Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Name is Earl - White Flight From the CCC

Republican supporter and CCC president Earl Holt
As the Republican party scrambles to distance itself from the politically toxic campaign contributions of Earl Holt, III (pictured left), the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, it's important to remember that this divisive organization based on racial hatred isn't new in the United States - nor was it created in some kind of hermetically-sealed vacuum.

Like the enormous Confederate battle flag flying over the state capital building in South Carolina, White Citizen's Councils emerged as a backlash against the momentum of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and remained a dark fixture on the American landscape for decades.

Loosely defined, White Citizens Councils were a network of local community organizations that sprang up mostly across towns and cities in the southern United States in the wake of the Supreme Court's historic decision in 'Brown v Board of Education' that ruled that the legal concept of 'Separate But Equal' established in the case of 'Plessy v Ferguson' was un-Constitutional and opened the path to the large-scale desegregation of public schools, and other public facilities like parks, pools, public transportation, train stations, bus stations and hospitals. 

Dr. Revilo P. Oliver addresses a 1966 CCA conference
The Councils were made up of leading white citizens who conspired to use various means to enforce racial segregation.
For example, creating or enforcing local statutes that affected local businesses, or colluding with local banks and real estate agencies to enforce segregated housing - and of course, working with local law enforcement and local courts to ensure that municipal governments effectively functioned as arms of the pro-segregationist movement. 

Take for example the well-known right-wing speaker Dr. Revilo P. Oliver (pictured above), shown delivering an address entitled "Can Liberals Be Educated?" at the 11th Annual Leadership Conference of the Citizen's Councils of America on January 7, 1966.

Want some firsthand insight into the kinds of delusional beliefs espoused by the Citizen's Councils in the 1950's and 1960's? Take some time to visit The National Vanguard Website and listen to selections of Dr. Oliver's speeches on insightful topics like the "pathology of liberalism" or "the biological reality of race". 

That's where people like Earl Holt come from.

His Longview, Texas-based CCC that has now become the focus of mainstream media in recent days is one of the last vestiges of that same system; which once boasted tens of thousands of members across the United States.

So it's interesting to watch Republican politicians who've quietly accepted campaign donations from Earl Holt and his organization for years suddenly feign ignorance and outrage at the racist hand that's been putting bread on their proverbial table as they quickly move to distance themselves from the cash they've been taking since at least 2012; and probably further back than that.
The horrific shooting in Charleston and the news that suspect Dylann Roof was partly motivated inspired by the delusional propaganda on the CCC Website has lifted the rock up and revealed the 
CCC as a political organization with an overtly white separatist / white nationalist agenda that has been making campaign contributions to a wide array of Republican candidates for years.

It's kind of pathetic (and frankly offensive) that it took a deranged killer murdering nine innocent people in a church for the GOP to suddenly disassociate their party with the CCC's twisted agenda.

One of the most positive things to come about in the wake of the horrific killings at the Emanuel A.M.E Church in Charleston is that it's quickly forced GOP presidential candidates and other Republican politicians around the country to confront their tacit support for extremist white supremacy organizations.

That support is nothing new for (some) Republican politicians.

Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy in full effect in Georgia
The origins of the "Southern Strategy" reach back to the 50's, 60's and 70's when the GOP's strategy was to actively seek to capitalize on the bigotry and intolerance of some white voters in order to manipulate the outcome of local and national elections.

That same strategy was also widely used in the 1980's as well.

The infamous and notoriously racist "Willie Horton" political attack ad used by Republican President George Bush against Democratic presidential candidate Mike Dukakis during the 1988 Presidential race is just one of many examples of the quiet courting of the extremist vote has been standard operating procedure for Republicans for years.

Let's not forget that the current 2nd-in-command to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, actually spoke at a white supremacist event.

Ever since it was revealed that Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof cited Earl Holt's CCC Website as a source of inspiration for his racially motivated hate crimes, GOP politicians are scrambling to return political donations received from Holt.

Interestingly it was the UK's The Guardian that first reported that Ted Cruz announced his campaign would be returning $8,500 in donations made to Cruz and a Super PAC that supports him, it's now becoming clear that Holt donated money to the campaigns of a Who's Who of Republicans including Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Steve King (shocker) and others.

Senator Joni Ernst accepted Earl Holt's donations
Remember Senator Joni Ernst (pictured left) who gave that remarkably substance-free nationally televised Republican rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year?

The chirpy Tea Party darling bankrolled by Koch brothers money who evoked her traditional American "farm roots" by fondly reflecting back on having to wear bread bags over her school shoes to protect them from the mud on her way to school?

Yup, that Joni Ernst.

She took money from the CCC too; I guess the bread is out of the bag on that one.

Holier-than-thou presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who apparently envisions turning America into some kind of theocracy, yes his campaign received money from Holt too.

I wonder how that fits in with his "Christian values" and his Opus Dei membership? Maybe his wife should make those CCC donations to daddy's campaign a topic for his home-schooled children to discuss.

Idealogical firebrand Rand Paul's campaign took CCC money too, but to me that's less surprising given that the Kentucky Senator's Libertarian power base is a notorious haven for fringe white supremacists.

We'll see how it plays out.

In the wake of Hillary Clinton's progressive policy position statements on race, Republican presidential hopefuls are now being forced to rapidly re-think their stances on race in America in the wake of the Charleston shootings and the national outcry over the Confederate flag.

As was widely reported, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has done a total 180 on her previous apathy towards the movement to ban the Stars and Bars from flying over the capital of her state and hastily announced yesterday that she will now use her authority to pass legislation calling for the flag to be removed from the capital.

Better late than never I guess but it doesn't exactly reflect well on today's Republican party that the vicious cold-blooded murder of nine innocent African-Americans at a bible study by a deranged racist killer is the motivating factor forcing them to rethink their tacit support of the white supremacist movement in America and how they view race in the 21st Century.

For now don't expect any bold policy statements from any of the GOP front runners, for the time being they're consumed with doing all they can to run from Earl Holt and his CCC just as fast as they can without alienating the support of the divisive Tea Party base which isn't running from anything.

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