NCDP SEC Passes Gut Check, Sort of

Today the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party met in Hamlet, NC. Let me set the stage for the gut check. Due to some negative press concerning the naming of the Vance-Aycock dinner,which is the marquee fall event for the NCDP, a motion was presented by the district chairs of the 11th and 1st congressional districts to refer the idea of renaming the dinner to a select committee. You see, Mr. Aycock was quite the racist. The district chairs hoped for a committee with White, Black, Native American and Latino members to address the issue of just what, if anything, should be done concerning the naming of the Vance-Aycock.

Some tinkering was done through amendments to adjust the initial timeframe so as to have the committee complete its work prior to the convention in June and to impel the committee to come up with another name.

That's when yours truly steps into the picture. Seeings how the general topic was the naming of one of our signature dinners, I offered an amendment to have the renaming of the Jefferson-Jackson dinner be included in the motion. I am specifically concerned with the Jackson part of the name. The idea that modern democrats do anything to honor the name of a genocidal racist has bothered me for quite some time. Just let me remind you that it was Jackson who, in violation of existing treaties, forced the Cherokee from their ancestral home in and around the southern Appalachian mountains. The 17,000 or so Cherokee suffered greatly on their 1000+ mile walk during the brutal winter of 1838-39; 4000 Cherokee died of hunger and cold on the aptly named Trail of Tears.

Jackson went out of his way to commit genocide. He has no business being honored by the modern Democratic party.

When I introduced my motion, I thought it would be a mere formality. The Vance-Aycock renaming seemed to have a lot of backing, surely this group of progressve democrats would recognize the sense of putting the issue of honoring racists completely behind them.

I was stunned at the volume of the nays shouted in opposition to my amendment. Someone, thankfully, had their wits about them and called for a division, a recorded vote. This was the Gut Check I mentioned previously.

As it turns out 167 members of the NCDP Executive Committee think it is ok to honor a genocidal racist. Other than lend his the first letter of his last name to form a rather catchy name for a signature event, what did Jackson do that was so great? Perhaps it's because of the donkey; he is the genius that come with the symbol for our party, an ass. Lovely.

Thankfully 194 members of the Executive Committee thought as I did, that it is time to put the racist overtones inherent in the names J-J and V-A behind us. Certainly racism will linger in the minds of many people for years to come, but we had the opportunity today to at least take a couple of racists off our marquis and we blew it.

That's right; the motion was put in limbo by an ill timed and ill advised quorum call which came up short. The motion, therefore, was not agreed to and any progress on the renaming issue was officially lost.

This issue will come up again; I will make sure of that, as, I am certain, will many of the other true progressives who voted for my amendment.

I very much hope that the 167 democrats who voted against the J-J amendment will reconsider which is more important, blindly continuing a flawed tradition or starting a new tradition without the hypocrisy of pretending to be an inclusive party while honoring extreme racists such as Aycock and Jackson.

I do wish to thank all those SEC members who supported changing both dinners' names. I do believe we will prevail the next time this issue is raised.

Comments

I'm still baffled by the Dixiecrats still in the party

In the documentary on Jesse Helms, they said that his rise of popularity came just about the time that NC was trying to become a more tolerant state. Boggles the mind - - -

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

It's not just Dixiecrats I am afraid

I won't divulge any names, but I know of one long time civil rights leader, African American, who voted no. I guess for that person it's only racism if it's their race.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I think it was a strategically placed quorum call.

That's right; the motion was put in limbo by an ill timed and ill advised quorum call which came up short. The motion, therefore, was not agreed to and any progress on the renaming issue was officially lost.

Some people know how to work the Roberts rules too well. I don't know if you could see the sighs and eye-rolls where you were. I could. I heard a few mumbles about tradition.

I really thought we had it when you came out from the count and gave a thumbs-up.

This issue will come up again; I will make sure of that, as, I am certain, will many of the other true progressives who voted for my amendment

Yup. We'll make sure it gets brought up before people leave. And I will block the door to keep them in if I have to. :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Aye, strategic and utterly gutless

I'll have to pull out my Robert's Rules to see about the finer aspects of the quorum call. I sort of doubt that there's an out, but I'll check.

Yup. We'll make sure it gets brought up before people leave. And I will block the door to keep them in if I have to. :)

Excellent. I expect this to come up at the convention in June. In fact I am already percolating on the wording of a resolution to do just that.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

i disagree with you, sort of

I too attended the SEC meeting and found myself on the opposite side of persondem, sort of. As persondem describes it, a motion was first put forward which said in essence that a committee would be formed to look at the idea of renaming the Vance Aycock dinner. Now, if it had stopped here and and we had voted, it might have passed. Just maybe. And I would have voted for it because it would have required the committee to take a thoughtful, thorough, and careful look at the issue and how the NCDP should respond. But no, the “all of nothing” wing of the party (I borrowed this) offered a serious of amendements that doomed the original motion. One of the first said that the committee must re-name the Vance Aycock. Not evaluate it but must re-name…no other options would be allowed. One of the others offered by persondem says that we, again must, re-name the Jefferson Jackson dinner. Well. Have you stopped to think what you ended up with…NOTHING! Shame on you. It only proved to be divisive.

Now let me describe my thoughts on the subject and why I was opposed to these amendments. I agree that Aycock and Jackson had some reprehensible views. I won’t contest any historical aspects of persondem’s post. But there are reasons we chose in the past to honor them as well. Can you tell us what those are? But wait, didn’t Jefferson have slaves as did Vance (at least his family did), and didn’t Washington. So are we going to boycott quarters and nickels now. Tear down the Washington Monument. If we are looking for flawless leaders, we are going to be looking a long, long time. And should we not view these leaders through the proper lense of history and with some balance. I don’t know whether we should change the names or not, but it deserves a thoughtful and thorough evaluation to determine who we honor and how, past and present. Unfortunately, the SEC didn’t get to vote on this. And I blame persondem and his cohorts for that.

I had nothing to do with the 'all or nothing' part

of the series of amendments that were passed prior to me offering my JJ add on. I agree with you that the committee should have been able to take a thoughtful look at the situation and been able to function without constraints, but that wasn't the case.

Neither am I stipulating that only flawless democrats have dinners named after them. Vance, Jefferson and many other democrats of the time owned slaves and most weren't too concerned with how well their slaves were treated. That was the norm for land owners of the time. Attacking a peaceful people with genocidal zeal is decidedly not the norm for any civilized time.

You state that there are reasons for honoring Jackson. I would certainly like to know what they are cuz the only thing I can come up with is the donkey.
He started a war with a nation that was not attacking us on a flimsy pretext and killed about 4000 Americans in the process. He thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court and gathered hitherto unseen power in the executive branch. Remind you of anyone???

Is change so scary? Or is racism okay just so long as it happened a long time ago?

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

jacksonian democracy and more

ever heard of jacksonian democracy? if not, you might want to google it.

ever wonder why Aycock is considered the education governor? well if you were educated in the public school system, that includes all people, white and black, you can thank him. univeral education was his great contribution to us.

let's look at the complete picture of these individuals and with some historical perspective.

Here's some historical perspective

Jacksonian democracy was primarily concerned with:

Getting more white men the vote.
This is good. It was started by JQ Adams so Jackson doesn't get full points for it, but it's a definate plus.

Manifest Destiny
A nice idea which was the philosophical excuse for breaking treaties with and otherwise grossly mistreating, Native Americans. Could have been handled much better and with a lot less blood shed, therefore a minus.

Patronage
Otherwise known as cronyism or rewarding political allies with politically appointed jobs. That's a definate minus.

Laissez-faire Economic Policy
That's actually a rather republican idea, isn't it, with limited or no government regulation of business? By the end of the 19th century the country was dominated by big corporate monopolies. Minus.

Strict Constructionist (Constitution)
Sounds like Jackson would have been ok with Scalia, Alito and Roberts. Turns out though he really wanted to keep power in the executive branch and was denounced as a tyrant by both Clay and Calhoun. A minus.

So why are we honoring Andrew Jackson? Continuing the policy of expanded suffage for the common (white) man which started before he became president. Or making us all out to be asses?

Both, it would seem.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

correction

i meant to write "all or nothing" wing of the party.

All or nothing my foot.

This is not about tearing down the Washington monument, or not using nickels or quarters. Don't be absurd.

This is about how the NCDP presents itself to the public in the future, not about honoring sacred cows of the past. And seriously - it's about changing the name of a couple of dinners. I think that young man who stood up and suggested calling them the "Fall" dinner and the "Spring" dinner might have had a wonderful idea at that.

The best thing about the Democratic Party is that there is supposed to be room for everyone. "persondem and his cohorts" won the amendment, so some of the 167 who did voted against his amendment - decided to take their ball and go home. That sounds like the my way or the highway wing of the party, the kind of people who only like Democracy when the vote turns out their way. It's just as racist as Aycock and Jackson at their worst.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

technicality, etc...

Jackson was behind the Treaty of New Echota, which served as the "legal" underpinnings of the removal you allude to, though the actual removal was carried out by Martin Van Buren and General Winfield Scott, after Jackson was no longer President. Not that he wouldn't have done a bang-up job of it.....

I'd have to agree with moddem to an extent. We were not there to talk about Andrew Jackson, dammit, we were there to talk about Charles Aycock, a two-bit low-life piece of trash who owed his entire career to stirring up racial hatred. People have been talking about this for months, years even. Stick to the game plan next time.

Anyway, I'm up for a Randolph-Lawrence reception prior to the JJ. Let's have a couple of drinks and whack an effigy of that sonofabitch Jackson with a cane on the way out the door.

Stick to the game plan?

I'd have to agree with moddem to an extent. We were not there to talk about Andrew Jackson, dammit, we were there to talk about Charles Aycock, a two-bit low-life piece of trash who owed his entire career to stirring up racial hatred. People have been talking about this for months, years even. Stick to the game plan next time.

Which game plan would that be? I guess I was under the mistaken impression that any voting member of the SEC could offer an amendment. Roll with the democracy next time.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Yay, Democracy!

Oh, I did "roll with the democracy" on this one--I rolled right on out the door after that quorum call.

Sorry I didn't know there was a special rule

in place stipulating that only one racist who has a dinner named after him could be discussed at a time.

To me the topic was dinners honoring racists and what to do about it. Why not go through it all at once? Get all of our dingy laundry out at once and deal with it.

I really don't think principled people should pick and choose which of their racists are ok. If one racist goes then so should the other one.

This next bit is not intended as a response to party_hack's comment.

I get the distinct impression that the objections to reconsidering Jackson as a dinner name stem from the notion that Native Americans are purely historical figures, a quaint, rustic people that were relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Native Americns don't have nearly the voice of African Americans, especially within the Democratic Party, so it's ok to overlook injustices done to them.

Back to responding to party_hack's comment:

Either we as a party have principles or we do not. I refuse to "Stick with the plan" if that plan says racism against African Americans is bad but if directed against another ethnic group is ok.

I must say though that I do like this part of your comment:

Let's have a couple of drinks and whack an effigy of that sonofabitch Jackson with a cane on the way out the door.

First round is on me.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

My 2 cents.

I realize there is a lot of passion about changing the names attached to these dinners, but unfortunately the New Business of the party was derailed in the process.

That business was to include among others, the Progressive wing's agenda items: Resolution in Support of Higher Education for Immigrant Students, Resolution in Support of Collective Bargaining Rights to Public Employees, Resolution in Support of Canceling Duke Energy’s Proposed New Coal Plant at Cliffside to name a few. And on top of that, the motion to change the names couldn’t be completed either, leaving us with a vulnerability if those who claim this issue is a Republican driven wedge into our bow side are right.

Now I’m not assigning blame but to any individuals, it's just the way things came down, but maybe we could manage ourselves differently in the future and conduct the business of the party BEFORE our quorum runs off. It seems to me that so many people left after the candidates spoke.

Any thoughts?

It is disappointing that so many "activists"

couldn't be bothered to stay through the entire meeting. I really think that if you can't make a commitment to stay until all of the business is done, you should find a proxy for yourself who is willing to hang in there.

Frankly, to not speak out about J-J when V-A was being discussed would have been improper, no matter what Republicans will say. At least we discuss our differences, or attempt to until the quorum runs away.

I think saving the most sought after candidates to speak at the close of business would be one way of keeping things going more smoothly.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I worry

I was talking to someone after the meeting, and they brought up a great point. The next meeting is going to involve electing people to the convention, changing the platform, doing a thousand different things that will take up lots of time, even without all the extra business like Vance Aycock.

I worry about both the length and the patience that people have.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

You know I was really stunned that adding JJ to the

VA reconsideration motion was such a big deal. I figured such a progressive group of Democrats, who snarl in righteous anger when presented with the red meat of impeachment and getting out of Iraq, would have no problem with reconsidering the naming of JJ.

I really thought the voice vote would be a resounding yea and things would proceed.

I do wish the Progressive resolutions had been acted upon, but exposing this ... um ... situation just might be worth it. To me that JJ amendment vote means that about 40% of the SEC needs to do some soul searching as to what is important.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Frankly, if y'all left it up to me,

I'd strike Zeb Vance's name from the dinners in addition to Jackson's and Aycock's, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, he openly admitted that preserving slavery was the most important reason to secede from the Union: (paraphrasing) "Our independence is most valuable in that it will preserve our political institutions, with slavery being the most important of those."

Secondly, there's a distinct possibility that Vance was involved to a certain extent with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan's Redshirt gangs, who freely terrorized counties in a large portion of the state, until Governor Woods(?) suspended habeas corpus and hired some terrorists of his own to bring the Klan to justice. He was impeached for this (maybe rightly so), but Vance allowed things to go back to the same old white supremacist crap shortly afterward.

I'm freely aware this will piss off a few people here, so if I get cussed out my feelings won't be hurt too badly. But if it walks like a duck...

historical perspective

What happened to historical perspective? Judge a man (or woman) by the time in which he lived. This was 100 or more years ago! Don't cherry-pick quotes and opinions without putting it in the context of the whole man, his complete slate of acommplishment and ideas, and the times.

Indeed.

and Mussolini made the trains run on time, but that doesn't mean I'll give fascism a pass. /sarcasm

Seriously, while we can respect individual accomplishments of individual people, the time has come for the NCDP to stand for the future, not the past.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Historical perspective or historical whitewash?

This was 100 or more years ago!

So, if I read you correctly, you're suggesting we ignore the bad things and only focus on the good ones? That's not History, it's Historical Fiction. Building pride in the Party from this type of analysis is a shaky foundation, and it makes us all look like naive fools.

no. you did not read me right

You did not read my comment correctly. That is exactly the opposite of what I wrote. Maybe you should read it again.

Do you even know why Aycock is considered the Education Governor? Let's combine that answer with his views on black people and all the other things he did,interpret them in historical context and see what you get. You may come to the same conclusion, but at least consider the complete picture. Ever read some of Jefferson's comments about slaves and black people? Not so simple is it. Not so black and white (no pun intended).

Yes, I know.

Do you even know why Aycock is considered the Education Governor?

I'm even aware of the fact that he got in trouble with his own support base for promoting the construction of schools for black children. While there are valid aguments to be made that he did so not out of compassion but a desire to keep them from becoming a "drain" on the state, the end result was: Aycock built a lot of schools, and not just for white children.

Here's my problem: there's a lot of historical information out there that focuses on Aycock's positive attributes, especially through middle/high school history texts. But if you mention any of the negatives, all of a sudden you're being "unfair", and not considering the context of the times.

You can't have one without the other. If his flaws are to be gauged through the lens of his times, then his accomplishments need to also. He may have built a lot of schools, but what was taught in those schools? White supremacy? The dangers of ignorant negroes being allowed to hold public office? The need for white women to be protected from the animal instincts of the negro male?

When our history texts are rewritten to include all aspects of our "prominent" ancestors, then you can expect me to be "fair and balanced" in my assessment. Until then, I will focus on things that have been withheld, be they positive or negative.