Skip to main content

I have often have mixed feelings about President Lyndon Johnson. He escalated a war in Vietnam that we as a nation should never have been involved.

However, when it comes to the Great Society and his transformation from a US Senator who once watered down  civil rights legislation to a president who was one of its true champions, he should be considered one of liberalism's greatest heroes.

Let us honor LBJ's contribution to civil rights. He took a gamble with the Democratic Party that would lose the South for a generation as the price paid for embracing civil rights. But the 36th president took the gamble, looking at the long-term instead of a few upcoming elections.

Sometimes such sacrifice is required of political parties.

As I watched Lincoln, FDR and JFK's legacies celebrated over the past few days I wondered, where's the overdue ode to LBJ? He made voting rights a priority, so much so that the franchise was protected by legislation. And it was the Voting Rights Act that made Obama's election possible.

So, it was with gratitude I read today's column by Bob Herbert:

And then imagine a tall white man being ushered into their presence, and the warm smiles of recognition from the big four — and probably tears — for someone who has been shamefully neglected by his nation and his party, Lyndon Johnson.

Johnson’s contributions to the betterment of American life were nothing short of monumental. For blacks, he opened the door to the American mainstream with a herculean effort that resulted in the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He followed up that bit of mastery with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Once the black man’s voice could be translated into ballots,” Johnson would say, “many other breakthroughs would follow.”

Without Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama and so many others would have traveled a much more circumscribed path.

I wish Johnson could be there, his commitment to civil rights so publicly vindicated, his eyes no doubt misting as the oath of office is administered.

Thank you Bob; I'm glad someone said what had to  be said.

Originally posted to Frank Cocozzelli on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 04:29 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, skybluewater, N in Seattle, Randy, clio, claude, Ed in Montana, MS, tmo, PLS, Phoenix Woman, tankej, thinkdouble, Ivan, cedubose, dfarrah, Dump Terry McAuliffe, Pandora, Unstable Isotope, Powered Grace, whataboutbob, ScientistMom in NY, Winger, Bob Love, karlpk, dengre, littlesky, scrutinizer, Debby, worried sick, Sherri in TX, LynChi, Lufah, akeitz, John Campanelli, eeff, phenry, ThirstyGator, dsb, Pellice, polecat, Cambridgemac, rlamoureux, recentdemocrat, Woody, frisco, RFK Lives, lzachary, Arlingtonian, strengthANDwisdom, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, bronte17, JSCram3254, fugwb, BlackSheep1, understandinglife, OCD, boadicea, Scoopster, Porfiry, mrblifil, SaltWaterCroc, roses, Frederick Clarkson, javelina, Ignacio Magaloni, Larry Bailey, MJB, thingamabob, nicta, Dube, Getreal1246, danthrax, TexDem, Dallasdoc, paluxy1945, lungfish, Nina, desmoinesdem, Bulldawg, HeyMikey, Penny Century, defluxion10, snakelass, Calidrissp, annetteboardman, Timbuk3, Liberaljentaps, Democratic Hawk, inclusiveheart, walkshills, Matt Esler, WV Democrat, mungley, tomjones, DrReason, TexasLefty, zannie, Krum, greeseyparrot, TexMex, Gowrie Gal, ddp, G2geek, jabney, marina, Tinfoil Hat, powwow500, UFOH1, SherwoodB, PBen, Hotspur18, DocGonzo, ajsuited, craigkg, citizenx, basquebob, denisedh, eru, LNK, flo58, TheSwampDweller, Pam from Calif, where4art, Inland, S1NV, exmearden, Sharon Jumper, Marcus Junius Brutus, optimusprime, serrano, sgary, jct, Land of Enchantment, kathny, begone, aimzzz, martini, esquimaux, The Scientific Liberal, SoniaS, danmac, CParis, tschulth, ravenwind, tung sol, BlueInARedState, trentinca, andydoubtless, dopper0189, dragon695, liberalconservative, arlene, kck, SarekOfVulcan, goodasgold, global citizen, Tanya, DJShay, paul2port, ER Doc, Dinclusin, Pilgrim X, JugOPunch, zeke7237, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, kurious, louavul, duha, mapman, Nulwee, AntKat, BentLiberal, cjallen, ammasdarling, DrSteveB, marykk, nathguy, anotherdemocrat, C Barr, JFinNe, FWIW, nmira, gtghawaii, EdSF, TruthOfAngels, buzzermaster, Blue Waters Run Deep, yowsta, gustynpip, deepeco, sfbob, drchelo, St Louis Woman, bnasley, Canyon Lefty, Seneca Doane, BobTrips, getlost, stratocasterman, vbdietz, cyncynical, Uberbah, jnhobbs, jhop7, Rumarhazzit, Dar Nirron, sheiladeedee, JML9999, keikekaze, Unlabled, sable, willb48, roycej, TomP, RisingTide, fayeforcure, rogerdaddy, Shane Hensinger, condorcet, Sicembears, walja, ShadowSD, oolali, Zaphyro, parakinesis, fromdabak, SMWalt, Rich in PA, dadadata, Rick Winrod, lineatus, Archangel, tofumagoo, mayim, boatjones, Cassandra Waites, TokenLiberal, Tam in CA, PMA, luckylizard, FLCitizen, deadatom, nklein, Athenocles, allie123, legendmn, Redstateresident, Fiddlegirl, Bule Betawi, Rhysling, RonRaunikar, h bridges, ProgressiveMan, velvet blasphemy, Hopeful Monster, Night Train, followyourbliss, dansmith17, asym, ZilV, obscuresportsquarterly, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, Dark UltraValia, Munchkn, IreGyre, Katie71, purplepenlady, deviant24x, Wisteacher, Larsstephens, Lefty Ladig, BrighidG, MariaWr, happyinfla10, flitedocnm, robertacker13, Indie Tarheel, on board 47, Big Danny, vednam, JellyBearDemMom, mjbleo, Dexter, Klaus, Mudderway, sfkat, sullivanst, elginblt, NYWheeler, Micheline, USHomeopath, Loose Fur, bottles, aussiefan, okliberal, Mister Met, guilford caswell, sallym, Dianasmom, Haf2Read, de porres, Cinnamon Rollover, politicalpirate, Wheever, bamabikeguy, enhydra lutris, ViralDem

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site