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.