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Confederate Uprising in the 21st Century
(Written January 31, 2001)

It's funny how events tend to repeat themselves if people don't learn from the past.

More than one hundred years after the end of the Civil War, the United States finds its most powerful political offices controlled by Confederates.  In George W. Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Senate Majority leader Trent Lott, we have three men who have either gone on record as supporting Confederate ideals (Lott, Ashcroft) or have appealed to Confederate-leaning institutions for support while trying to avoid openly embracing them (Bush's trip to Bob Jones University).

But the Confederate connection in the Bush administration doesn't end there.  Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton complained that the United States had gone too far in defeating the concept of "state's rights" that was the primary Confederate justification for slavery.  The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, got national attention after being photographed beaming at the site of a black man being arrested by a police officer on whose patrol she was joyriding, an image that must have been comforting to those who believe the Negroes are getting out of control and need to be put in check.

How did things get like this?  After all, the memory of the 1960s, with its unabashed calls for social equality, is still a source of inspiration for many.

Well, over the last thirty years conservatives ran a brilliant campaign to change the country's political environment, with Richard Nixon dropping phrases like "reverse racism" to describe affirmative action and other civil rights issues.   Their movement reached a turning point with the election of Ronald Reagan, who promptly began cutting social programs and raised the intensity of the War on Drugs that is now seen by many as a way to imprison people of color.

By the 1990s, the landscape had been sufficiently altered to the point where "new Democrats" like Bill Clinton brought the hardcore conservative vision closer to the mainstream by endorsing welfare reform, lashing out at black cultural figures like Jesse Jackson, implementing a philosophy of "zero tolerance" and increasing the number of federally punishable offenses, all of which disproportionally affected black people. 

Now, emboldened by their theft of the presidential election, the conservative Confederate revolution is complete and the stage is set for years of offically sanctioned intolerance.

The amount of power that the Confederates have was represented during Ashcroft's confirmation process, where Democrats wilted under pressure and posed no serious challenges to Ashcroft, ignoring their earlier promises and the fact that Ashcroft lied several times while testisfying.  I believe it was Orrin Hatch who called it correctly when he said the Democrats lacked the guts to really do anything to stop their agenda.  While the Confederates doggedly pursue their interests, so-called liberals are unable to stick by their principles. 

If one needs another historical reminder, recall that it was "well-intentioned" members of the government who disapproved of slavery but caved in to the slaveholding south at every turn, and we know how that ended up.

There is a reason why blacks voted 90% against Bush and his agenda.   We're hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

Copyright 2001 Anthony Lamar Rucker.  All rights reserved. 

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