“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Joe Biden, the architect of the 1994 Crime Bill and former U.S. Vice-President, is not as slick as he thinks he is. In fact, he’s a cliché, a stock photo, an avatar, for every single liberal white man who believes that just because he’s not a member of the Republican Party or an adherent to the most virulent white supremacist policies, that he can disguise his rancid racism behind “Aw shucks, I just tell it like it is” performative politic-ing and Black people will just fall in line.
Because at least he’s not Donald Trump.
He proved that again Tuesday night at an NYC fundraiser, during which he reportedly told the crowd that he and James O. Eastland, the long-serving, segregationist, white supremacist Mississippi senator known as “The Voice of the White South,” and the “Godfather of Mississippi Politics”, shared a mutual fondness and respect for each other.
The senator from Delaware reportedly stated, “I know the new New Left tells me that I’m — this is old-fashioned. Well guess what? If we can’t reach a consensus in our system, what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president.”
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden continued, reportedly slipping into a southern drawl. “He never called me boy, he always called me son.”
Tonight at a fundraiser in NYC, Biden recalled serving with a major segregationist Mississippi senator: “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland … he never called me boy, he always called me son.” He imitated the drawl. “At least there was some civility. We got things done”— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) June 19, 2019
Because Eastland was a refined man, you see. A civil man who only used “boy” to reinforce a racist power dynamic and dehumanize the “ni—ers” he hated so much—never Biden.
Later reports added that Biden also mentioned his fondness for segregationist Georgia Gov. Herman Talmadge, saying of both of the white supremacists, “At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
It makes sense, then that while Biden’s daddy was wreaking havoc in the lives of Black Mississippians, Biden was a crusader for anti-integration, anti-busing policies and actively courting Eastland’s support.
In a March 25, 1977 letter, Biden wrote his mentor, who at the time served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, these words:
“Dear Mr. Chairman, I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote.”
Eastland worked closely with the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a state-sponsored white terrorist organization that aided and abetted in the assassinations of Black civil rights leaders—and surveilled others, including my grandparents. Yet, he was apparently not only a model of civility for Biden, but a political accomplice.
In asking Eastland to speak on the Senate Floor in favor of his anti-busing bill, Biden wrote the man, who once called Black people “an inferior race,” another note on Aug. 22, 1978, pleading, “I want to personally ask your continued support and alert you to our intentions. Your participation in floor debate would be welcomed.”
Be clear: Former President Barack Obama may consider Biden to be his BFF, but the man cannot be trusted. He is making it plain that he will beat Trump at his own game, twisting the knife of white supremacy deeper still into the core of this nation with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
Democrats, is this your king?
If not, they need to make it plain now, because it is past time, but potentially too late, for this so-called “progressive” party to reckon with itself.
Whether it looks like 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris previously threatening Black mothers with prison time if their children were truant from school; or New York City Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio refusing to stand with the family of Eric Garner in demanding the release of killer Daniel Pantaleo’s disciplinary record; or former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closing public schools in Chicago and participating in the cover-up of the extrajudicial killing of Laquan McDonald; or not one police officer being convicted of federal hate crimes under the Eric Holder-helmed Justice Department during the Obama administration for the state-sanctioned killing of a Black person, it is clear that the Democratic Party cannot be exempt from excavating its own devils.
Even those, especially those, with a twinkle in their sparkling blue eyes.
“As far as I’m concerned, ‘liberal’ is the most meaningless word in the dictionary.” — Assata Shakur
The views expressed are those of the author.