1924, and Secret Societies which will mete out punishment to any Organization that dare mention its name

1-13-1924: But this Democratic opportunity demands a leadership capable of seizing it. The opportunity without the man may turn to dust and ashes. Hence the first duty of Democratic managers and well-siwhers of the party is to cast about for a Presidential nominee who would not fritter away the tempting chance. They should start with the assured conviction that the best is none too good, and that the best will be needed. John Stuart Mill, in his book “On Liberty”, quoted from the Koran a maxim which reads: “A ruler who appoints any man to an office when there is in his dominions a man better qualified for it sins against God and against the State.” Translated into terms of American politics, this means that a party will be beaten, and deserved to be beaten, if it puts up with second-class material when it has first-class material at command. To apply this concretely, the folly would be obvious if the Democratic Party were to nominate merely some obscure governor of only local reputation, or a Senator whose chief recommendation is that his record is so colorless as to have given offense to nobody, or one who believes to […]
Eventually the un-attributed “Voice of God” editorial contends that JOHN D DAVIS is the Man of the Hour, which is followed by a laudatory paragraph or two.
It would be a great thing to have a man of his repute and character placed in nomination for the Presidency. Even better than that would it be for his party to gain a leadership at once virile, dignified, and compelling. Mr. Davis would make the broadest kind of appeal to the people. His speeches would go beyond the petty exigencies of the hour and the locality and would cleave to those fundamental truths which persist through all changing political problems. The tone which Mr. Davis would be able to give to a presidential electionis suggested by the letter which he sent to the West Virginia Democrats. It dealt with ideas, not with expediences. It singled out the broad and general principles of equality of right, equality of opportunity, hatred of privilegs, trust in the highest judgement of the American people, (etc blah blah platitudes etc)

What American would not think it exhilerating to have such a man as John W Davis made a candidate for the Presidnecy? Even Republicans would feel that they had an opponent worthy of their steel, in whose hands the honor and welfare of the country would be safe. To place his name before the Democratic Convention would be like raising a standard to which the best of his party would be glad to repair. With such a man, so competent, at the service of the Democratic Party, why should it turn aside to less qualified men and invite defeat?

The punchline to this editorial is the Election Outcome of November:
Calvin COOLIDGE : Electoral Votes: 382; Pop. Vote: (54.1%)
John William DAVIS: Electoral Votes: 136; Pop. Vote: (28.8%)
Robert La FOLLETTE: Electoral Votes: 13 ; Pop. Vote: (16.6%)
To be fair, Davis was decided upon after 103 ballots. What we found out at the National Democratic Convention of 1924 was that there was no National Democratic Party. There was a rural party, who hated New York City, Alcohol, and Immigrants. And there was an urban party, which was promoting the nomination of a Catholic Son of an Immigrant New York City boy who Drank a lot… actually, there was a DLC quality to Alfred Smith — he cozied up to Wall Street — a New York City institution that was part of this urban-rural split — and had a Republican businessman running his campaign when nominated in 1928. It made sense in the era of Calvin Coolidge’s “The man who builds a factory builds a temple; the man who works there worships there.”

So in my US History class, we finished the sort of hazy cookie-cutter lesson on World War One and the Woodrow Wilson Administration. The teacher made the comment that we’re skipping the chapter on the 1920s because that decade was a giant sham. I don’t really know what that means, even in terms of an inflated boom such that punctured would bring a bust of enormous proportions. I read the chapter — the truth is that a student could get away with not reading the textbook, but I read the thing anyways. I don’t remember what it told me about the 1920s, oh so many years later. Flappers? At the very least you can’t call teenagers and young college students of this age any more immature than teenagers and college students of that age — Flag pole sitting? (The difference may be that today college is a more mass-experience and not a project for the elite.)

I know the chapter did not cover much of anything about the 1924 Democratic Convention held in New York City. The lesson of which tells us that back then, the United States government(s) was controlled in part and influenced in part by a Secret Society with members tended to claim to be of Christian pretensions borne out of College Fraternity tics with elaborate psuedo-Pagan rituals which operated a Torture Regime against people of different religious persuasion and skin color than they and meted out serious consequences to anyone who uttered the name of this organization. But enough about Skull and Bones. I have to wonder about the High School History regime which can glide over a decade, to the extent that it covers the decade mentions the fads and follys of the Consumer Culture of the era, and not mention the unpleasant reality of the power and influence, the attitudes influencing our political landscape today, of the Ku Klux Klan.

6-8: Representatives of considerable number of negro organizations are holding conferences here at the Majestic Hotel, in the hope of getting a plank denouncing the Ku Klux Klan into the Republican platform. They also want the platform to repeat the denunciations of lynching and demands for the enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments in the Southern States, which have been customary features of Republican platforms in past years; but this time they want something more outspoken and promises of action to back it up if Republicans are successful. The Klan plank is, of course, new and its sponsors are not confident of getting it adopted, but they are confident that a refusal by the convention will have a considerable effect on the negro vote in doubtful Northern States this Fall. […]

“While Northern negroes have, of course, usually supported the Republican ticket” said Mr Brascher “there is a very active minority which has always leaned toward the Democrats. This year, with the Klan directly attacking our group interests, negro voters will be more and more inclined to support the party that promises to do something for them, and promises it in a manner that carries some conviction. In Indiana the Klan nominated a Republican candidate for Governor and the Democrats came out against the Klan. Naturally, there is much doubt about the attitude of the 80,000 colored voters in Indiana.”

And it goes on to describe other minor defections that have taken place. Our high school textbooks tell us that Black Americans defected from the Republican Party — the Party of Lincoln — to the Democratic Party with FDR’s New Deal. As always, the story is not that simple. Just as it’s not that simple in attaching the KKK as a purely Southern Institute or an organization attached solely to the Democratic Party. It really does boil down to Al Sharpton’s quip that “We were promised 30 Acres and a mule. And we waited. And when we never received the 30 Acres and a mule, we decided to ride the donkey as hard as we could.” Though, that’s too simple as well. The Republican platforms of 1956 and 1960 could justifiably scold the Democrats for tokenism in promising Civil Rights. FDR was careful not to have a photograph taken with a black person — something Langston Hughes had in mind when he wrote this poem, what with the Emerging Democratic Coalition being composed of the Klan – ridden South and Urban Blacks… and for that matter Urban Catholic Immigrants. For what it’s worth, the NAACP went on to urge the Democratic Convention to pass a tough anti-Klan plank in 1924. I wonder if it may be a credit to the Democratic Party that they actually touched this issue, and brought it to the forefront, despite disasterous political consequences… whereas the Republicans?

6-12: Last evening, some of those highly interested in the outcome of the voting in the Democratic Convention learned that at Cleveland the Republicans had passed what was termed an innocuous plank on the Klan. […] Instantly it was seen that great political advantage might be gained by going to greater lengths and meeting a live issue in a straight-forward manner. As a result, no matter what the outcome may be, there will be introduced in the Democratic Committee on Resolutions an anti-Klan plank that will name the Klan by its acknowledged title, condemn its activities, and seek to bind the Democratic Party to oppose its illegal actions by every means in the power of the Government.

6-23: Governor Nerf (of Texas) fought for an uninstructed delegation, and when the McAdoo forces, which had the backing of the Ku Klux Klan organization, passed an iron clad McAdoo instruction, he promptly announced that he could not conscientously vote for Mr. McAdoo. […] Incidentally, there are several members of the Texas delegation who are not members of the Klan. The article than goes on to describe how the Klan in Texas is on the decline. The next article states that 85% of Texas delegates are Klans-men, and as you shall see contradicts that assertion about the Klan’s decline. This seems to be a recurring theme, and you can see it in my post about Alfred Smith’s disasterous foray into the South.

6-27: Apparently, the Southern Democracy is facing one of its greatest tests in the issue of the Ku Klux Klan. It is only necessary to talk with a Southern delegate, one who is not a member of the Klan, to realize just how serious the menance of the hooded knights has grown to be. The situation is just as serious in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and other Western States, where the Klan has made great progress and where it is admitted to wield great influence if not almost actual political control. […] Strange as it may seem there are in this convention Southerners who go so far as to express doubt as to whether the Democratcs can carry Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia — three of the star states of Klan-dom — in the event that the Democratic platform arraigns the Klan by name and in the vigorous language urged by Senator Underwood and other leaders of the anti-Klan forces. They hope that even with this handicap those states would stay in line, but as a Texan non-member of the Klan who repudiates everything the Klan stands for put it “The Republicans would at least poll the biggest vote in history in the Klan-ridden South.”

It is admitted that this plank may fail of passage. It is admitted that a fight in the Platform committee over it is inevitable. It is admitted further that such a plank, if carried on the floor from the committee room, may well cause a turmoil of great consequence. Nevertheless, the men who are now busy drafting such a plank are convinced that the way to meet the Klan issue is to meet it squarely and settle it once and for all. Such premonitions of “once and for all” never turn out that way.

[Kansas Advisor for Platform Committee:] “Well, I am very doubtful about the advisability of making a campaign issue of the Klan, or of anything religious, Klan, Caholtic, anti-Catholic, anti-Masonic, or anything of that sort. There are plenty of real national issues. The Klan is a local issue, to an extent at least, and I think the Republicans would like nothing better than for us to make an issue of it.” On the other hand, one man with the Texas delegation said flatly, “Texas is a Klan State, and we are in the saddle. If there is going to be a Klan plank it has to got be one without teeth in it.”

9-23: Mr. McAdoo did not refer to the Ku Klux Klan by name, but he accused his opponents of attempting to raise false race and religious issues to obscure the real issue, which he said was “the restoration of the administration of national affairs to the people from the control of a sinister, unscrupulous, invisible government which has its seat in the citadel of privilege and finance in New York City.”

7-4: 20,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan and their relatives celebrated Independence Day here with demonstrations against Governor Smith and his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President. The event which drew men, women, and children of the hooded order from all New Jersy and Delaware, and from Eastern Pennsylvania had been announced as a Tri-State Klorero, the purpose of which was to demonstrate the patriotism of the Klansmen and their devotion to the cause of good government. Before the day’s program had proceeded an hour, scores of men and women and many children encouraged by their elders had pounded to a battered pulp an effigy of Governor Smith, which the Kloreans were invited to attack at three baseballs for a nickel. Later in the morning, there was a near riot of 1,000 Klansmen [2 men… helicopter fell… menaced with with possibility of physical attack… accused of being Smith Men… yadda yadda yadda…]

Aside from the bitter demonstrations against the New York Governor, the party was largely a picnic, which held no features of unusal importance. There were speeches, Klan weddings and baptisms, and a parade through the streets of Long Branch of 4,000 hooded men and women, who were escorted through the city by two motorcycled policemen. […]

The morning’s program included a baseball game between the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania Klan teams, a wedding on the upper terrace of the sunken garden, and the Christening of 16 children. The bride and groodm were hooded, as were members of their wedding group, and the players of the purple-caped Red Bank Klan Band.

I could mention William Jenning Bryan’s impassioned speech to not name the Ku Klux Klan by name. His reasoning was that it gives the Klan too much power. And that the Party should not alienate the good folks, misguided that they may be, who joined the Klan. What was that quote from Howard Dean that the Democrats oughta be the party of the Confederate Flag stickers on pick-up trucks? Okay, I know… there’s no racist implications there. It’s about Southern Heritage. Though, when you delve further into the matter, you never get any further than an explanation that “The South Rules!” Hm.

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