Last night in Charleston, South Carolina on the day the nation celebrates the Rev. Dr. King, Governor Rick Perry used a question about voting rights to say the Federal government was at “war” with the states.

This was either ignorant or disgusting.

I think it should end the Perry candidacy in the Party of Lincoln.

Why?

One-hundred and fifty years ago Charleston South Carolina rebelled against the Constitution. They did so in the name of race-based slavery and defended the most loathsome views toward fellow human beings. The war they brought on the nation by firing on Federal facilities was more costly by far than the rest of the nation’s wars combined.

The Republican Party was forged in the fires of that war under the leadership of the most admired man in American history: Abraham Lincoln.

Either Rick Perry is ignorant of the remembrance events taking place all over the nation, including his home state of Texas, or he pandered to lingering fondness for the worst time in American history.

Don’t get me wrong: I believe in federalism and state’s rights. Lincoln did as well. What I do not believe in is a “nation” founded to protect slavery in her “constitution” run by some men willing to express disgusting views regarding fellow human beings. Americans still pay the price for hundreds of years of race based slavery.

Racism is real and impacts millions of Americans daily in slights small and great.

If Rick Perry was ignorant of that history, then he is not fit to lead a township let alone Lincoln’s party. If Rick Perry is a closet-Confederate sympathizer, he needs a new party . . . the party of Lincoln, Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt is no place for him. Provoking rebel yells in Charleston at a Republican debate is too weird.

As a historian Newt Gingrich proceeded to pander to Perry’s base by using perfectly defensible positions to send racial dog-whistles to his audience. He cannot plead ignorance. Much of what he said was innocuous in a different context, I even agree with it, but was toxic following Perry’s “rebel yell.”

Newt is one of the few GOP candidates to reach out to the African-American community and does not pander when he does. He is to be commended for this fact, but last night he allowed himself to be associated with Perry’s race baiting. As a Georgian he must be held to a higher standard.

Will Gingrich repudiate Perry’s comments? If not, then he is unfit to lead Lincoln’s party. We do not need the votes of those who think the Confederacy a noble cause.

Articles by John Mark Reynolds

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