Conservative talk show host Mark Levin explained in less than four minutes on his Fox News program Sunday night why the United States is not guilty of systemic racism but is rather a promoter of freedom for all its citizens.
The former chief of staff to Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese made his case on “Life, Liberty & Levin” by reviewing some key facts from U.S. history.
“You know, America is a great country, with great people,” Levin said. “Massive diversity, where the vast majority of us get along, but there are forces in this country, political and others, that seek to divide us.”
“This idea that America is systemically racist is a big lie,” he added.
Levin first pointed to the Civil War in the 1860s, highlighting that there were 800,000 casualties in the nation’s bloodiest war, which decided the issue of slavery once and for all.
The commentator also noted that at the time, the population of the United States was just over 31 million. With today’s population, the equivalent casualty count would be over eight million killed or wounded.
“No nation on the face of the earth has ever undertaken such an effort,” Levin said.
During the course of the war, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the states then in rebellion against the union.
The 13th Amendment followed in 1865, abolishing slavery throughout the United States.
Next came the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, guaranteeing that former slaves and all Americans would receive due process and equal protection under the law from their state governments.
In 1870, the nation adopted the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote for African-Americans, which was championed by President Ulysses S. Grant.
Levin also highlighted the KKK Act or the Third Force Act, passed in 1871, which Grant used to deploy federal troops to crush the Ku Klux Klan in his time.
The host further noted the multiple civil rights acts passed after the war meant to secure the newly freed slaves’ place as citizens.
He recounted that many of these laws were later thwarted by Democrats.
“Now the implementation of this became problematic because of the Democrat Party and racist elements not just in the South but in the North that didn’t believe in Reconstruction after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and after Ulysses S. Grant left office,” Levin said.
However, another top general turned Republican president would begin to turn the tide toward justice for African-Americans in the 1950s.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower supported the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which created the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department.
Eisenhower also backed up the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ended legal segregation in schools, by sending in the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, to protect the black students being integrated into Central High School.
Democratic Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus refused to comply with a federal court’s order to integrate or take the needed steps to ensure the safety of the “Little Rock Nine” group of African-American students attending the school.
Faubus, in fact, deployed the Arkansas National Guard to block the students from entering. Eisenhower responded by federalizing the Guard and sending the 101st to further ensure order was maintained among the protesters.
Interesting moves in light of the current debate regarding the use of federal troops in our nation’s cities to quell violent rioting.
President John F. Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard and the Alabama National Guard to maintain order during the integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962 and the University of Alabama in 1963.
Levin went on to list the actions taken by the federal government to guarantee the rights promised in the Constitution, including passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, followed by the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Incidentally, Republicans in Congress supported the Civil Rights Act, which ended Jim Crow laws, at a higher percentage than Democrats, making possible the legislation’s passage.
So much for conservatives trying to hold African-Americans back.
“Don’t tell me this country is systemically racist. If this country were systemically racist, none of this would have taken place,” Levin said.
It should be noted that slavery predated the nation’s founding by over 150 years.
So to say that slavery was America’s “original sin,” as many do, is not fair to the founding generation, who took the initial steps to end the institution inherited from their English forebears.
Conservative commentator Brandon Tatum agreed with Levin’s assessment that the United States is not today guilty of systemic racism.
“There are so many institutions and situations where it proves that this country isn’t racist that it’s almost impossible to point to a certain area where you could say, ‘OK, this is blatant racism that goes on in America that can be perceived as being systemic,'” he said.
“Systemic meaning a continuous system that’s oppressive and there is none.”
Tatum, who is African-American, argued the United States is in reality “anti-racist.”
“The laws aren’t against any one race,” he said. “It’s actually against the law for you to discriminate against people criminally, you can’t do it on employment, so there are actually laws on the books that are anti-oppressive and anti-racist.”
Levin concluded: “We Americans are good people, regardless of our race, regardless of our religion, regardless of our sex, regardless of the politicians who try to divide us, the media who try to divide us, these so-called cultural icons who try to divide us,” he added.
“We’re an imperfect people in an imperfect country, but it is the greatest country on the face of the earth.”
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