If the recent coronavirus outbreak demonstrates anything, it reminds us that positions change. Sitting here in Virginia counting down the hours as to whether to board a plane to Israel this evening is a case in point.
When this trip was planned, back in September or October, the notion that a potential pandemic would throw a proverbial wrench in my first trip to Isreal never occurred to me. Only the most fearful imaginations could have forecast the current situation. At this moment it really depends on Israel’s Health Minister’s decision on the quarantine of foreign nationals upon arrival. That would mean a 14-day period which extends beyond the duration of our planned tour. That was not part of the original plan.
Last week news came out that the Federal Department of Education planned cuts that would affect funding resources for rural education. Part of what our group, Pastors for Oklahoma Kids, does is monitor decisions and legislation related to public education that affects Oklahoma schools. The Yahoo News alert pointed to a story on the subject. When I posted the link to my Facebook Page the reactions varied. What was interesting is how the article was dismissed out of hand. One went so far as to claim another commenter a racist to object to the decision. After all, according to the commenter, advocating for rural schools was actually a racist act supported by Democrats. I am sure there is a logical fallacy for making that leap but I was too stunned that the comment thread went there.
My friend Brad found the thread interesting. He teaches U.S. History. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He now teaches in Colorado. Incidentally, we actually met online through mutual friends. We then met while in the Denver airport both traveling back to Oklahoma a couple of years ago.
When Brad engaged the conversation he received a reply,
Racist is as racist does. If you support Democrats the shoe fits.
In this case, it was a matter of supporting a practice instituted by President Obama regarding the allowance for funding of rural schools as the formula relies on census data. The exception came as a result that census response in rural areas is not as high as in urban areas. Thus, the argument went that a policy change initiated by a Democrat President assisting largely rural white communities was, in fact, a racist policy. It seems an odd argument to make but the Interwebs is the place for interesting logic.
What ensued was an illustration of how political parties had changed. The matter turned on what political party the KKK supported. The interlocutor, James, posted a PBS article, Grant, Reconstruction and the KKK. It was at this point that Brad revealed he taught U.S. History.
I actually teach US history, and am well aware of the origins of the Klan. But you are not aware of any changes since the 1870s, evidently.
Notice the last line. There indeed have been changes since the 1870s. At that point, Brad offered a short historical account of that change.
So let’s take a look. yes, the original klan came out of the southern resistance to abolition and most of those were democrats as the party was then the party of the south, and the party of slavery
I thought about posting the rest of Brad’s lesson here. But, I suspected at second glance that anyone in 2020 who yet believed that the Democratic Party is today the Party of the South, whatever Brad might offer would be summarily dismissed as Fake News. One need only look at the State of Oklahoma from the time I registered to vote in 1981 until today. The advice my father gave me upon turning 18 and registering for the draft and to vote was, “If you want to have a say in Oklahoma politics, you might register as a Democrat as there are very few Republicans that run or win.” (That is my best recollection.) As a young fellow caught up in the idea of the Reagan Revolution, I registered Republican. All these years later, my Dad’s advice could well have been flipped 180 degrees. Our GOP owns a super-majority in the State Legislature. The tables turned.
Times and people change. Party positions in 1870 have not held up in 2020.
And, that Yahoo News article that started everything, the one that some insisted was not true? Well the very next day, Education Week posted an article that both confirmed it was indeed true and that the decision had been reversed.
Positions and people are not static. Well, most anyway.