The LuLac Edition #2337, January 22nd, 2013
(Photo: LuLac archives).
LBJ 40 YEARS ONYou can’t mention the commemoration of Martin Luther King Junior Day and the second term swearing in of the first African American President Barack Obama without bringing up Lyndon Johnson. It was forty years tonight that Lyndon Johnson died at the age of 64. It was my first day at King’s College. I was taking a night class to get my feet wet and see if I could handle school. My father was in the car because he had an appointment in Wilkes Barre. When I got in, he told me LBJ had died. I know that it is expected of people my age, who were against the Vietnam War in our high school years to knock Johnson. He did make painful mistakes but knew he was in a quagmire. But Johnson was the one who cajoled the Senate and the House to get the Civil Rights Bills passed. He recognized that he only had 6 to 8 months to get his agenda throygh. Even with his landslide, LBJ knew the GOP would be gunning for House members swept in on his coattails in 1966. In an election year he gave Hubert Humphrey the job of getting the stalled Civil Rights Act passed. Democratic and Republican Senators of the North, Midwest and Wewst did their best to break the stranglehold the Southern Senators had over the upper chamber and the House committees. These are the accomplishments of the Johnson administration just on Civil Rights:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade job discrimination and the segregation of public accommodations.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 assured minority registration and voting. It suspended use of literacy or other voter-qualification tests that had sometimes served to keep African-Americans off voting lists and provided for federal court lawsuits to stop discriminatory poll taxes. It also reinforced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by authorizing the appointment of federal voting examiners in areas that did not meet voter-participation requirements.
The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 abolished the national-origin quotas in immigration law.
The Civil Rights Act of 1968 banned housing discrimination and extended constitutional protections to Native Americans on reservations.
It is a cruel historical irony that Martin Luther King Junior and John F. Kennedy are joined at the hip in terms of getting credit for the passing of the Civil Rights most take for granted today. It is true that Kennedy first proposed the bill. King was of course the point man who worked for the cause with no regard to his own safety. But without Johnson’s skills as a President, his wily determination and ability to pick the right people to get the job done, there would be no Martin Luther King Day and there sure as heck would not have been a President Obama.
King and Kennedy wished for a just world and equality. Johnson used the hammer and made it law. Laws trump wishes any day when you are facing fire hoses and trained attack dogs. Johnson was only 64 when he died on this day forty years ago. (Wikipedia.com/partial).
ROE VS WADEForty years ago today, the Supreme Court also decided Roe Vs. Wade which gave women the right to have an abortion. This has been a very decisive issue in American politics but the fact of the matter is that people politically are clear on this issue. More than 55% of the American public would not want Roe overturned. The GOP has been bleeding the pro life movement for years. Playing them like suckers. But the fact is every GOP administration has done nothing concrete to overturn Roe with its mandates. The last Democratic candidate for national office that was pro life was the late Sargent Shriver in 1972 when he ran as Vice President. The Democrats are pro choice. The GOP is pro life. But forty years later, one can safely say that both parties or anti Roe when it comes to having a discussion about it. Roe is a political decision hanging over the two parties like an unwanted mistletoe. No one will get close enough to stand by it because they will have to distance or embrace it either way. When a pro life Senator like Bob Casey Junior gets hell from the supporters of Roe, you know there is no way an intelligent conversation on this can go on.
(Photo: Fox Sports.com.)