Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Icon Lashes out at the GOP

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Icon Lashes out at the GOP

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

JULIAN BOND: Civil rights leader links Republicans to days of Confederacy

Civil rights icon Julian Bond lashed out at Republicans and the Tea Party movement during a speech here Sunday night, comparing them to the Southern Confederacy and declaring both a threat to the gains made by blacks since the 1960s.

Many want to believe President Barack Obama's election and re- election meant the nation had reached some racial nirvana where structural inequities and racist attitudes were on the decline, Bond said. Not so, the 74-year-old former NAACP chairman told about 450 people at the Sarasota Democratic Party's annual Kennedy-King fundraising dinner during a 45-minute speech.

"Indeed, there is some evidence that it fomented them," Bond said of racist attitudes. "Obama is to the Tea Party as the moon is to werewolves."

Bond asserted that the Tea Party doesn't like Obama because of what he represents.

"They see the nation's demographics turning them into a minority and they don't like it," Bond said. "They say they want their country back. And we ask, what was that country like? In their country I couldn't eat at a lunch counter and also vote. These were not the good ol' days for me. If the president represents the end of the America they knew, I say good for him."

Bond's message to Democrats contrasted sharply with U.S. Rep. Allen West's in Sarasota just 11 days earlier.

At the Sarasota Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, West said that Democrats have repeatedly failed the black community. He noted that the Democrats in the 1850s wanted to continue slavery and Democrats in the 1950s and early 1960s opposed the civil rights movement.

He contended that even though black voters have been overwhelmingly Democratic in recent decades, the black community has much higher unemployment rates and out-of-wedlock birth rates than whites. …

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