Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Former Democratic President Woodrow Wilson may be purged from his alma mater, Princeton University. The old “Schoolmaster of Politics”, as he was known for his academic background at Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Wesleyan and finally president of Princeton U, has been thrown under the bus by its current president for being a politically incorrect progressive. Also known as a plain old racist.
Woody was indeed a racist. Though even on his worst day he was still about 40% less racist than a #BlackLivesMatter protester screaming about “whiteness”. But if Princeton wants to get rid of him, it also needs to jettison his motto, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” or in its current transnational incarnation, “Princeton in the Service of the Nations”. And then it needs to get rid of the color orange that defines its brand. The orange is in honor of William III whose reign oversaw the slave trade.
But if Princeton has to rename anything carrying Woodrow Wilson’s name, are there any Democratic presidents that the party and its faithful partisans can keep?
FDR enforced segregation through red-lining and liked to tell jokes about “darkies”. Truman wrote, “I think one man is as good as another so long as he's honest and decent and not a n--ger or a Chinaman.” JFK was disgusted by interracial marriage. LBJ liked to describe the Civil Rights Act as “the n--ger bill”. Jimmy Carter ran for governor promising that "I can win this election without a single black vote" and accused his opponent of liking Martin Luther King. Bill Clinton’s view of Obama? “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”
If Woodrow Wilson gets the boot for being racist, there isn’t a single Democratic president from the last century who can survive the politically correct inquisition. They were all racist. Every last one of them.
And it certainly doesn’t get any better in the 19th century.
Grover Cleveland, Wilson’s predecessor, said that freeing the slaves had no more purged black people “of their racial and slave-bred imperfections and deficiencies than it changed the color of their skin. I believe that among the nearly nine millions of negroes who have been intermixed with our citizenship there is still a grievous amount of ignorance, a sad amount of viciousness and a tremendous amount of laziness and thriftlessness.”
Cleveland suggested that segregation was not born out of “prejudice”, but out of “racial instinct”.
He praised this “racial instinct” for having “condoned the negro’s share in the humiliation and spoliation of the South” when it was “deluged by the perilous flood of indiscriminate, unintelligent and blighting negro suffrage.” He urged his listeners to be “considerate of the feelings and even the prejudice or racial instincts of our white fellow-countrymen.”
President Grover Cleveland was an early progressive. You can see how Woodrow Wilson, or as Teddy Roosevelt liked to call him, "The Coiner of Weasel Words", was actually a step forward for the party.
(Cleveland is buried in Princeton Cemetery; hopefully they won’t dig him up in protest. But with the politically correct inquisition unilaterally trying to dig up Nathan Bedford Forrest, you never know.)
It’s time for the Democratic Party to face reality. All its presidents were racists. Almost all of them are on record using racial slurs. And their racist behavior was typical of a racist party which backed slavery and segregation to the hilt. Even its donkey symbol is associated with the pro-Confederate copperheads.
If Princeton must rename the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, it’s time to rename the Democratic Party. It’s a name that dates back to slave owners and racists. If Wilson’s name isn’t good enough for a school, how can the Democratic Party’s name be good enough for the country?
The challenge will be finding a non-racist name for the racist party that honors its current ideals.
The obvious answer is the Know-Nothing Party. While the Know-Nothing Party gets a bad rap, it was in many ways the forerunner of the modern progressive Democratic Party. Like the modern Democratic Party, it was anti-Catholic and was also big on government regulation. Unlike the Democratic Party, it was anti-racist and outlawed racial segregation in Massachusetts schools back in the mid-19th century.
The Know-Nothings also tried to abolish the death penalty, provided free lawyers for criminals and offered free health care. They cracked down on the stock market and fought to regulate big business.
They also spent so much money that they had to raise taxes through the roof.
The Know-Nothing Party was an early version of the current Democratic Party, but without the racism. It hated Catholics, but so does the current Democratic Party. While Democrats like to accuse conservatives of being “Know Nothings”, the party was an anti-Southern progressive social welfare political party. It was feminist, Socialist and fought against the political power of the wealthy. It was very much of the left.
Even the Know-Nothing Party’s infamous anti-Catholicism was in support of black people and in opposition to slavery as part of what it saw as a defense of progressive values. Like modern leftists, they were only being bigots to fight bigotry. If this sounds confusing, listen to one of the college crybullies yelling about the evils of “whiteness” and you’ll see how preemptively progressive that was.
It’s time for the Democratic Party to honor its ideological roots by becoming the Know-Nothing Party.
Since the leftward Democratic Party has already reached a sad state in which it knows nothing and wants to know nothing except Media Matters talking points, the name is a perfect fit.
The modern progressive Know-Nothing doesn’t know anything about economics, terrorism, science or medicine, and yet he is convinced that he is an expert on all of these subjects by virtue of repeating a set of talking points that he receives from his party leaders. He is further convinced that all of these problems and many more can only be solved by endowing his leaders with absolute power over the lives of all men. And that anyone opposed to such a scheme is an evildoer of the worst possible sort.
His ignorance is his genius.
The liberal is dead. In his place is a Know-Nothing who opposes the free speech of the First Amendment, the right to bear arms of the Second Amendment and any other amendments he may come across. He clamors to rename an institution named after Woodrow Wilson without realizing that he must then rename anything named after every Democrat who ever squatted in the White House.
This doesn’t occur to him because he is a Know-Nothing who has no historical context, only ideology.
He is a vandal who destroys culture, history and individual freedom in pursuit of his cause. And he is convinced of his absolute righteousness because he does not know any better.
And he cannot know any better.
It’s time to rename his party after its impetus of ignorance. It’s time to call the Democrats what they are; Know-Nothings. A great party of political ignorance and petty spite which justifies bigotry in the name of fighting bigotry, which upends American history for its own fanatical purposes, sympathizes with criminals, uses class warfare and gutter politics, and has no ability to actually run anything.
The racist Democratic Party is dead. All hail the anti-racist racist Know-Nothing Party.