There was a time in America when eliminating racism in our society, root and branch, was an imperative and a bipartisan effort. And the New Jersey Republican Party, under the leadership of former Governor Tom Kean, could take particular pride in being a national leader among state Republican parties in the practice of the politics of inclusion, both in the political campaigns and in government decisions and policy making.
Even the most despised Republican president among pre-Trump Democrats, Richard Nixon has maintained a strong civil rights record. Without reservation, Nixon supported the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (public housing), 1965 (voting rights) and 1968 (housing). Nixon also implemented the Philadelphia Plan, a landmark effort to promote the awarding of federal contracts to African-American contractors.
Nixon’s record on civil rights, particularly when it comes to voting rights, contrasts sharply with the current Trump-era Republican crusade to suppress the African American vote. On racial issues, compared to Donald Trump, Richard Nixon qualified for holiness. It should be noted that in the presidential elections of 1960 and 1972, Nixon’s strong civil rights record won him the endorsement of Jackie Robinson.
We are now, however, in the new era of identity politics, where political and government leaders decide their plans of action based on the impact on their favorable ethnic and racial constituencies. In this new world, the National GOP and virtually all of the state Republican parties have struck out the African American community and have taken a stand to maintain the allegiance of their legions of sympathetic voters to notions of white supremacy and white privilege.
There are two battlegrounds on which the Republican Party is waging its war against the African American community: 1) voter suppression; and 2) teaching the doctrines of Critical Race Theory (CRT). The national avatar of the Republican Party in the two anti-black wars is no longer Donald Trump, but rather the Republican Jim Crow in a suit and tie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the current favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination . ( https://www.newsweek.com/ron-desantis-edges-out-trump-president-straw-poll-western-conservative-summit-1602375?amp=1)
Not since George Wallace, not even Donald Trump, has launched a more overtly racist call for the presidency than DeSantis. In fact, his Hollywood-style beauty and bogus sophistication, cultivated by his undergraduate studies at Yale and Harvard Law, camouflaging his nefarious intentions, make him a far more dangerous potential president than Trump.
In the words of The GodfatherDeSantis âcut his teethâ in the GOP’s anti-African-American wars by his success in adopting the country’s most restrictive voting package, with undeniable anti-black impact. These provisions, among others, included stricter voter identification requirements for postal voting, limits on who can collect and return a voter’s ballot, a ban on private funding for elections, expanded partisan observation power during the counting of the ballots and additional restrictions on use of the box. He signed the bill in May during an appearance on Fox and Friends that was banned from other media.
DeSantis’ seductive polish qualifies him to be considered the 21st century version of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British fascists of the pre-WWII years. Yet with his character as an evil star, he has enormous potential to attract and raise funds in MAGALAND.
Given the poor performance of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli in current polls, his lukewarm support for MAGALAND, as demonstrated in the primary, and his need to both wake up the Trumpist base and collect a daunting amount of money to qualify for the maximum game in the general election, he will be under pressure to invite DeSantis to New Jersey to campaign for him and help raise funds.
The result would be a disaster for Ciattarelli, who is not a racist. Yet the very appearance of DeSantis in New Jersey will throw gasoline on the fire of existing racial tensions in the state and ensure that Ciattarelli’s share of the African American vote is limited to single digits.
The New Jersey Republican Party has shamefully and abjectly followed the national Republican trend in supporting the suppression of the African American vote. (https://www.insidernj.com/under-new-politics-exclusion-new-jersey-republican-state-committee-suppres-black-vote/) The question now is whether the Republican candidate for governor New Jersey’s Jack Ciattarelli and the New Jersey Republican State Committee will bow to the national Republican trend, led by DeSantis, on the issue of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
The essence of CRT is that racism in America is SYSTEMIC; that is, it is not just about individuals with racial prejudices. Rather, it is an issue of racism embedded and woven into legal systems, negatively impacting people of color in their schools, healthcare, the criminal justice system and countless other areas of life. , including the environment, as I described earlier.
Critical race theory is a serious academic discipline. It involves extensive study and research into how race and racism intersect with politics, culture, and the law, leaving a basis of systemic racism that does not go away, even with the actual numbers of racists declining in the world. the society.
The evidence for systemic racism in America is overwhelming. Education is fundamentally a search for truth, and any attempt to ban the study of critical race theory is a flagrant violation of academic freedom and an impermissible attempt to prevent our students, especially at undergraduate level, to find out the truth.
A denial of the reality of systemic racism amounts to a denial of the Holocaust. And the CRT study ban is tantamount to the burning of books that has taken place throughout history in totalitarian societies.
Contrary to a false claim, Critical Race Theory is not an attempt to degrade America. In fact, the reverse is true.
CRT involves a recognition that individual racism has declined in America; however, it left a residue of systemic racism that continues to act like cancer on the American body politic. And the goal of Critical Race Theory is to find cures for this disease. DeSantis’ accusation that “critical race theory teaches children ‘the country is rotten and our institutions are illegitimate'” is a vile and despicable lie.
Nonetheless, in nearly half of the states, Republican lawmakers have proposed bills that would limit even the teaching of such compelling concepts as racial fairness and white privilege, some without mentioning CRT per se. Six bills banning CRT have been enacted, including in the states of Florida and Texas, among the most populous states in the country.
Given DeSantis’ status, it’s understandable that Florida’s anti-CRT measures have received the most attention. And for racists in America, the governor of Florida did not disappoint. At DeSantis’ instigation, the Florida State Board of Education two weeks ago unanimously passed an amendment banning critical race theory.
The amendment states that the subjects must be “factual and objective” and specifically prohibits “the teaching of critical race theory, i.e. the theory that racism is not simply the product of prejudice, but that racism is ingrained in American society and its legal systems in order to maintain the supremacy of white people.
The amendment also bans material from Project 1619, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times initiative that reframed American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on American shores.
Support for the teaching of critical race theory should be a bipartisan imperative. This DeSantis measure is a vile stain on the state of Florida and even on America.
DeSantis attempted to seek the support of the Florida Jewish community by including in the measure a reaffirmation of the relevance of teaching about the Holocaust in public schools. My role in promulgating the New Jersey Holocaust education mandate is a matter of common knowledge, even outside of New Jersey.
As a result, I fully expect to be skinned by Jewish supporters of DeSantis, inside and outside Florida. My answer is simple. I will not allow any public official like DeSantis to take racist action against the African American community, regardless of the favorable treatment the official in question may have accorded to the Jewish community.
All of this begs the New Jersey question: what position will Jack Ciattarelli and the New Jersey Republican Party take on the issue of critical race theory and the existence of systemic racism? This is a question that neither Ciattarelli nor the New Jersey Republican State Committee can flee and hide from.
There is one Republican whose reaction is totally predictable: Senator Mike Doherty, a reactionary Republican who reminds one of Gerald LK Smith.
Doherty is an outright denier of systemic racism. He doesn’t blame white America for the disparities blacks and browns face in health, education, housing, and policing. Instead, he attributes the disparities to the abandonment of African-American families by fathers. Simply put, Doherty’s reaction can be summed up in four words: Blame the black victim.
In contrast, Jack Ciattarelli’s reaction to the Critical Race Study and Systemic Racism issues is totally unpredictable.
Like I said before, Jack is a good, honest man who is not racist. Honestly, I don’t know, however, what Ciattarelli will do about it. It depends on what Ciattarelli will emerge in the next few weeks: the Ciattarelli from the 2017 Primary Campaign, who was a Courage Profile in the face of the evils of Trumpism or the Jack Ciattarelli from the Primary Campaign 2021, who faced Trump and Trumpism. looked like Neville Chamberlain.
Whichever route Ciattarelli takes, his previous ambiguity will contrast poorly with the record of Phil Murphy, who was the country’s chief social justice governor, as I wrote previously:
There is another confounding factor in assessing Ciattarelli’s reaction to CRT and systemic racism. He claims his favorite former governor was Tom Kean, the same Tom Kean from Politics of Inclusion.
So we’ll soon know which Governor Jack Ciattarelli would follow on racism and civil rights issues: Governor Tom Kean or Governor Ron DeSantis?
Alan J. Steinberg served as EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator during the administration of former President George W. Bush and Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.
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