Why do so many white Republicans love bringing up slavery and then wonder why the GOP has the reputation among liberals as being a party of racists? Maybe they really do want to purge the party of what little black conservatives the GOP has and alienate independents in the process. Just when I thought I had heard almost every kind of slavery gaffe and apology uttered by Republicans, Rep. Michelle Bachmann joins in the fun.
(To refresh your memory, Gov. Haley Barbour said he didn’t think Gov. Bob McDonnell omitting slavery from his Confederate History month didn’t “amount to diddly.” This was said prior to Barbour saying he ” just didn’t remember [the Civil Rights Movement] being that bad.”) No, I don’t make this stuff up.
Back to Rep. Bachmann, GOP presidential candidate and party darling, Bachmann signed the “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family,” a pledge created by an Iowa conservative Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Christian group The Family Leader. Obviously, Bachmann signed it to score points with Iowa voters in her quest for the White House in 2012. Plaats declared his group won’t endorse any GOP candidate who doesn’t sign the pledge.
The pledge is what you would expect from a socially conservative group, advocating traditional families and Defense of the Marriage Act. But on the top of the first page, the marriage vow pledge states “the institution of marriage in America is in great crisis” and the first bullet point under this statement is that black children were better off during slavery then they are today under the nation’s first Black president.
“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA first African-American President.”
It’s hard to argue Bachmann didn’t know this was in the pledge when it’s on the first page of the document and if she admits she signed it without reading it that’s even more troubling someone running for president doesn’t read documents before signing them. It’s impossible to fathom how anyone could read a statement like that about black families during slavery and not laugh.
Perhaps Mr. Plaats and Ms. Bachmann along with other signers of his pledge need to be reminded that blacks were treated like animals during slavery and recognized as the property of their slave owners. Slaves were not allowed to marry, wives were routinely raped by their masters and family members were separated through sales on the auction block to whomever the owner could get the highest bid for the slave. I don’t know what kind of American history Bachmann, Plaats or Barbour have been reading but I can tell you slavery certainly wasn’t the glory days for black families.
The one accurate point the pledge makes and what they should have started with is that the welfare program has caused the disintegration of the black family.
“LBJ 1965 War on Poverty was triggered in part by the famous “Moynihan Report” finding that the black out-of-wedlock birthrate had hit 26%; today, the white rate exceeds that, the overall rate is 41%, and over 70% of African-American babies are born to single parents4 – a prime sociological indicator for poverty, pathology and prison regardless of race or ethnicity.”
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned about this alarming trend among Blacks in his “1965 Moynihan Report or The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, where he noted “the breakdown of the negro family has led to a startling increase in welfare dependency.”
Moynihan argues what we all know today that fatherless black homes leads to higher rates of unemployment, poverty, illegitimate births and crime among blacks compared to whites. What the Marriage pledge should have noted was that Democrats’ 40 plus decades of social welfare policies have killed the black family and life for blacks under the nation’s first black president has only grown bleaker.
Under Obama, unemployment for blacks has soared to 16% compared to the national average of 9.2%. In cities like Brooklyn and parts of Washington, DC the rate is 30%-50%. In Milwaukee, 34% of black males are unemployed. A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found in 2009 the median net worth for white households had fallen 24 percent to $97,860 while the median net worth for black households plummeted 83% to $2,170.
Instead of coming up with offensive, inaccurate references about black families during slavery, Republicans should be reminding over 90% of black voters who voted for Obama what a horrible situation he has created for them. Any marriage pledge should demonstrate how out-of wedlock births harm blacks economically and encourage marriage in the black community.
It’s not okay Mr. Plaats apologized for the racist remark and removed the statement from the pledge. It’s also not okay Bachmann gave no credible response for why she signed the pledge with the slave statement. The statement should have never been written! Then you wouldn’t have had to apologize for it or back peddle from the truth.
Note to Republicans: slavery, segregation and the Civil Rights Movement were not happy times for blacks; so stop telling us those days didn’t amount to diddly. The road to the White House is not campaigning like you’re living in the good ole days of the Jim Crow South.