What Gingrich Got Right About Mandela

Not necessarily friends, but certainly not enemies.

When Nelson Mandela crossed over from revolutionary to statesman, most of the world cheered.   Most, but not all.   For many American conservatives both in life and in death Mandela remained nothing more than an old “communist” and “terrorist” as they damned him with both faint praise and withering contempt.

Conservatives are not inherently racist. Neither are Republicans. However, too often conservatives and Republicans side with racists whether it be a president cravenly supporting the apartheid regime in Africa or rallying to defend a Louisiana redneck’s moronic views about gays and Blacks and so the image becomes the reality.

I don’t like Newt Gingrich. Not even a bit. I think he’s a race-baiter, a pompous and insufferable egotist and a major contributor to the current political dysfunction in Washington, but even a bad man can do a good thing.

I  have to respect Gingrich for having the guts to set the record straight on Mandela despite the howling of his conservative cohorts who attempted to demonize the legendary Lion of South Africa.

What Would YOU Have Done?

Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country.

After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech.

As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny. We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”


Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?

Some conservatives say, ah, but he was a communist.

Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.

I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.

Finally, if you had been imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of them in a cell eight foot by seven-foot, how do you think you would have emerged? Would you have been angry? Would you have been bitter?

Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison as an astonishingly wise, patient, and compassionate person.

He called for reconciliation among the races. He invited his prison guard to sit in the front row at his inauguration as President. In effect he said to the entire country, “If I can forgive the man who imprisoned me, surely you can forgive your neighbors.”

Far from behaving like a communist, President Mandela reassured businesses that they could invest in South Africa and grow in South Africa. He had learned that jobs come from job creators.

I was very privileged to be able to meet with President Mandela and present the Congressional Medal of Freedom. As much as any person in our lifetime he had earned our respect and our recognition.

Before you criticize him, ask yourself, what would you have done in his circumstances?

There is an expectation that the oppressed are expected to be non-violent in the face of violent oppression.   This tactic worked for Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but it was not going to work for Mandela in light of the vicious determination of the Afrikaner government to keep the Black majority of South Africa controlled body, mind and soul.

Gingrich is a student of history and as such knows not all revolutions succeed without taking up the gun and the bomb.  Mandela led a social revolution and became a statesman.   Gingrich led a political revolution and found common ground with Mandela in a rare example of statesmanship.

Gingrich didn’t have to call out his fellow conservatives for their classless attacks on Mandela, but I’m impressed he did.   Tomorrow I can go back to despising the ground he walks on.

A future president pays his respects to a past one.

A future president pays his respects to a past one.

Fox News Slimes Mandela: “A Great Man…But A Communist.”

A Black man with a clenched fist scares the hell out of the Fox News nation.

The universe has a uncanny knack for adding perspective whenever popularity gets confused with significance.   Paul Walker was popular.  Nelson Mandela was significant.

Fox News should not be counted in the ranks of admirers of the revolutionary lion turned honored statesman.

Cynics say there’s little difference in cable news, but sometimes the differences are obvious and stark. While CNN and MSNBC honored Nelson Mandela by turning over their evening programming to covering his life and times, Fox News stayed on message by largely relegating Mandela’s passage to the news crawl and pounding away with their anti-Obamacare propaganda.

The media gossip site, Mediaite went deep into CNN, MSNBC and Fox’s coverage (or lack of) of Mandela’s passage and the clear loser lagging behind the field was the “news” network led by hardcore right-wingers Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Hardly a surprise considering everything Mandela stood for are the very things Fox News is against.

I flipped the television from Rachel Maddow interviewing Ron Dellums to Megan Kelly chatting with amiably with a medal-winning soldier.  While Lawrence O’Donnell was discussing how Mandela dismantled apartheid, turn over to Sean Hannity and there’s the ugly mug of RNC chairman Reince Preibus banging on the Affordable Care Act yet again.

Wherever Mandela is now, odds are he’s not watching Fox News.

In fairness, Bill O’Reilly did mention Mandela’s passing.  Mostly to remind Fox viewers the father of the modern-day South Africa was “a communist.”

“He was a communist, this man. He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man! What he did for his people was stunning!… He was a great man! But he was a communist!”

O’Reilly’s guest, Rick Santorum, was a bit more gracious than his obnoxious host, but even while he praised Mandela,  the failed presidential candidate compared Mandela’s fight against apartheid to the right-wing’s war against Obamacare.

With his success writing historical/fantasy novels like Killing Lincoln, it might be hoped O’Reilly would know while it is true Mandela’s African National Congress  was supported by the Soviet Union,  the United States was a supportive ally of South Africa’s Afrikaner government even as it ruthlessly crushed Black protest against the evil of apartheid.   Ronald Reagan called the racist regime, ” “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.”

Reagan was more concerned about propping up a gang of White supremacists brutally putting their foot of the necks of millions of Black people than their freedom and sided with a bigoted minority over the oppressed majority.  Mandela opposed hypocrites like Reagan who demanded the Soviets  “tear down this wall” so East Germans could be free while telling Black Africans they should suck it up and suffer.   Liberation movements are best loved by American conservatives when their interests coincide with their own.

O’Reilly is a clown in the Fox News media circus.

If Nelson Mandela was a Communist,  Ronald Reagan was a bigot.  Bill O’Reilly is just a clown looking for a circus.

When President Obama leads the U.S. delegation to the memorial service for his African counterpart,  depending on their health, he may likely be joined by former presidents Carter, Clinton and both Bushes.   Not too shabby for a former “communist,” but don’t hold your breath waiting for O’Reilly to acknowledge that or for his employers to offer anything more than tepid praise for a man they clearly despised.

The approach of Fox to covering Mandela seems to be offer tepid praise while openly hoping he’s really dead this time.

Fox News.  It’s graceless.  It’s classless.  It’s tasteless.  But mostly it’s just racist.

Speak Ill of the Dead

Britannica rues Thatcher

I participate on a discussion board of writers and there are a sizable contingent of contributors from Great Britain.   The vast majority of them whom have weighed in have been absolutely SAVAGE in their disdain and contempt for Maggie Thatcher.

“Where’s the grave going to be? I’ve got my dance all worked out. ”

“I wish I lived in a bigger house, I’d totally invite you all to a party. I suppose we could take over the village pub. “

In response to an American poster horrified by the gleeful expressions to Thatcher’s death, there was this:  “Having witnessed the destruction of industries, communities and families because of her policies, I feel absolutely fine about saying how intensely I dislike her. I’ll say what I like, where I like, thanks.”

“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!  And for everyone who is puzzled at the celebration of her death…. you didn’t live in Britain in the 1980s. Cos if you did, you would know. “

“Grew up in an industrial town during the Thatcher years. She left us nothing – no jobs, no money, no hope, no future. The town, once home to the largest steelworks in Europe, has never recovered.”

“So I’ll join the dance. She earned it. “

Maggie and Ronnie in a tree…

I would say “polarizing” is a good way to describe Thatcher’s passing from the scene.   Some people improve the world by being here and others by leaving it.  It is difficult, if not impossible for those of whose knowledge of Margaret Thatcher is second-hand to fully understand the feelings she engenders in those with first-hand familiarity with her time as prime minister.

Obviously those whom do not mourn her passing have strong reactions to her death and the intensity of their dislike for Thatcher is equal to those whom admired and celebrate her. The fact Thatcher’s death provokes such strong and passionate reactions can be confusing to those whose knowledge of her is second-hand.

Perhaps it is counter to the conventions of society and even good taste to take pleasure in and express contempt toward the death of another human being, but express insincere and false sentiments just to go along is playing false to yourself.

Thatcher’s passage is not the same thing as that of Roger Ebert or Annette Funicello and we shouldn’t act as if it is. There should be a certain latitude given to those who chose to bury Thatcher instead of praising her.

I have no feelings about Thatcher other than contempt for the way she was an accommodating apologist for the evils of South Africa apartheid.  On that score Thatcher wears the face of a villain as much as that of a hero.

The final word on Thatcher should belong to those who knew her as prime minister.   From her Facebook page, Annie Lennox recalls Thatcher and not all that fondly.

Annie is no fan of Maggie

Margaret Thatcher’s death has provoked an outpouring of polarised responses, clearly reflecting how people felt, and still feel about her, right up to the present day.

As a political leader, her style was strident (some would say strong), inflexible (some would say firm), authoritarian (some would say powerful ), tough (some would say resolute), arrogant ( some would say assured), snobbish (some would say she had a sense of values), and faintly ridiculous, ( some would say patriotic). She was the headmistress and we were the renegade schoolchildren. She was the leader and we were the ardent followers…all depending on which side you happened to be on. Despite the evidence of her gender, she could never be described as a Feminist. She was more of a singular woman in the old boys club than a defender of women’s rights.

Although she was the daughter of a humble grocer shop owner, her aspirations far outreached her roots..which is tremendous but… she failed to have any real understanding or connection with ordinary people, riding rough shod over their lives, leaving them to deal with the aftermath of a decimated industrial era. Entire communities disintegrated with generations being left to cope for decades down the line.

I admire dedication, strength of purpose and vision, these are all fine qualities but when political policies are so brutally hard line, that they affect people’s entire existence at a pen stroke (whilst being told to pull themselves up by their boot straps), you can be sure that the spirit of dictatorship has arisen. From my own perspective I keep recalling the heavy sense of oppression that saturated every aspect of the Seventies, and I can’t say I have any sense of fond nostalgia.

Whitewashing Reagan’s Racist Past.

"So you boys wanna break for some fried chicken or something? You guys like fried chicken, right?"

I usually don’t cover the same topic in consecutive posts, but this latest example in whitewashing Ronald Reagan’s troublesome racial past was so far out there I couldn’t let it go without a  comment.

Check this out from Michael Reagan, one of dear dead Dutch’s brats writing  at Townhall.com:

Who was the first black president?

Two decades before the election of Barack Obama, novelist Toni Morrison dubbed Bill Clinton “our first black President.” She even said that Clinton was “blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.”

Well, I could make an even stronger case for my father, Ronald Reagan, as “our first black president” — but I won’t make that claim. I don’t want to diminish the justifiable pride African-Americans take in having a president who is genetically and culturally black. Our first black president is Barack Obama.

But the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been. Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.

On this anniversary of Dr. King’s birthday, less than a month before the hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, it’s fitting to note that Ronald Reagan did more to improve the lives of African-Americans than any other president since Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that America’s first black president has made life worse for us all — and especially for black Americans.

History does not judge presidents by the color of their skin, but by the content of their policies.

This is more than just another brain-dead commentary.  It’s a bald-faced lie and  even reposting it makes me feel like I’m validating it, but to let rank stupidity go unaddressed allows a lie to live and thrive when it’s picked up on repeated again and again.

Michael Reagan’s selective memory recall conveniently ignores President Obama inherited from the son of Reagan’s vice-president an economy in shambles and massive unemployment and housing foreclosures.

Sonny boy Mike also ignores how his daddy chose Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three Civil Rights workers were pursued and murdered by racists, to give the first major speech of his successful bid to unseat Jimmy Carter and professed his support of “state rights,” a phrase that has meant backing segregation.

Reagan personally was probably not a racist, but he surely did not mind providing aid and comfort to those who were such as the South Africa government and the sinister  system of White supremacy known as apartheid.   Reagan was real likable to the likes of P.W. Botha and the other bigots in Pretoria. For Nelson Mandela and the millions of Black South Africans suffering under the boot heel of the White minority? Probably not so much.

Reagan went so far as to veto The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 which banned all new U.S. trade and investment in South Africa and imposed sanctions against the regime. His veto was overridden by the Senate 78 to 21 and the House by 313 to 83. Congress handed Reagan a history-making rebuke as it marked the first time in the 20th century a foreign policy veto had been overridden.

Reagan could be on the wrong side of history and do it with a big ol’ smile and convince his followers it was all sunshine and rainbows.

It takes a special politician to pull off that kind of trick.   It takes the greatest Jedi mind trick of all time to rewrite history to make  Ronald Reagan a better friend to the Black community than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Michael Reagan attempt to do so should me rightly ridiculed as the  whitewashing of his daddy’s nod-and-winking embrace of racism and discrimination.

Ronnie: "Mommy, is there a strange Negro in the room?" Nancy: "Yes, there is. Ignore him and maybe he will go away."