Did you notice that Republicans largely were absent from the 50th anniversary commemoration of the historic March on Washington and the famed "dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
That's because conservatives generally fought against equality for blacks during the past century, just as they opposed other human rights reforms. Advances for minorities and other underdogs were won chiefly by liberal, progressive crusaders who waged long, long battles.
Even today, Republicans still try to undercut blacks -- for instance, by passing laws requiring photo ID cards for voting. The GOP knows that vast numbers of low-income African-Americans lack cars and driver licenses. And the party knows that most blacks vote Democratic -- so obstructing minority votes is a half-hidden Republican priority.
And conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court recently sabotaged part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act -- a major law passed under Democratic President Lyndon Johnson to prevent Dixie racists from blocking black votes. Civil rights reforms under Johnson propelled once-Democratic southern whites into the Republican Party.
During Wednesday's Washington celebration, former President Jimmy Carter said:
"I believe we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the new ID requirements to exclude certain voters, especially African-Americans. I think we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the Supreme Court striking down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act."
Former President Bill Clinton added: "A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon."
Current President Obama said conscientious Americans must "challenge those who erect new barriers to the vote."
The renowned 1963 March on Washington was a milepost in the decades-long struggle to wipe out the cruel Jim Crow system that kept blacks in inferior status, legally banned from white schools, jobs, hotels, neighborhoods, restaurants, pools and other American venues. The march helped impel passage of many state and federal equality laws.Conservatives opposed racial integration, just as they also fought against voting rights for women, birth control for couples, Social Security, Medicare, equality for gays, and other humane advances. They were on the "wrong side of history" repeatedly. We hope they keep on losing.