A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Monday, July 11, 2005

Julian Bond: Uniter or Schizophrenic?

The 96th Annual NAACP Convention is under way here in Milwaukee, and that's cool. Milwaukee has a large black community, and relations between black people and white people in this town has been strained at best of late. There is widespread distrust of the police by the black community, which has also been struggling with recent legal and ethical difficulties for many of the leaders of Milwaukee's minority residents.

All of which would make a good topic for the keynote address at the NAACP Convention being held here in Milwaukee, no? So, what does NAACP Chairman Julian Bond choose to focus on during Sunday's keynote address? Bashing Republicans in general and President Bush in particular.

Despite saying that, "Our values are American values. We value tolerance, we value inclusion, we believe in equality, we celebrate the worth of every human being," Bond blithely, and apparently without any thought or regard for the inherent contradiction went on to say:
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond bashed President Bush and other conservatives Sunday, warning they have tried to seduce black clergy, created "fraudulent" civil rights organizations and backed federal judicial nominees who come from a "dim and gloomy legal netherworld where few Americans wish to dwell."
Tolerant, inclusive, equal and celebrating the worth of every human being. Right. Of course, his comments are relatively tame compared to the ones he issued in 2001 at the 92nd Annual NAACP Convention. In that speech, he said of Bush's judicial choices that they came from "the Taliban wing of American politics." Great timing, as less than a year later Bush would be Commander in Chief over the incredibly successful effort to get rid of the actual Taliban. No doubt many of those in the Taliban were shipped back to the U.S. so Bush could nominate them for the Bench.

The irony is that Bond rips on Bush for claiming to be a uniter while actually being a divider--a claim I would generally agree with-- yet he is totally oblivious to the fact that his ridiculous rhethoric is a virtual mirror image of Bush's. Also ironic is Bond's continued claim that the NAACP is still non-partisan. Please. Perhaps it can become so again, but it is really, really hard to read Bond's screeds from '01 or '05, or many of his other published writings/addresses, and maintain any believe that there is no political partisanship there.

But whatever-- if that's where the NAACP wants to go, then go. But don't try to tell us you're mainstream, and don't be such hypocrites about the whole thing. To do so in the face of so much evidence to the contrary merely marginalizes what should be a vibrant and energetic agency for change in America.
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