THE DNC & CIVIL RIGHTS – THEN AND NOW
By JONATHAN WOLFMAN
The push for civil rights under law pre-dates any major political party’s platform and, of course, it’s arguable that we owe our wins to much more organic, community-driven, even, at times, violent actions.
Yet, as this is the week Democrats meet, it may be useful to look back, to recall the civil rights party platform planks from 1948 — the first ever from the two major parties — and to look, now, at the current platform.
“The Democratic Party is responsible for the great civil rights gains made in recent years in eliminating unfair and illegal discrimination based on race, creed or color.
“The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination.
“We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“We call upon the Congress to support our President in guaranteeing these basic and fundamental American Principles: (1) the right of full and equal political participation; (2) the right to equal opportunity of employment.
“We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment on equal rights for women.”
“Freedom to Marry: We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
“We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
“We also support President Obama’s commitment to gender equality, protecting a woman’s right to choose.”
Southern Democrats stalked out of the convention in 1948 when the civil rights platform was adopted. They said Truman would surely lose. He won. The South, over the next 20 years, self-deported, excommunicated themselves, from the Democratic Party.
Yet risk won, standing for what was and is just won.
I am clear-as-a-bell that thoroughgoing equal rights for our LGBT friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues will win, this November and beyond, because winning, while it is about risk, yes, is always about what is just and right and courageous in our national character.
Jonathan Wolfman blogs at http://open.salon.com/blog/jlw1.
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