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


Tom Boots said...

You need to read Jonah Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism, so you can bring yourself up to date on the historical roots of racism as it relates to "progressivism" and "convervatism." Simply put, your demon in this piece, D.C. Stephenson, was a Socialist/Progressive in the same sense that many politicians of the era were "progressive" (e.g., Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger, etc.). Read the book before you dismiss it like all of the other "open-minded" folks on your side of the spectrum.

Matt Janovic said...

I've heard of the book, but already know the context. So many books, so little time. Write me a book report with a solid thesis. What you're pointing-out is what is sometimes known as "misguided populism,' which is exactly what the Klan was and is today. You misrepresent Stephenson who was no Eugene Debs or Big Bill Heywood--real Socialists.

Stephenson was merely another demagogue--as was Sanger and President Wilson. America was a decidedly white supremacist nation during the period of these people's time in the spotlight (roughly 1900 through the late-1920s), and they shared the assumptions of white skin privilege and entitlement.

The Klan wasn't 'Socialist,' though it was communitarian and nativist, which was a popular opinion in white protestant main street USA. They wouldn't have extended any substantial rights to anyone who wasn't white and protestant. There were hundreds-of-thousands of immigrants flooding into the country from Europe at that time, and people were losing their farms and jobs at that time in a rapidly modernizing economy (sound familiar?).

The Klan and plains Populism was rural, left-leaning, and it was also very racist (anti-Semitic especially). It was 'collective,' we still have farm collectives today as part of their legacy, but that's not the same as the industrial unionism and the states recognition of the bargaining rights of workers (including a social safety net from progressive taxation that would come later with the New Deal)that people like the urban progressives, the AFL, and unions like the IWW represented.

You kind of miss the whole point: America was moving from being an agricultural nation to a primarily industrialized one. Racism runs deep in our culture and was even more in-your-face then, it was everywhere. Sanger was a believer in scientific racism, as were many so-called "progressives." Many of us on the Left don't care for her, nor President Wilson who quashed the rights of many Americans to demonstrate against our involvement in WWI.

Wilson also allowed for the abuse of the Alien and Sedition acts during the war to smash legitimate labor organizing, culminating in the Red Scare at the end of WWI, the infamous 'Palmer Raids.' Go read about that. But if you think Stephenson was anything but a scoundrel, you're kidding yourself anyway and won't listen to reason regardless of the evidence presented.

You carry a lot of faulty assumptions about so-called "liberal," "leftists," "progressives," etc., but I doubt you have the real context to assume much of anything. Stephenson wasn't progressive in any real substantial regard, the issue is simply that racism was everywhere then. Bring yourself up-to-date.

Matt Janovic said...

PS: And I see you hail from Mishawaka--one of the disputed Klaverns in the United States. Stick to sales and living the lie of being a racist Republican. One would think you would admire Wilson and Sanger, I don't. Go sell shoes little man...

SHABAZZ said...

God works in mysterious ways. Just think a bunch of fools running around in sheets terrorising other human beings just because they lost the civil war. What was white supremacy during slavery but RAPE and murder of African women and little girls. Confederate punks hiding in sheets wishing things were like they use to be. David Curtis Stephenson was only being true to his distorted history of what white-supremacy really means. An to think these punks claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Hell! So did the slave-master. To hell with the Klan and any other group that uses God name in vain!

Matt Janovic said...

Yeah, they give Jesus a bad name, don't they?

What's interesting about Indiana is that it's always been torn on race. We had a lot of the major players in the Underground Railroad here, like Levi Coffin. My own father found tunnels around here at construction sites that were part of it, it was a pretty big network.

What can you say? Things are actually changing here, contrary to what dolts like Tom Boots think. We just elected a Black President of the United States a little over 80 years after Stephenson's dramatic fall. When the WWII generation is gone, you'll see even more good change in this area.

As much as I miss my grandparents, most of the whites of their generation were bigoted and wrong.

Racism has been used to divide poor whites and blacks for generations in this country, but it doesn't work so well for the aims of social control anymore. Sure, it's still very much around and there will be more confrontations, but it's losing its sting.

Agreed, Stephenson was just taking the tenets of white supremacy to their logical conclusion, meaning run amok white patriarchy, namely rape and terror. That's what the KKK have always been: the most wretched creatures in America, truly vile people.

Elizabeth said...

Pangea, anyone? True blonds have thickest heads of hair? Blue eyes? Brown eyes? And still no scientific support for alleles? I wager most of the night crawlers have lighter allele eyes but that could be horse crap.

Come world melt-down, those white supremacists will be told who is boss.

The end to that argument.

Matt Janovic said...

@ Tom Boots: I'm wagering that you're still a pathetic, stunted emotional retard here at the end of 2012. Enjoying having a two-termer black president, you racist piece of shit?

By the way: you remind me that ANY ASSHOLE can get into college. Pathetic. Eat shit, Tommy boy, you over-aged mook fuck...