Wilton letter: Republicans deserve some credit
To the Editors:
To add a little historical accuracy to Stephen Hudspeth’s column on politcal polorization ( “Polarization is not new; Feb. 27, 2020), he’s certainly correct about how the Southern Democrats resisted integration, but to say that “… the Democrats under LBJ pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act …” leaves out the major Republican support which was necessary for passage. The Southern Democrats staged a 57-day filibuster against the act. West Virginia Democratic senator Robert Byrd, a former high ranking member of the KKK, spoke for 14 hours straight against it.
The Civil Rights Act passed in the house with 60 percent of Democrats voting in favor of it and 78 percent of Republicans. It passed in the senate with 69 percent of Democrats in favor and 82 percent of Republicans, led strongly by Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL). Let’s give a little credit to the Republicans.
This is a good example of the political polarization Mr Hudspeth talks about — my side is always right, the other side is always wrong.
And, let's rewrite history to favor our side.
I’m also curious on how Mr. Hudspeth concludes that the electoral college favors the southern states. It favors small states, like Connecticut and most of New England. Leaving out Massachusetts, the remaining New England states have 2.4 percent of the U.S. population, but 10 percent of its senators. Without the electorial college, we’d have little impact in national decisions. (Massachusetts has 2 percent of the population and 2 percent of the senators.)
I’ve read that in discussing our founding principals Ben Franklin said that if we just used majority rule at that time only Philadelphia and Boston would have had any say in government decisions. The modern equivalent is that with majority rule only New York and California would have any clout. I think the founding fathers knew what they were doing.