Posted: Jul 13, 2001 12:00 AM
During a recent speech, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond compared some of President Bush's appointees to the Taliban, proving yet again that the NAACP's concern for bloodying their perceived enemies is greater than their concern for improving the quality of life in America. The president has "selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen cabinet officials whose devotion to confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection," said Bond before 2,000 attendees at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. A brief recap: The group that Mr. Bond was comparing our president to - The Taliban - is a quasi-religious ruling faction in Afghanistan that employs several vague moral statutes to repress individual rights and maintain their ruling structure. That is to say, they use religious dogma as an instrument of political tyranny. President Bush, on the other hand, believes in decentralizing federal authority so individuals can make the most of their individual freedoms. Needless to say, any comparisons to the Taliban are misplaced. In terms of the professed goals of the NAACP - redressing discrimination - the president supports increased opportunities for self-help, rather than blankly affixing victim status to the needy. As Justice Thomas put it during his own Senate confirmation hearing: "the [rights] revolution missed a larger point by merely changing their [blacks, poor, others] status from invisible to victimized." Thomas concluded, "Minorities and the poor are humans - capable of dignity as well as shame, folly as well as success. We should be treated as such." This Lincolnian theme of personal accountability also runs through much of President Bush's domestic policies and really ought to make the ally of any group concerned with the true ideal of human equality. Nonetheless, the liberal elites in the NAACP are determined to portray the president as anti-minority and anti-poor. Most recently, this supposedly nonpartisan group drew upon the reports of voter irregularities in the presidential election to stir racial tensions. By giving ethnic groups, who already feel marginalized, something to pump their fists at, the NAACP has worked to sew the sort of racial distrust that will pay big dividends for the Democrats in the next election. For obvious reasons, these NAACP leaders - our racial torchbearers in the dark - never discussed how common these voting irregularities are, or that such irregularities stretch across ethnic barriers. (The uncommon element was not that there were voting irregularities, but that the election was so close that they mattered). Nor do officials from the NAACP even place these voter irregularities in their proper political context - opting instead to turn a political issue into a racial circus. While reading over Mr. Bond's recent remarks, it occurs that there are areas where the NAACP could be usefully engaged: job discrimination, police brutality, racial profiling, and the crime epidemic in black communities and the countless other issues that might actually affect change in the racial landscape. Sadly, the NAACP's current leadership is more interested in bloodying the president than in partnering with him to help move this country beyond the initial steps it took with the civil rights legislation of the '60s. For the NAACP, the point is not to help blacks, but rather to hurt Republicans. So they pump their fists and wag their fingers and compare the president to the Taliban. Others follow along because, well, racism still exists in this country. Lost in the hubbub is the broader implication: In the '60s, this sort of vitriolic rage helped push racial concerns into the mainstream. In the year 2001, it prevents us from moving beyond those initial steps and huddling together not as blacks and whites, but as Americans.