Remembering Nelson Mandela; The American Political Right’s Reaction

08 Dec

Nelson MandelaFriends,

I can’t tell you how very disgusted I have been with the sheer amount of vitriol directed towards former president of South Africa & freedom fighter Nelson Mandela by the American political right, immediately following his death. Let me say that I have no problem with objective criticism of his political philosophy at one time in his life & I find some things he advocated fallacious or morally wrong as well, but Nelson Mandela was no “terrorist” nor was he an Idi Amin as some are attempting to portray him as. I want to share the comments & the sharing of Newt Gingrich’s very poignant blog from Steven (which is where I saw it first) of a very good friend & mentor of mine Steven Barnes, a New York Times bestselling writer, screenplay writer, life coach & I could go on. I also want to recognize those few on the right who have stood up to the criticism of Mandela as well – Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved & Newt Gingrich have all spoken out in reverence for him & expressed their condolences. Here is what Steven had to say & I concur:

“I find the venom against Mandela on the day of his passing to be indicative of a total emotional disconnect, an inability to extend humanity to others. When even Newt Gingrich agrees, you know there is a problem.”- Steven Barnes

“Yesterday I issued a heartfelt and personal statement about the passing of President Nelson Mandela. I said that his family and his country would be in my prayers and Callista’s prayers.

I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure.

So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?

Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future. This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks.

What would you have done faced with that crushing government?

What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression?

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?
— Newt Gingrich

I salute, honor & revere the hero that Nelson Mandela was and my prayers & condolences go out to his family & the people of South Africa who are mourning him. I also salute the few conservatives who have the decency & courage to speak honestly about Nelson Mandela in spite of the vitriol & disrespect coming from their followers. Until next time…..Talitha McEachin

1 Comment

Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Featured Guest blogs, In The News, Politics


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One response to “Remembering Nelson Mandela; The American Political Right’s Reaction

  1. Christina Hendriks

    December 18, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Talitha, Firstly-I wanted to say I respect you as a friend very much. However, I do disagree on this issue. And I will tell you why.

    In 1948, came the year of the horrible, as it was remembered. The Prime Minister, a former pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church, Dr Daniel Malan, built immediately, brick by brick, statute by statute, the wall of “grand apartheid” (as opposed to the “petty apartheid” that had prevailed until one). Apartheid is an Afrikaans word (after the Dutch language) which means separation. It is a system of segregation of people of color (black, colored and Indian) applied in South Africa until 1994.

    This is the fight of the ANC intensified, and in 1949 the young wolves “the youth league of the ANC took power at the head of the ANC. Gradually the movement is growing in population and in 1952, the campaign challenge (non-compliance with the laws of apartheid) that lasts several months, meeting a huge success. So much so that on 30 July 1952, Mandela was arrested by the police. He was sentenced, along with other comrades to nine months’ hard labor, but the sentence is suspended for two years. Nelson Mandela becomes dangerous for power.

    In view of his biography, everything leads to believe that the title of hero is deserved, and I do not deny; Mandela was a great man who fought for a noble cause, but just see what the finding of the South Africa today to understand his betrayal.
    The conclusion today is that after sixteen years of democracy, South Africa is the world champion of inequality: the black population, which represents 80% of the population control only 5% of wealth. Only a tiny fraction (3%) of arable land owned by white farmers (87%) were transferred to blacks since 1994. We are far from the promises of equality.
    The conclusion is clear, the economic order was never questioned and challenged the racial order has allowed only a small minority of black gentrification and join the big bourgeoisie whites in the defense of their social interests.

    Mandela became the hero of capitalist elites around the world (there is a consensus imposed by the ideology of the media in their hands) because he did not touch the bag, he left South Africa to continue in, a headlong rush to global capitalism the most violent possible for poor people …
    He never gave details of the negotiations preceding its release, it’s probably because it has agreed to sell (by consent or knowledge of the subject) his fight, its legitimacy and its people to the worst capitalist sharks and financial return for the end of racial. You can not erase decades of social inequalities based on racial differences in a model of capitalist society … is absolute nonsense knowing that capitalism creates more inequality. Would have had to impose a socialist society and just where it is the people who enjoy the wealth derived from the value added for the benefit of all South Africans to the image of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (who is demonized in the West as it affects … where it hurts).
    Let’s be clear in purpose Mandela is not Lumumba Sankara were killed for their political support of the people who elected despite the interests of capitalist and imperialist sharks. South Africa Mandela became the blacks who shoot other blacks, blacks who live in misery even greater than under apartheid (to the point of regretting the time) and white farmers murdered.

    The end of apartheid is a scam for the people of South Africa.Is this, however, the whole story? Two key facts remain obliterated by this celebratory vision. In South Africa, the miserable life of the poor majority broadly remains the same as under apartheid, and the rise of political and civil rights is counterbalanced by the growing insecurity, violence and crime. The main change is that the old white ruling class is joined by the new black elite. Second, people remember the old African National Congress that promised not only the end of apartheid, but also more social justice, even a kind of socialism. This much more radical ANC past is gradually obliterated from our memory. No wonder that anger is growing among poor, black South Africans.

    At a more directly political level, United States foreign policy elaborated a detailed strategy of how to exert damage control by way of rechanneling a popular uprising into acceptable parliamentary-capitalist constraints – as was done successfully in South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime, in Philippines after the fall of Marcos, in Indonesia after the fall of Suharto and elsewhere. At this precise conjuncture, radical emancipatory politics faces its greatest challenge: how to push things further after the first enthusiastic stage is over, how to make the next step without succumbing to the catastrophe of the “totalitarian” temptation – in short, how to move further from Mandela without becoming Mugabe.

    If we want to remain faithful to Mandela’s legacy, we should thus forget about celebratory crocodile tears and focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. We can safely surmise that, on account of his doubtless moral and political greatness, he was at the end of his life also a bitter old man, well aware how his very political triumph and his elevation into a universal hero was the mask of a bitter defeat. His universal glory is also a sign that he really didn’t disturb the global order of power.

    This is in short the issues I have and how I feel. There are mixed feelings for sure. It was and still is a horrible situation for Africans there. And I don’t feel he made that better really for them in the end. Especially the way he went about it. I think many other choices could have been made. Much like MLK Jr. did. And much like we are doing in our fight against Obama and H. Clinton. We aren’t resorting to violence, and I hope it never comes to that for our nation, again. But we’ve also shown that we are willing to fight civil wars and overthrow our government(coming to the US and founding it as ours) to get what we want-freedom. A new life. So of course I respect that and his dream for that. But again, I just don’t like the way it was done and how it didn’t end up helping considering the deaths, betrayal(in many regards) and violence-loss of lives.

    I hope you understand my position. I don’t blame Obama for going. I didn’t like his friendliness with Castro, amongst others. And not attending Thatcher’s funeral/memorial. I believe that was important that the US POTUS was there for that as well. However, what happened, happened. And we cannot go backwards. As far as Newt goes, that was the worst honestly for me. That people were saying, “If Newt is defending this than the right needs to get on board.”

    Newt is a piece of work and in my opinion and many others–not a mouth piece for GOP, Conservatives or any of the derivates thereof. Reason being; Newt makes lots of bombastic statements, but they never actually seem to go anywhere-such as actual policy changes. After becoming the *first* Republican speaker of the House in nearly half a century, for example, Newt promptly proposed orphanages and janitorial jobs for children on welfare. It was true that welfare had destroyed generations of families shorn of the work ethic which led to soaring illegitimacy rates, child abuse, and neglect. Maybe orphanages and child labor would have been better(sarcasm of course).

    But we didn’t get orphanages. We didn’t get jobs for children in families where no one works(presuming child labor laws were enforced and upheld here). What we got were the cartoonish image of Republicans as hard-hearted brutes who hated poor kids. Way to go Newt.

    With Newt you get all the heat, but you don’t get the legislative victories. Sadly, American people, the Republican Congress, and the Democratic president(publically, at least) supported it. So when it came time to make vital changes to the welfare policy, Gingrich tried to scuttle them. he dennounced such provisions-the very heart of welfare reform–as, yes, “social engineering of the right” (e.g.Repulican Goverors Confrence, Willamsburg, Virginia, Nov.,22,1994).

    The guy who wanted orphanages for children on welfare suddenly called work requirements for adults on welfare right-wing “social engineering’. Gingrich also went on to lose every, single negotiation with Bill Clinton–and that was with solid Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. Perfectly good policies are constantly being undermined by Newt’s crazy statements–as his explanation that women couldn’t be in combat because they get infections, whereas men”are basically little piglets” who are “biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes”. With Gingrich we get the worst of all worlds. He talks abrasively-offending moderates and galvanizing liberals-but then doesn’t back anything up, including himself.

    Even when Gingrich doesn’t completely back off Conservative positions, his nutty rhetoric undermines the ability of Republicans to get anything done. It got so bad that by the time the 1996 RNC, Gingrich was so widely reviled that the Democrats’ main campaign strategy against all Republican candidates for office was to link them with Gingrich. The speaker was forced into a minor speaking role at conventions, which he used to promote…beach volleyball.

    So as Republicans were trying to defeat Clinton, he was talking about beach volleyball. It got so bad that after two years briefly, the Republicans House voted 395-28 to reprimand him and fine him 300.000 dollars for ethics violations(Senator Bob Doyle had to lend him the money in what was called the first instance of an airbag being saved by a person).

    He believes in experimentation on human embryos, cap and trade, policies to combat imaginary manmade global warming, an individual health insurance mandate, amnesty for illegal aliens, Al Gore’s bill to establish and “Office of Critical Trends Analysis” to prepare government reports on “alternative futures”(co-sponsored by Gingrich himself), and thinking he could get away with taking 1.6 million dollars from Freddie Mac without anyone noticing. During the ethics committee investigation, they found among Newts personal papers a sketch of himself as a stick figure at the center of the universe and notes in which he reminded himself to “allow expression of warm/smiling/softer side” during his public appearances.

    In fact, on another page he called himself “defender of civilization, teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who fan civilization, organizer of the pro-civilization activists, leader(possibly) of the civilizing forces”. This is not an a small-government conservative talking. It is not a conservative at all. And this is why people on your page or in messages were laughing or not taking what he said seriously at all. And I feel the same. There is SO much more when it comes to Newt. But this comment is long enough so I will spare the other sordid details.

    But Newt’s opinion doesn’t mean squat to me or any other GOP/Conservative-much less hardly anyone else other than maybe liberals at this point. So, I base my opinions on Mandela based off what I know, researched and feel myself. Not what our mouth pieces for our party have to say in defense or against him.


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