History Month in Bush's America
January 22, 2003
By Christian Dewar
George W. Bush appeared with the widow of the great civil
rights leader Martin Luther King last year to declare him
an American hero. Bush also appeared at the requisite photo-ops
for Black History Month to demonstrate his solidarity with
the nation's blacks. The issue is whether he is sincere in
his support for minorities or whether his is putting a soft
and fuzzy face on the hard-right policy of covert racism.
Even a cursory examination of his record reveals a cynical
effort to pander to minorites as he turns back the clock on
efforts to achieve equality. Martin Luther King must be rolling
over in his grave at the hypocrisy of this administration.
According to a report last year by the Citizen's Commission
on Civil Rights, the trend in Bush's America is now towards
resegregation. This has been once again revealed in his renomination
of Pickering for the federal bench. This is a man who wrote
law review articles suggesting pro-segregation legislation.
He also intervened in a case before the court in an effort
to have the sentence reduced for a man who burned a cross
and fired shots into the house of a mixed-marriage couple.
According to the Commission, progress towards promoting women
and minorities has been reversed. One member claimed that
Bush's policies amount to a "sham." In Florida,
Jeb Bush has worked diligently to dismantle affirmitive action.
When asked by a black woman what he would do for African Americans
if elected to office, Jeb responded, "Probably nothing."
Dubya's antipathy towards blacks goes back a long way. According
to author J.H. Hatfield in his book, Fortunate Son,
Bush was behind the Willie Horton smear campaign along with
Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. This was an attempt to portray
presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as the architect of
a furlough program which would release black criminals into
society to kidnap and murder. Never mind that the furlough
program was instituted by his Republican predecessor, this
was a blatant attempt to play to the bigots and racists in
order to get votes.
As governor of Texas, Bush refused to sign the hate crimes
legislation named after James Brady, the black man dragged
behind a pickup truck by neo-nazis. Bush also refused to pardon
Kevin Boyd, a black man who had had been proven innocent of
rape by DNA tests. Although the district attorney and the
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles wanted to free him, Bush
refused to do so "until all other legal remedies have been
In an effort to win the votes of southern racists, Bush appeared
at Bob Jones University, a school that had at one time refused
federal funding so it could continue to exclude blacks. When
they were admitted, a policy of forbidding inter-racial dating
was instituted. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could
not have dated his wife (who is white) if he had attended
the school. The founder of the college was also anti-Catholic,
calling the religion satanism, and the pope the anti-Christ.
(What could Anton Scalia think of this?) Bush's attorney general
Ashcroft received an honorary degree from the school, and
the head of the DEA, Asa Hutchinson, graduated from Bob Jones
Bush also has ties to apologists for the antebellum South
and slavery policies such as the magazine Southern Partisan,
which has a very strong bias against minorities, and the Council
of Conservative Citizens, which has been described as an uptown
Ku Klux Klan. Bush never took a stand on whether states should
fly the Confederate "Stars and Bars" over government
buildings, despite it being perceived as a symbol of slavery
for the nation's blacks.
As manager of the Texas Rangers, Bush came under criticism
from the NAACP for not granting more work to black contractors
on construction of the new stadium and for not granting them
more jobs in the concessions. Bush was slow to fire those
contractors that had fraudulently represented themselves as
minority businesses. Bush eventually hired a black P.R. firm
to rehabilitate his image among blacks when he ran for office.
It has been said that Bush preaches inclusion but practices
The most telling example of Bush's true attitude about minorities
concerns the intentional disenfranchisement of non-white voters
during the last presidential election. Senate Majority Leader
Bill Frist, the man who replaced racist Trent Lott and who
has a similarly dismal voting record on civil rights legislation,
is thought to have assisted in this effort. The book, Jews
for Buchanan documents the effort of his campaign to reinstitute
Jim Crow voting practices. Black votes were supressed by the
use of faulty voting machines in predominantly minority neighborhoods,
purging from voter lists of innocent people wrongly labeled
as felons, faulty ballots, the relocation of voting centers
shortly before the election without announcement, police roadblocks
near the precincts to intimidate and harass blacks and the
lack of computers to verify voter credentials at minority
neighborhood polling centers.
Blacks and Hispanics have not fared well, despite the intense
P.R. effort. Bush attempted to locate a nuclear waste dump
close to a predominately Hispanic town near the border with
Mexico where toxic waste could have leaked into the Rio Grande,
a source of water for thousands of people and livestock. More
Hispanics and Blacks live in poverty without health care than
in any other state and his education policies have been a
sham. Molly Ivins and reporters at the Texas Observer have
been covering the covert racism of the Bush family for years.
And while Bush is doing his best to dismantle Roe v. Wade
and ban abortions, his family historically has backed eugenics
programs which advocate selective breeding of traits to improve
the gene pool (read, blond, blue-eyed caucasians.) A search
engine such as google.com will reveal a significant amount
of data on the Bush's involvement with this debunked pseudo-science.
As the cynical father of J.C. Watts commented, "A black voting
for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."