didn`t start in the
1960`s. It goes back much farther than that. What
confuses people is that it used to be called
In the 1890`s the
"spoils system" allowed the winning party
to get jobs for their loyal partisans. Tax money taken
from members of all parties was used to pay the salaries
of members of one party.
Civil service reform
finished that. For
many years, when blacks had no political clout
whatsoever, the Federal Civil Service was a place where
they could get jobs when white employers refused to hire
African-American community, the Democratic Party has a
large group of loyal partisans. African-Americans
for the Democratic Party at a rate of 95%.
Therefore, it`s not
surprising that the Dems would support jobs for
African-Americans – on the same principle that
nineteenth century minority (Irish-American) politician
George Washington Plunkitt supported city jobs for loyal
campaign workers from his Fifteenth Assembly District.
strongly critical of Civil Service reform. In the
“This civil service law
is the biggest fraud of the age. It is the curse of the
nation. There can`t be no real patriotism while it
lasts. How are you goin` to interest our young men in
their country if you have no offices to give them when
they work for their party?”
Plunkitt was equally critical of the use of standardized
tests to determine who was best qualified:
“Isn`t it enough to
make a man sour on his country when he wants to serve it
and won`t be allowed unless he answers a lot of fool
questions about the number of cubic inches of water in
the Atlantic and the quality of sand in the Sahara
He also felt, like
modern-day minority activists, that if his young men
didn`t get jobs, they were likely to engage in
He even claimed that civil service reform had produced
After the battle of
San Juan Hill, the Americans found a dead man with a
light complexion, red hair and blue eyes. They could see
he wasn`t a Spaniard, although he had on a Spanish
uniform. Several officers looked him over, and then a
private of the Seventy-first Regiment saw him and
yelled, "Good Lord, that`s Flaherty." That man grew up
in my district, and he was once the most patriotic
American boy on the West Side…
Now, how did he come
to be lying dead with a Spanish uniform on?…Well, in the
municipal campaign of 1897, that young man, chockful of
patriotism, worked day and night for the Tammany ticket.
Tammany won, and the young man determined to devote his
life to the service of the city. He picked out a place
that would suit him, and sent in his application to the
head of department. He got a reply that he must take a
civil service examination to get the place. He didn`t
know what these examinations were, so he went, all
lighthearted, to the Civil Service Board. He read the
questions about the mummies, the bird on the iron, and
all the other fool questions – and he left that office
an enemy of the country that he had loved so well.
Plunkitt is long
dead, although something of his spirit lives on in his
old district, where the
still holds court on Mondays and Thursdays.
immigration-enhanced diversity has given the Democrats
a new way around civil service reform. They now
apply the idea of
affirmative action not only to Civil Service jobs, which are supposed to be controlled by
the government, but also to every employer with more
than 15 employees. They can now secure jobs for their
party loyalists from the general public!
taxpayers and Republican employers are finding their
money used to reward minorities for voting the straight
Democrats may not
even consciously know what they`re doing, but simply be
sincere believers in "
for minorities. Plunkitt sincerely believed that
democracy meant that he`d been elected to get city jobs
for his followers:
representative government, anyhow? Is it all a fake that
this is a government of the people, by the people and
for the people? If it isn`t a fake, then why isn`t the
people`s voice obeyed and Tammany men put in all the
affirmative action has never actually been put to a
popular vote. The
affirmative action shows that it has frequently been a
bipartisan initiative, pushed by
well as Democrats. And when something`s
there`s no way you can vote against it.
While the Democrats
are unlikely to change their beliefs on affirmative
action anytime soon, Republicans should start to look at
the fact that these laws have a
on Republican voters.
The idea of
in employment whether in Government or private industry,
should not only apply to ethnic groups, but to political
parties as well.
has found compassion
for the poor.
Perhaps Bush could
find compassion even for Republicans?
February 20, 2002