Friday, December 06, 2013
A hero for the ages has passed away.
He touched the lives of many, and served as a shining example of heroism and integrity for the rest of us.
However at the same time I was sickened by those on the Right Wing who are crawling out of the woodwork to get a little reflected glory by claiming to have been inspired by him, when in fact they were anything but.
This from Right Wing Watch:The news today of Nelson Mandela’s passing is also time to reflect on the complicated relationship between Mandela and his anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) with the US, which did not always support the anti-apartheid struggle. In fact, American conservatives lobbied the federal government in the 1980s to withhold support from the anti-apartheid movement.
President Reagan added the ANC to the US terrorism watch list, a designation not removed until 2008, and unsuccessfully vetoed sanctions against the apartheid regime. Many Republican lawmakers did break with the Reagan administration’s stance, but “all 21 [Senate] votes to sustain the veto were cast by Republicans.”
Mandela faced criticism from Republican leaders including Dick Cheney, who described Mandela’s ANC as a “terrorist organization,” and Jesse Helms, who “turned his back during Mandela’s visit to the U.S. Capitol.” Even in 1998, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly lumped Mandela together with notorious dictators.
The late Jerry Falwell urged [PDF] his supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime. “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”
“South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations,” Falwell continued.
Ronald Reagan, those on the Religious Right, and the conservatives supported apartheid until the very last second, and only changed positions when it was no longer politically feasible to do anything else.
Dick Cheney even defended his vote labeling Mandela a terrorist:
“The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago.''
And even today, while most of the media is fawning over the memory of this great leader, those on the Right can barely contain their disgust.
“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!”
And if a conservative makes the mistake of issuing a statement in support of Mandela, without also calling him a terrorist or Marxist, well then you learn the same hard lesson that Ted Cruz just learned:
I mean sure, if he had been white and a capitalist, but he was the wrong color and the wrong political ideology.