Seems some of the posters at the gift that keeps on giving found this image worth discussing …
We begin with a poster who celebrates the current Republican ticket but who wants to make sure that people understand that Republicans were racists, too, even as he highlights an ad saying that they were not.
We’ve been over the issue of racism in the North and among Republicans, so let’s set that aside … except to point out that of the two major parties in the North during the 1860s and 1870s, it was the Democratic party that was clearly the party of white supremacy.
The next two comments speak for themselves. It is not until the third comment that we have some sense that perhaps it’s a mistake (in oh so many ways) to equate political divisions and partisan identities 150 years ago with those of today. I’d also argue that it is equally misleading to simply say that the two major parties have simply swapped positions. The situation is different, the issues are different, and the parties are different. Otherwise, however, we have more of the usual Confederate heritage correctness nonsense.
People twist themselves into interesting pretzels when they try to advance these arguments, but then that’s because heritage correctness advocates blur present and past in an effort to craft an understanding of the past that supports their present political leanings. I’d argue that heritage correctness advocates are not alone in that endeavor … just that the endeavor should never be mistaken for understanding the past. That’s one reason why the oft-quoted line from William Faulkner — “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” — is richer and more complex than one might think.