December, 2013

The passing of Nelson Mandela Thursday, December 5th,  has caused the natural reflection upon his life from all corners as should be expected from a truly great leader. Clearly, Nelson Mandela was a changed human being from the time he entered prison in the 1960s until the time he was released 27 years later.

He took his leadership of the ANC from the darkness of terrorist activity and Marxist philosophy in his younger years to an all inclusive democracy and free market capitalist system, based on the English Magna Carta, the American Declaration of Independence, the French Rights of Man, and other enduring documents of Western democracy.  He lifted a whole nation up into the enlightenment of freedom, tolerance, and equality for all.

It was regrettable however, that he did not include in his democratic example, the curing of anti-Semitism which has seemed to grow after his rise, not diminish. But that is a subject for another essay.

Rachel Maddow, one of MSNBC’s line up of barely watched tv shows pulled the typical, left wing, post modern, Alinskyite, tactic of using 2013 sensibilities to condemn standard historical Cold War thinking after World War II. In her Friday broadcast after his death chose to condemn Ronald Reagan for his stance on Apartheid without taking into account the world during the cold war of the second half of the 20th century. According to Maddow’s editorial one gets the distinct impression that Reagan favored apartheid and did not want to see it abolished.

Reagan’s actual diaries paint a very different picture than Rachel Maddow does on her broadcast.

March 30, 1983:

“Pres. Kaunda of Zambia arrived. A good meeting & lunch. I think he feels good about the trip. We made clear we detest Apartheid but believe we can do better with S. Africa by persuasion—“

Maddow condemns Reagan for opposing divestment even though the ANC, (African National Congress), the accepted black opposition to Apartheid here in America, and therefore in favor of divestment, engaged in terrorist activities, were Marxist in ideology and outright murdered blacks who opposed them and their ideas.

Bombings in the 1980s killed civilians both white and black, Church Street, the Natal South Coast, the  Durban beach-front, the Johannesburg courthouse, the Roodepoort bank, Ellis Park Rugby Stadium, and a favorite of the South African terrorist, Wimpy Bar fast food restaurants and supermarkets all through the 1980s. Innocent men, women and children died and were badly maimed in these attacks.

Maddow is old enough to remember, but makes no mention of “the necklace” torture in her comments. The victim is bound inside a ring of several tires which are then set ablaze. It’s a pretty horrible death.  The ANC used this to punish those who disagreed with ANC decisions and tactics. Mandela’s own wife at the time, Winnie, was famous for publically supporting the practice.

This all happened in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. Abhorring Apartheid and disgust over ANC terrorism, Reagan insisted that his back channel moves were the best way to improve the station of blacks rather than the bloody revolution advocated by the ANC.

Before al-Queda and 9-11 in the 1980s the world maturing itself to the rise of terror against free peoples everywhere, Israel, Sri Lanka, Northern Island, and our own dealings with TWA flight 847 in  1985, and Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, Ronald Reagan was not about to bow to that same terror by giving into divestment even though most of Congress did not have the same courage to stand against it.

Of course, the Rachel Maddow’s of the world celebrated divestment as the only way to end Apartheid.

Reagan wrote on Friday, July 26, 1985:

“We’ve quietly influenced the S.A. G. (South African government) to a number of changes benefitting Blacks. Now our Congress yielding to demonstrations, etc. is debating legislation to impose sanctions on S.A. Govt (the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986). We’re opposed. It isn’t a solution to the problem of apartheid & it will hurt the very Blacks we’re trying to help.”

Maddow, gleefully recalled Congress’s overriding Reagan’s veto of the bill, but says nothing of the President’s real feelings on the matter. This is Maddow’s “a ha” moment wanting her audience to get her “truth” that Reagan was a racist for opposing divestment. But, the real Ronald Reagan lamented the override for reasons much different from Maddow’s accusations.

October 2, 1986:

“I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Punitive sanctions, I believe, are not the best course of action; they hurt the very people they are intended to help. My hope is that these punitive sanctions do not lead to more violence and more repression. Our administration will, nevertheless, implement the law. It must be recognized, however, that this will not solve the serious problems that plague that country. The United States must also move forward with positive measures to encourage peaceful change and advance the cause of democracy in South Africa.”

Reagan’s worries were not unfounded. Sadly his worst fears about American compliance with the ANCs demands for divestment that Maddow openly applauded produced the exact bloodshed the President  wrote about above. Most of the terror of the 1980s upticked after the passing of the U.S. divestment bill. The particular attacks named above with the exception of the Church Street bombing all happened after 1986.

Of course, Maddow never brings any of this to the attention of her viewers. Thanks to Rachel Maddow once again we are left with a distorted view of history on MSNBC.

What guided Ronald Reagan’s politics was doing the right thing. Apparently, what guides Rachel Maddow’s is vindictive culpability.  If Reagan had been alive today he would have embraced Mandela and the kind of country he built during his presidency. He would have praised him for rising above the poor choices made earlier in his life and would have walked arm in arm with him as he worked with the white leadership of South Africa to end the Apartheid system. Something Ronald Reagan would have never done in the 1960s.

Can we say the same for Rachel Maddow?

It’s a good thing we still have freedom of speech in this country so we can see what Maddow’s really thinking. She could learn a lesson or two from the magnanimity of both Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan, don’t you think?

Jewish community examiner

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