News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump is the creature of his party

The military led the desegregation of the United States.  Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph pressured President Harry Truman to sign a desegregation order for the military. He pointed out that black men would boycott the draft if they weren’t treated equally with whites in the military service.  Black men who had served in World War II in support roles—not allowed in combat— returned home to a segregated society that treated them with abusive discrimination like the fascist society they had been told they were serving their country to prevent.  People like Randolph saw the trouble looming with men who realized they were, in fact, serving white supremacy.  On July 14, 1948,  Pres. Truman signed order 9981 to desegregate the military.

The order was implemented and carried out largely during the administration of Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961),  who had dealt with the segregated military as the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II.   During the Battle of the Bulge,  Eisenhower was running out of combat troops,  so he issued an order to transfer some black support troops into combat roles,  much to the consternation and opposition of some of his generals.  The major events in the desegregation process of the U.S. were set in motion during the Eisenhower administration.

I served in Germany with Eisenhower as Commander in Chief eight years after the desegregation order was signed.  Officially, the Army was desegregated.  Socially, segregation lingered on.  Blacks, whites, and Latinos tended to stick with people of their own color.   Racial and ethnic attitudes were barriers that an executive order could not breach.  Some of us were assigned to provide the Friday Troop Information and Education Sessions, and we were told that  racial prejudice was the designated enemy we were to help defeat.  

We  troops were sent to Germany as part of the Cold War.  We put up missile batteries to protect against any incursions from the Soviet Union.  But our real battle was against de facto segregation and racial violence.  Some Air Force personnel we encountered bragged about having caught a black man in a barracks stairwell and throwing him down it.  On my base, my bunk mate was black.  One night in the enlisted men’s club, some men got belligerent about me being a “nigger lover” and wanted to teach me a lesson.  Word got back to the orderly room and the officer of the day dispatched the guard mount to empty the club and escort everyone back to the barracks.  The segregation battle was actually our major concern.  The Army Brass wanted us to demonstrate equality as a way of convincing the German people that democracy was the way of life they should adopt.  But the fact of the time was that back at home in the U.S., Jim Crow still ruled, even if the military was taking measures against it internally.  

The resurgence of racism is not surprising.   It is like chicken pox virus which, once it infects one,  can lie dormant and then re-emerge as shingles, an affliction of misery.  When we elected Obama as president,  many thought we had achieved a state of racial equality.  But having a black man as president activated the virus of hate and it soon surged through society.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell openly exhibited race-based opposition to Obama.  Their actions were not matters of mere political difference but were characterized by the need to insult and demean the black president.  Boehner refused phone calls from the president in ways that made sure they were demeaning slights that told the black president he did not deserve  respectful considerations. McConnell announced that his major purpose was not to legislate for the benefit of the people, but his sole purpose would be devoted to  denying Obama a second term.   The intensity and belligerence of McConnell’s campaign against Obama revealed a loathing that went much deeper than politics.  The insane reaction to the Affordable Care Act, as it carried over into the Trump administration, showed that McConnell and his cohorts were far more interested in exercising the power to put Obama in his place than they were in accomplishing anything for the benefit of the American people.  

Trump is the epitome of stupid depravity.  His words in defense of demonstrations of white supremacy and  Nazi racism are refutations of America’s long struggle to achieve equality for all people.  But he has the help and protection of the party that put him in office and supports his destruction of liberty, equality, and justice.     He wishes to undo what the military led the way for America to accomplish.  

1 comment:

Porter Lansing said...

Thank you for this post.

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States