Nathan, what say you?
I think the substance of the article is true. I've expressed my feelings as they relate to the Ku Klux Klan and General Forrest in my about page. Please note that page ends with what I hope is a transcendent note of repentance and forgiveness.
The irreplaceable predicate for forgiveness is repentance which my Bible tells me is a breaking of the heart, a true contrition, a turning away from sin, a change of behavior, and a new course. When the repentance is real and when the trespasser throws himself on the mercy of the eternal judge, the penitent absolutely receives forgiveness. I think this is applicable in the case of Nathan Bedford Forrest but is it applicable to the Democrat party and especially to the race pimps who demagogue this issue?
I'm not sure that it will avail anything by way of changing the black culture to recite the long course of American history in which the Democrat party condoned enslavement and segregation of African Americans. The time horizon of African-American voters is probably not more than a generation and I believe for most of them the world started with the inauguration of Barack Obama. But the author unaccountably fails to deal with more recent history. I don't think there are many community activists in the African-American world who will be easily moved by a review of 19th century politics. Nevertheless, a few reminders about more recent history would not be amiss for the rest of us.
In the sweep of American history the Democrat party as the other wrong side of slavery and the wrong side of segregation up until about the time of Franklin Roosevelt. Interestingly, it was Franklin Roosevelt cousin Teddy who scandalized society by entertaining at first African-American in the White House at dinner. Franklin Roosevelt himself was a patrician and probably a racist but his wife was the public face of the administration on the issue and she captured the hearts of America's Negroes. Harry Truman began seriously to take affirmative steps to undo Jim Crow, for example, he integrated the armed services and acted where he could on a federal level. Eisenhower was no less "correct" in his treatment of the subject but he was prudential and circumspect in the small steps of progress he made. He was nontheatrical, as distinguished from Eleanor Roosevelt, and so never won their hearts back. It was really not until John F. Kennedy, especially through the activities of his brother Robert, popularly understood through his phone call to Martin Luther King in jail that African-Americans began to move solidly into the Democratic camp. Lyndon Johnson, for all of his faults and crimes, was in fact the "Master of the Senate" and as majority leader and as President, Lyndon Johnson guided the great civil rights laws through the Congress-but only after having sabotaged them early on. As the article points out, Johnson had to make treaty with the Republicans against his own party and many instances to get his legislation through. But the popular perception among African-Americans is that it was Republicans who resisted civil right movement. And this impression has stuck to the point where nothing the Republicans can do it shake in the slightest this fixed opinion of 12% of our population about 10% of our voters.
Sensing this dichotomy, Johnson allegedly turned from signing the legislation into law and predicted, "we have lost the South for a generation." Nixon was accused by the left of concocting a Southern strategy based on bigotry. Actually Nixon was in many ways proactive on behalf of civil rights but the perception stood.
Much of this I think has to do with demographics and the great moves by Southern blacks off the sharecropping acres of the South to the great industrial factory towns of the North during the First and Second World Wars. At the end of that migration trail they found themselves in a new world in which the cities were utterly controlled by the bosses and the bosses were all Democrats. These bosses operated on patronage and the seduction of the African American race began as they were induced to become addicted to entitlements.
It is human nature to rationalize one's trespasses and it would be unnatural for a whole race to be possessed of the strength of character of a man like Nathan Bedford Forrest who demonstrated his physical courage and his moral convictions time and again throughout his tumultuous life. But such was his intellectual and moral honesty that in the end he came to the place where he honestly confronted his sins and repented of them. As the African-American "community" descended into a vortex of self-destruction fueled by entitlements, they were conveniently supplied with the demagoguery by their own preachers to rationalize the very behavior that was and is killing them.
It is not by accident that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are "reverends" because for generations the cloth was one of the very few paths out of the under class for blacks. If one thinks of the parish as a precinct and a preacher as a ward healer, the nexus from the Democrat bosses to the most important social institution in the African-American world becomes an easy connection. The bosses were corrupt and they were eager to suborn their ward healers. That meant that black preachers have to deliver the vote and to do that they have to engage in the demagoguery which we know only too well.
As the Democrats contrived to move control of patronage from city bosses to Congressional Committee Chairman, the allegiance of the African-American society moved to the national Democrat party from the local Democrat bosses. Every step of the transition was facilitated by demagoguery.
In the long sweep of American history the Democrat Party for most of its existence was on the wrong side of the original sin of America: slavery and segregation. Today, race demagoguery is big business and big politics. It becomes bigger and bigger as the Democrats manage to federalize everything. I believe it has just put an African-American in the White House. I know of no way that the demagoguery which so affects the African-American world can be washed clean because I see no disposition whatever in the demagogues to come clean.
That is another way of saying that I know of no way that African-Americans can be made to vote against the Democrat ticket for the foreseeable future. Therefore, Republicans and conservatives should look to different demographics. But most of all, Conservatives should articulate a conservative message which is so compelling that races of all flavors will be drawn to it.
The irony is that the Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan should present a model of repentance. The tragedy is that the men of God in the African American community do not.