Nazis as Grayson equated the tea party to the KKK.
Even so, West’s comment unleashed an avalanche of criticism:
- Congressional Black Caucus senior member Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., demanded that West “help raise the level of congressional discourse.”
- Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said West’s remarks were a “new low in seeking to smear his Democratic colleagues and score cheap political points.”
- The Anti-Defamation League: “Holocaust analogies have no place in our political dialogue [they are] offensive [and] trivialize real historical events.”
Even Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, herself a Florida congresswoman, has not condemned Grayson.
She could only say that she was “disappointed in the use of that imagery.”
Jewish Americans — whether Democrat or Republican — will not and do not tolerate anything that they believe trivializes their history or people’s sacrifices, especially what happened to their people in Nazi Germany, and rightly so.
For that they have my utmost respect and admiration.
On the other hand, for most black and white Democrat leaders and civil rights groups, responding to racially insensitive remarks or actions usually depends on the politics of the offender.
Liberal Democrats like Grayson usually get a pass. Conservatives or Republicans are all but crucified — with the help of the mainstream media.
That’s probably why Grayson did not dare use a swastika in his mailer and compare the tea party to Nazis.
He knows that, as a liberal Democrat, he can say or do almost anything in terms of blacks — -including using the Klan as a political prop — without repercussion.
If black Democrat politicians and civil rights groups are not upset with Grayson playing fast and loose with the KKK image, why should anyone else be?
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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