And here is Bill Moyers expanding President Obama’s point, an opinion piece entitled: “When America behaved like ISIS: Jesse Washington and the Bible Belt’s dark history of public lynchings.”
It is a tissue of misrepresentations, recounted in Moyers’ typical insufferable pseudo-solemnity.
Moyers recalls a gruesome lynching that took place in Waco, Texas in 1916. First, we have a photo of Klansmen in regalia, then an account of the savage torture and murder of this young black man. A photo of his charred body tied to a tree trunk follows. Moyers notes the cheering crowds, 15,000 people, and the distribution of relics and souvenirs after the barbaric ritual ended.
Moyers offers the case as an example of America’s violent racial past, then asserts the existence of “barbarians” within our own gates not so long ago. He cites lynching figures and notes his own childhood in Texas, and he remembers people talking about the Washington lynching “as if it were only yesterday.” He notes that this “was not medieval Europe. Not the Inquisition. Not a heretic burned at the stake by some ecclesiastical authority in the Old World.” The killers, too, weren’t crazy religionists. They were “respectable congregants from local churches.”
The whole piece is dishonest from beginning to end.
First, Moyers omits an important fact: Washington was tried and convicted of murdering his employer’s wife. The mob grabbed him after the verdict was read.
Second, the Klan had nothing to do with it. In fact, the Klan didn’t even exist a mere six months earlier. (It was founded outside Atlanta in late-November 1915.)
Third, the title says, “When America behaved like ISIS,” but once the event was broadcast to the nation, it was roundly denounced virtually everywhere. Americans were appalled and horrified, and they said so.
Fourth, he refers to the “4,743 recorded lynchings in the US,” adding that one-quarter were white, “many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks.” He doesn’t specify how many, because if he did it would be an unimpressively small number. In fact, most white lynchings were committed in the West, the victims usually horse-thieves.
The only reason this kind of scolding twaddle passes for authentic history in our country is because historical knowledge in the United States is so poor. We get Bill Moyers posturing and puffing because U.S. history in high school has become so often a parade of victims and U.S. history in college has been dropped as a general education requirement.
The result is a crowd of progressive voices, including our President, that broadcasts a version of the American past that comes right out of a tenth-grade social studies course taught by a resentful leftist.