Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hank Aaron Speaks Out!

Hank Aaron certainly doesn't shy away from controversy, comparing the continued assault on Obama by Republicans to the KKK raiding parties.  The only difference in his mind is "now they have neckties and starched shirts."  Probably wore them under their capes as well.  The "true home run king" went onto say that he has kept the many ugly letters he received when he broke Babe Ruth's record 40 years ago, and that we have a long way to go to improve race relations in this country.

As an example, Jim DeMint apparently believes the federal government had little role in the emancipation of slaves.  He does credit Lincoln for playing a part in it, although holds up the "Great Emancipator" as the first Republican president, as if to say these are values the GOP stands by today.  He seems to forget that the amendments abolishing slavery and expanding voting rights were added after the Civil War, not before.  He also downplays Southern plantation owners who used the Bible to defend slavery, just as Northern abolitionists used the Bible to condemn this "peculiar institution."  Also, no allusion to the decades of Jim Crow laws, which were in direct defiance to the Constitution, keeping black baseball players out of Major League Baseball, resulting in a separate Negro League.

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier back in 1947, when he was acquired by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Kansas City Monarchs.  He appeared torn emotionally, as one can read in this excerpt from his autobiography, I Never Had It Made.  After retiring from the MLB in 1956, he actively campaigned for Nixon in the 1960 election.  Robinson came to regret that decision.  He supported Nelson Rockefeller in 1962, who promoted civil rights, but was overrun by "Golderwaterites" in his bid for President in 1964.  Robinson still believed in the Party of Lincoln, but became an LBJ supporter in the aftermath of the GOP convention.  Goldwater went on to be routed by Johnson in the election.

Like Robinson before him, Aaron started out in the Negro League.  He played for the Indianapolis Clowns before being picked up by the Milwaukee Braves for $10,000 and promoted to the MLB in 1954.  The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.

I'm glad to hear Aaron speak out, especially after the Atlanta Braves game honoring his historic milestone.   It is hard to equate the GOP today with the Party of Lincoln.  It seems more like the Party of Denial.

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