It's not about civil rights - it's about power

By Lisa S. Dean
web posted January 8, 2001

When Bill Clinton came into office nearly eight years ago, having won big in the minority communities, he made a big thing about how he was going to have an Administration that would "look like America". The civil rights crowd cheered even though he produced a cabinet which was not very "diverse," to use the term that the affirmative action types insist upon. But Bill Clinton, who some black leaders said was America's first black President, got the stamp of approval from the these self-appointed minority leaders.

Now comes George W. Bush. He did poorly with the minority vote in his campaign. Blacks especially gave Bush two-and-a-half times less nationally than Jesse Helms gets on average in North Carolina. Yet Bush appoints several blacks and Hispanics to his cabinet. Does the civil rights crowd applaud this? Do they compare Bush favorably with Clinton and suggest that Bush has really outdone their favorite President with his high-level minority appointments? Not a word. On the contrary, there is outrage being expressed in some quarters among these self-appointed civil rights leaders as if the blacks Bush has appointed are not authentic because they don't come with the stamp of approval of the NAACP and its coalition.

So now we at last can see this fight for what it really is. It is not about civil rights. It is not about blacks. It is not about Hispanics. Or Asians. Or any other minorities. It is about power. The civil rights coalition doesn't want blacks in office. They want their blacks in office. The problem that George W. Bush has is that the blacks he has appointed don't genuflect before Jesse Jackson. Ironically, Colin Powell caused one of the few divisions in the party by insisting that he be allowed to plug affirmative action and abortion rights when he addressed convention delegates. But because these issues aren't so high on Powell's priority list, he is willing to be a part of an Administration which largely reflects opposition to both of those views.

Colin PowellPowell just isn't good enough for the Civil Rights Coalition. Furthermore, Powell preaches to everyone who will listen that he is an example of the American dream. Jesse Jackson insists that blacks are so victimized that it is not possible for them to achieve the American dream. So, Powell just doesn't cut it. Nor do any of the others who are, at least in some views, to the right of Powell. In any case, none of them believes in the victimization nonsense peddled by Jackson and his cronies at the Civil Rights Coalition.

All of Bush's appointees agree with his view that we must usher in an era of personal responsibility in America. And the notion that people are not responsible for their own actions but are the victims of racism, and sexism and so on just must be turned on its head. Oh, and by the way, Bush has appointed some very able women to his cabinet as well.

We all owe President-elect Bush a great debt of gratitude. Just simply by making his choices for his inner circle, he has shown his opponents to be the greatest of hypocrites.

Bush is going after real diversity. They want phony diversity based on political correctness. Bush wants real results. The civil rights crowd wants only power. They don't care if the problems get solved. Indeed if they do, there might be less of a need for them. All the more reason not to appoint people who will go after the problems and really do something about them. Bush has appointed a team who, at the end of the day, will likely try to achieve something. To the civil rights crowd, that is the scariest outcome they could imagine. ESR

Lisa Dean is Vice President for Technology Policy at the Free Congress Foundation.

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