Tuesday, October 03, 2006

D.C. Stephenson: An Old Case of Molestation

"Everything is fine in politics as long as you don't get caught in bed with a live man, or a dead woman."
--D.C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, circa 1920s

If you think that the Foley scandal is some kind of aberration--as the GOP will try to convince-you--think again. In the 1920s, there was no man more powerful in Indiana than D.C. Stephenson. He had the Governor and a Senator in his pocket. Like the GOP incumbents today, he was arrogant and a braggart at the apex of his power--until it was found that he had forced a young woman onto a train, and got her drunk and violently raped her:

In 1925 he had met a statehouse secretary, Madge Oberholtzer, at an inaugural ball for Governor Ed Jackson. She was later abducted from her home in Irvington, a neighborhood of Indianapolis and taken by Stephenson and some of his men to the train station. While on a trip to Hammond, Indiana, Stephenson repeatedly attacked and raped Oberholtzer in one compartment of his Pullman railcar. In Hammond she took poison to frighten Stephenson into letting her go. He immediately rushed her back to Indianapolis where she died a month later, either from the effects of the poison or the severe bite marks she incurred during the rape. Stephenson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. (NICH site)
She died weeks later but named Stephenson as her attacker before she died. Shortly before the scandal, Stephenson stated without a trace of irony that "I am the law in Indiana." At the time he said it, he was right. But once the scandal broke, he was finished, just as the GOP has been wrong in thinking that they could do anything they wanted in private. Life doesn't work that way, especially public life.

Imagine a victim taking poison to escape their attackers, it's truly unbelievable.

Stephenson started as a Democrat, but changed his affiliation with the most hardcore racists in America: the GOP.

Stephenson supported the candidacy of Ed Jackson (GOP), who became Governor of Indiana in 1924. It's my opinion that at this point, the Republican Party gradually began to take-up the gauntlet of racism from the Democrats who were still headed in an essentially progressive direction. FDR's New Deal, the Great Society, and the Civil Rights movement, would cement this in the 1960s, and a peculiar trading-of-places occurred. There are few original "Dixiecrats" left today besides Senator Robert Byrd.

Since then, the GOP has been the national party of racists (not that the DNC doesn't have its own problems). Why? If you are going to be the political arm of the business sector, you have no choice. Exploitation and abuse requires that the oppressor become racist, and not just to have some "justification" in their minds for their criminal policies against minorities and the poor. Choosing to separate yourself from the rest of humanity as an exploiter makes one a racist by definition and has little to do with color or cultural differences, but a form of nihilism. These creatures use the weapon of legislation, and it is informed by a primal hate.
Their rhetorical flourishes tend to state the obverse of what they're actually guilty of in just another permutation of the big lie.

Remember that D.C. Stephenson spoke frequently about the Klan's desire to "protect Protestant womanhood," and then raped a young German-American woman to death. This is similar to Foley's numerous public statements against pedophiles and it was a cover created with just as much forethought. Where do scoundrels hide? Out in the open.

The saddest aspect of Stephenson was that he had been active with the Socialist Party for a time, but was gradually corrupted by power. It appears Foley was always a greedy scumbag who never believed in anything, so he can be viewed as a step down from Stephenson. The onetime Grand Dragon served 31 years of a life sentence and was paroled twice. The first time, it was alleged that he had attempted to molest a 16-year-old girl while on release. The Indiana authorities put him back inside right away. He was finally paroled in the early 1960s and died in-obscurity in Tennessee where he was probably a minor hero to some.
Even to the Klan, he was an embarrassment, and that's saying something in America.

Stephenson was just someone who got caught, just as former Rep. Mark Foley (Fla.) is now busted. The rest of them...that's anyone's guess. This is why we need a politically insulated investigation of Foley and wherever the trail leads us. [Ed.-11.24.2009: this of course never happened.] Expect to be horrified by upcoming revelations this week. As a kid, I remember reading about the 1920s as being the most corrupt decade in American history. This is simply no longer true. This is the most corrupt era in American history to date.

It's obvious that all of this--from 1980-on, worsening in 1994 until very recently--has been an era of an omni-pervasive culture of corruption. But it isn't just the GOP. This includes the Democrats, too, and some will eventually be caught, although they're much smarter than their Republican cohorts at hiding their criminal behavior. The Teapot Dome scandal, runaway stock speculation on Wall Street, our reckless loans to Germany to pay-off war reparations to France and the rest of the Allied powers--it all just pales-in-comparison to the GOP's current reign of corruption and fiscal misrule. It is ending, and we must not spare the guilty, not even when they've left office.

One last note: Stephenson was abandoned by his political allies while he was in prison. In 1927, he threatened to "name-names"' of all the politicians who helped him, and then he finally did. It took down the Mayor of Indianapolis, the Governor, and several other fellow scoundrels. D.C. Stephenson never held public office because he didn't need to. He raped and murdered a wonderful young woman who taught poor people and black children to read. He stole her life, just as the majority of politicians steal ours, a piece-at-a-time. These are the kind of degenerates that the wealthy hire to flay us all.

Lightly Revised and Corrected, 11.24.2009