Teddy Roosevelt was the Vice President under McKinley. He went about the ceremonial duties of the Vice President of that time – accepting an invitation by Booker T. Washington to visit Tuskegee Institute. But fate interceded, McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt became President. Roosevelt offered a dinner invitation to Booker T. Washington which was readily accepted. They dined in the White House. Then the press tried to take charge. WARNING TO READERS- this post contains graphic language.
From H. W. Brands, T. R. The Last Romantic, BasicBooks, 1997, pages 422 – 423:
“The New Orleans Times-Democrat reported, “White men of the South, how do you like it? … White women of the South, how do YOU like it?”
The Richmond Times reported, “It means that the President is willing that negroes shall mingle freely with whites in the social circle – that white women may receive attentions from negro men; it means that there is no racial reason in his opinion why whites and blacks may not marry and intermarry, why the Anglo-Saxon may not mix negro blood with his blood.”
The Raleigh Post was moved to verse:
Booker Washington holds the boards –
The President dines a nigger,
Precedents are cast aside –
Put aside with vigor;
Black and white sit side by side,
As Roosevelt dines a nigger.
“Roosevelt was flabbergasted at the response. ‘No one could possibly be as astonished as I was,’ he told a British friend.”
Today, 2008, we have an African American leading a major party ticket. The issue of race is much more subtle – but no less powerful. The race baiting by Sarah Palin is deplorable – demonstrating exactly what Barack Obama has been saying about what is wrong in American Politics.
Winning at any cost is more important than being parties of honor and integrity. Dirty politics has been around a long time – and will continue as long as the populace remains ignorant of political motive.
Governor Palin and her side kick McCain may be proud that a bunch of hooligans like her – but call me an elitist – she is discrediting our nation on the world stage.