Apartheid Amnesia

Let’s pretend you are a rightie. And like most righties, you have a documented history of supporting every regressive, backward, oppressive, and bigoted idea or movement that has trotted down the street over the past several years.

Now let’s say someone who is admired around the world for upholding values like freedom that you pretend to support also has died. But you are on record as trashing the guy. What do you do?

Let the Wall Street Journal show us the way. (Via)

You can’t make this up. Peter Beinart:

Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of “terrorist” groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail. In 2004, after Mandela criticized the Iraq War, an article in National Review said his “vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.” As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list, thus requiring the 89-year-old Mandela to receive a special waiver from the secretary of State to visit the U.S.

Also too, let it not be forgotten that Saint Ronald of Blessed Memory strove mightily to undermine Nelson Mandela’s work:

Ronald Reagan was angry. It was October 1986, and his veto against the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act had just been overridden — and by a Republican-controlled Senate, at that.

He had appeared on TV a month earlier to warn Americans against the Anti-Apartheid Act, decrying it as “immoral” and “utterly repugnant.” Congress disagreed, and one month later, it produced the two-thirds majority needed to override Reagan and pass tough new measures against South Africa’s apartheid government. These measures included a ban on bank loans and new investments in South Africa, a sharp reduction of imports, and prevented most South African officials from traveling to the United States. The Act also called for the repeal of apartheid laws and the release of political prisoners like African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela, who had spent the last 23 years prison.

But if you really want to see the dark heart of American conservatism, check out some of the comments on Ted Cruz’s facebook page. See also Steve M’s collection of right-wing tweets.

11 thoughts on “Apartheid Amnesia

  1. I forget the detailed history, but of course, NM actually was a communist in his youth, and the ANC did (not very surprisingly) sponsor violence for a time during Apartheid days.

    Back when the PLO was Marxist and getting its help from the Soviet Union.

    Neither the PLO nor the ANC is Marxist, now, that I am aware, though individual members may have whatever opinions.

    And NM decided to give all that a back seat to majority rule and social peace, sometime during his imprisonment, apparently.

    And played an absolutely crucial role in enabling that transition.

    • Philo — My understanding is that Mandela’s African National Congress worked with the South African Communist Party toward the common goal of ending apartheid, but to say that he was a communist himself is overstating the case. Of course (1) even if he were, it hardly matters now; and (2) in the United States at one time to be the second cousin of the wife of a barber who may have cut Julius Rosenberg’s hair was proof you were a communist sympathizer. Righties are big on guilt by association.

  2. I’m not surprised at the reactions of the right.
    Nelson Mandela is, after all, a “Blah” man.

    Our Reich-Wingers want to return to pre-mid-1960’s Apartheid America.
    But mostly, since MLK JR’s been dead for 45 years, our Reich-Wingers now they can revel in the death of another “Blah” man, who brought about change non-violently.
    And they hate non-violence, since they prefer wars – or, more specifically, wars they don’t have to fight in.

  3. “The whites are entitled, we believe, to preeminence in South Africa.” -National Review editorial, 1960.

  4. Why is Peter Beinart’s name sullying my computer screen?

    His idiotic little book provided desperately needed political cover to all sorts of scurrying liberal interventionists back in the days when maybe, just maybe, we might have been able to stop that obvious disaster of a war in Iraq.

    Screw him and his pathetic attempts to claw his way back to legitimacy.

    • Why is Peter Beinart’s name sullying my computer screen?

      Why is your name sullying mine?

      I realize Beinart has written a lot of really stupid things. And I could go on a long rant about how it is over-educated young white men have such an easy time getting opinion writing gigs when they don’t know what they’re talking about. But in this particular case, Beinart makes some good points.

      So take your negativity and stuff it. Thanks much.

  5. I guess I have to give the righties some credit for consistency in their beliefs, even if it means they are smudging this historical moment with some of their hateful bleating. But without Mandel, his choices and his personal qualities, southern Africa would have devolved into a uncontrolled, horrific bloodbath and would quite likely still remain one.

    I feel privileged to have shared the planet during his lifetime.

  6. South Africa is still pretty much a blood bath. Not in Rwandian proportions but it has one of the highest murder rates in the world, even greater than yours truly. While N M should be exalted for his accomplishments and his addition to peace, the parallel between SA apartheid and southern slavery is obvious. If you oppress people for long periods of time and then expect equality, it will be a long time coming. And also, Dick Cheney is just an evil, evil man. What sane person didn’t see that the Marxism NM embraced in an attempted over throw of an awful repressive regime was not the same Marxist reality of the USSR. But for the simple minded, it was all the same.

  7. I have a word… or 2 about the -ism wars. (The inspiration was the wingnut cracks about Mandella which disregard what he did, but try to cubbyhole the legacy with an ‘-ism’. Y’know ‘communism’, ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, ‘marxism’, ‘fascism’ . Throw in ‘terrorism’ because it’s a label that’s frequently thrown out to discredit the opposition, just as the others are.

    The PC (personal computer) revolution was fueled by capitalism. The ‘capitalists’ at the heart of the PC movement were at war with the old-school capitalists who had previously and aggressively promoted proprietary systems. The old capitalists did not want IBM devices to work with Wang monitors or anything to work with HP computers (except HP stuff). Anyhow, a new model of standardization brought about a complete change in how things are done.

    On the other hand, GPS and the Internet are government projects – as much the product of ‘socialism’ as the PC is the result of ‘capitalism’. Hmmmmm. The rise of Germany, post-WWI to the early stages of WWII, is in strictly economic terms a tribute to the efficiency of fascism. It would be just as easy to discredit each of the ‘-sims’ with examples of their failures. Aaarghhhh! If the ‘-isms’ can not be ascribed to strictly good or evil motives, methods or results, how can one decide which to support…. and which to reject? A metaphor, OK?

    Over the last 4 months I’ve been doing a lot of mechanical work (on my gryoplane – which is a different subject.) Whether working on the rotorhead or the main gear or the fuel system – the task defines the tool. A wrench won’t do what calipers do. A screw driver is not a drill. The objective defines the tool to do the job. When capitalism is the best tool, fine. When capitalism can’t do the job, that does not invalidate the need to get the job done – just use socialism. In all cases, let the objective lead to the design, and the design will tell you the tool.

  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid_in_South_Africa

    Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to refresh memories…Whether them right-tards think it’s important to negatively label Mandela or not. Maybe they should look at the monster that he fought against.

    Menachem Begin was considered a terrorist also, but you’d never know it by the status given to him by the American government.

  9. I think the dividing line between good and evil becomes pretty clear with how one views the late Mandela. (Not as saint versus sinner, but as force for good versus force for evil.) I am surprised, however, that even one Mandela-hating reptile would awaken and crawl from under his cozy rock to bother commenting here. And her heel shall crush his head, as it ever was and shall be.

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