New Civil Rights Movement contributor Clinton Fein, who was born and grew up in South Africa under apartheid, shares his thoughts on todayâ€™s passing of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is dead.
Millions of people are weeping today, me among them.
The world has lost a man who had become a living legend, respected, admired and loved in a way that no other figure, political or otherwise, comes to mind. Across the globe.
Nelson Mandela is ours. He is a man of the people. He belongs to us. At least that’s how it feels. And why, in his final days, there was so much tension around the coverage of his illness. The barrage of media presence was a constant reminder that the worst might be true. Unscrupulous behavior fashioned around who might be first to break the inevitable story. But their massive presence also a solemn recognition of Mr. Mandela’s global stature.
â€œThe media are here to support us,â€Â Gerald Moshe, a student told the New York Times. â€œThey have come from overseas to cry with us and support us in this difficult moment.â€
For millions of South Africans, whether living in South Africa or abroad, black or white, Nelson Mandela represents the highest aspiration of what South Africa is. In him and through him, we see ourselves at our very best. Through him, we shine.
Our desire to believe that we can move forward with the capacity for forgiveness in our hearts for the transgressions of others; at peace and forgiven for our own transgressions; and in appreciation for humanity that transcends race, gender, orientation, social status, and privilege.
Nelson Mandela was that special enough, one-in-a-billion personality that comes along and shows us what true greatness looks like in the embodiment of a human being.
Other than some of the hard-core, still-existing racists, most South Africans among us, who grew up in the age of Apartheid, feel his strong, powerful resilience that one, to some extent, feels at liberty to claim as one’s own. It’s a South African thing. Not in the context of nationalism though. Apartheid didn’t inspire nationalism for most of the population — other than its architects.
In one of the many email chain-letters sent among South Africans joking about how you know youâ€™re a South African, is the one that you know someone who knows someone who met Nelson Mandela. That alone may provide some insight as to why it seemed so difficult to let a 95-year old man go. So much external goodwill and self-identityÂ is tied up in the perception of the man.
For any South African who grew up during Apartheid, there are two distinct ages. Thereâ€™s Apartheid, and Post-Apartheid. Nelson Mandela became the miracle. His release from prison after twenty-seven years signaled the end of Apartheid perhaps even more than his election as President. Our lives changed the day he was released, and are inextricably intertwined. It’s like that for all South Africans really.
In order to explain Mandela as the phenomenon he is — this revered and adored â€œeveryman Superman” — one has to view it through the lens of personal experience. What he means to South African blacks as a liberator is different to what he means to whites. Or other meaningless racial classifications that once meant something dangerously real in South Africa.
In Apartheid South Africa, separation existed on multiple levels. Whites were primarily divided into English speaking whites and Afrikaans speaking whites, which were the two national languages of South Africa. Learning both was mandatory at school. Afrikaners dominated the Apartheid government, but English was the more global language, and although there was a certain amount of animosity between English and Afrikaans, language barriers paled by comparison to the racial barriers.
And as much as I wish it were different, Apartheid is still too fresh in our history to conflate the experience of Nelson Mandela collectively without sounding like a fraud. Apartheid saw to it that everything from education to social participation was separate.
Growing up as an affluent white South African Jew was aÂ startlingly different experience for me than it was for Â Hector Pieterson, who was shot and killed protesting on June 16, 1976, and whose death precipitated the Soweto Riots when we were both 12 years-old. The effects of one’s upbringingÂ are not erased overnight. But Nelson Mandela, without doubt, liberated white South Africa from the yoke of Apartheid too.
For many of us who grew up white during Apartheid, our interactions with blacks are embarrassing to articulate. Most white South African children had significant interaction with their familyâ€™s â€œdomestic servantsâ€ who were black. Almost every white household had at least one live-in maid and often two maids and a gardener or â€œhouseboyâ€. (The term â€œboyâ€ or â€œgirlâ€ was frequently used to describe â€œdomestic servantsâ€ regardless of their age, and was considered far less offensive than many of the other terms used at the time).
Live-in maids didnâ€™t quite live-in either. The â€œservantsâ€™ quartersâ€ were very seldom part of the main house, but rather stand-alone rooms and bathroom accessible only through the kitchen. Maybe, on occasion, you might get to interact with your maidâ€™s children, who might have come to visit on holidays, perhaps once or twice a year if your parents were “kind” enough to permit it.
Although there was a lot of interaction with blacks, it was in the context of their day-to-day work. Blacks would be bagging groceries, filling cars with gas, working on street repairs, mowing lawns or making deliveries. Relationships were illegal. Friendships almost impossible.
So without it sounding hokey or offensive, Mr. Mandelaâ€™s release and subsequent rise to lead South Africa represented liberation for whites too. Mr. Mandela was able to make whites feel okay for their inaction if not their active participation in Apartheid; even though they were the direct recipients of the fruits it yielded. Mr. Mandela understood how Apartheid worked far more deeply than those upon who it was foisted, and designed to mislead rather than oppress.
The propaganda of Apartheid ran deep. The governmentâ€™s execution of Apartheid was far too cunning to allow one to realize they were being controlled. Certain things were explicitly, if not proudly, banned, like pornography and adult materials, but history was taught from a white racist perspective and in essence suggested that blacks were savages and unreceptive to white infiltration â€“ or rather civilized Christian society â€“ that they owed whites an enormous amount of gratitude and were forever beholden to them.
â€œLiberal schoolsâ€ managed to sneak in books like Chinua Achebeâ€™s Things Fall Apart, probably because they missed the message. You didn’t question how it was that you had black labor performing menial tasks at home. You were led to believe that providing jobs and housing to â€œthese peopleâ€ was virtuous and another example of how superior, good and decent whites were. From a sound Judeo-Christian standpoint, naturally.
One never realized the extent to which we were being controlled by the government. Or how much one didnâ€™t know. Or that one didnâ€™t know at all. And one certainly didnâ€™t ask questions. Even if you knew instinctively that there were even questions to be asked. Somewhere in the recesses of your mind, you knew something was amiss.
The government, with a heavy-handed force, controlled all media. All media was thus local media and was transmitted through the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which itself was the only broadcaster allowed to transmit news over radio or television, and which was really nothing more than a propaganda machine for the Apartheid regime.
Although there was quite a bit of underground or alternative journalism going on, life for those journalists was dangerous and unpredictable, and their work not really accessible to the mainstream. The government, using its extraordinary power declared that the presence of journalists — and cameras especially — was directly responsible for the inciting of riots and so most areas of civil unrest were declared off-limits to the press so that the government could control the images that were being broadcast around the world.
Many journalists were detained, often without a trial, which was one of the benefits of declaring a State of Emergency, which happened in 1985 — soon before I left South Africa.
It was impossible to not be affected by Apartheid. The privilege I enjoyed as a white person; the deprivation of any friendship or meaningful relationships with black people; the incessant force-fed diet of controlled misinformation that was designed to instill notions of white superiority; the deep rooted fear that police and government inspired; the deliberate robbing of my ability to think for myself and make my own choices; the decision to leave South Africa rather than be forced to go into the townships and kill other South Africans. So much of who I am today, and what I do is directly attributable to or shaped by Apartheid.
In a remarkable speech Mr. Mandela made as President honoring Steve Biko in September 1997, he used the opportunity to steer a conversation about the Black Consciousness Movement into a broader challenge aimed at internalizing forgiveness and compassion by transforming it into a humanitarian focus without losing or compromising racial identity. Yet cautioning against the potential to mirror Afrikaner nationalism.
â€œWhile Steve Biko espoused, inspired, and promoted black pride, he never made blackness a fetish. At the end of the day, as he himself pointed out, accepting one’s blackness is a critical starting point: an important foundation for engaging in struggle. Today, it must be a foundation for reconstruction and development, for a common human effort to end war, poverty, ignorance and disease.â€
â€œIt means working together, government in each sphere and all sectors from society, in bringing prosperity to the province, the country and the continent which spawned him. It means all of us helping to take South Africa across the threshold of greatness on which it stands. That will be achieved by each of us respecting ourselves first and foremost, and in turn respecting the humanity in each one of us. It means an attitude of mind and a way of life that appreciates the joy in the honest labor of creating a new society. In time, we must bestow on South Africa the greatest gift – a more humane society.”
The violence of the transition and the mistakes that were made, including some by Mr. Mandela, are lost to history for the most part. The painful process of the Mandela government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also a remarkable and cathartic exercise in closure and forgiveness. Unlike America’s refusal to acknowledge its transgressions, South Africa was empowered to indeed “look forward” because she had bothered to look back. And to learn and grow from her sins, rather than be doomed to repeat them.
Through Mr. Mandela’s government, the transition was about acknowledgement rather than blame. As he met with those who hated him, and smiled and extended the hand of friendship to those who were scared of him, the pain and the fear, and the anger and the bitterness subsided. Some of his actions are now legendary.
He had tea with 94-year old Betsie Verwoerd, whose husband — considered the architect of Apartheid — had jailed him in 1963, where he remained imprisoned for 27 years. And remembered her warmly when she died.
Despite the crap offered up in Hollywood’s Invictus, Mr. Mandela’s embrace of the Springboks did indeed unite the country in an amazing way.
Through the actions and attitude and behavior of one man, he moved mountains and reshaped attitudes wherever he went and whenever he spoke. It is difficult to express just how powerful that is. To South Africans Nelson Mandela represented their highest aspirations. And to some extent, he always will.
I asked my friends to try and articulate what it is about Mr. Mandela that was so magical, and whether it would live on after he died. And as expected, there is a reverence that is difficult for words to convey.
â€œHe’s a legend. He’s superhuman. How do you do justice to that? Simply by covering his history, one can try understand his greatness,â€ wrote Kim Gardi Abelman from Columbus, Ohio.
Guy Miller, who got to shake his hand in a chance meeting in a gym on a quiet Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg wrote from Australia: â€œAs with Ghandi and Martin Luther King we felt the impact of Nelson Mandela a leader of immense proportions. Not many leaders change the landscape so deeply without resorting to force. He extended the hand of peace to those who incarcerated him, he spoke to those who did not wish to speak to him, he reached out through gestures that always surprised us and endeared us to him. A little humility goes a long way but in Mandela’s case he has it by the truck loads.â€
Debbie Helman wrote from Netanya, Israel about the time she reached over three bodyguards at a mall in Cape Town to shake his hand when she chanced upon him, and didnâ€™t wash her hands for days but cherishes the â€œfive brief personal seconds with the man himself.â€
Tracey Posniak Ellison from Miami, USA was working with the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa in 2005 and got to attend a talk he gave in Cape Town. â€œThe entire audience was awed…..humbled…and painfully aware of frail he looked then already. But when he spoke, his voice had the strength of a leader who could unite a nation divided.â€
People who saw him were as moved by the experience as those who met him. “He had messianic moral force. His jailers couldn’t help admiring and befriending him,” wrote my friend, Gary van Wyk, who actively fought against Apartheid and was forced to flee South Africa and live in exile. Today, a renowned art historian and co-owner of New Yorkâ€™s Axis Gallery, his personal encounter with Mandela speaks to the respect and dignity he inspired (and Gary’s gracious offer of solitude): â€œOnce, (it must have been before he became President) I had just checked in for an international flight and saw Mandela resting on a bench in a corner, with one or two attendants. He looked so tired, and having a private moment, that I resisted going to shake his hand. His humanity had always been obvious, even when his face and words were banned. At that moment I saw his human frailty to which mortality is the terminus.â€
And human he was. A few years ago, to my forever jealous consternation, my sister, Candice, who co-runs Feed SA, an organization in South Africa dedicated to feeding and clothing the less fortunate, got to go meet him at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. In a typically South African fashion, or perhaps typical Candice style, she told him how much he meant to her and what a â€œstunning energyâ€ he had, and naturally asked if he would mind if she had a photo taken with him. He didnâ€™t mind having photos with pretty girls was his playful response, as is evidenced in the photo below. (Contrast this image with the Â controversy earlier this year over the unsmiling, frail and tired photos of Mr. Mandela with Jacob Zuma that resulted in accusations that the ANC were exploiting him.)
Mandela was a teacher. Patrick Matanjana “Bra Pat” was a prisoner for twenty years on Robben Island along with Mr. Mandela, who became a tour guide once the prison was turned into a museum. After a guided tour of the island on one of my visits back to South Africa, I had a chance to have a discussion with Patrick. He had been imprisoned at the age of 19 for â€œterrorist activitiesâ€.
I told him that what struck me as the most remarkable was that both he and Mandela appeared not to be bitter, despite all they had gone through, and wondered how he was able to stomach giving tours to people like me.
He remarked that one of the things he had learned was that when you are faced with oppression and dedicate your life to overturning the system that fosters it, you have to be able to move beyond making the same mistakes, or simply turning the tables. That to successfully end oppression, one has to consider the plight of the oppressor as much as the plight of the oppressed. To that end, education was the most sustaining life force on the island, and he and his comrades or fellow prisoners ended up teaching their wardens â€“ the same people who were in essence censoring their letters and thwarting their communications – how to read.
I was profoundly moved by what he told me, and to this day am awed at the enormity of such internal strength.
Thatâ€™s the spiritual essence from which the magic emanates. It takes an extraordinary capacity for forgiveness and a remarkable restraint when given the reins of power to live up to and be that promise.
For all his grit, courage, determination and integrity, Nelson Mandela knew how to love and how to forgive. Therein rests his power, and why the world is a better place for him having lived in it. Now and forever.
Comparing him with other politicians is pointless, but inevitable. As my friend, Hanna Regev, who grew up in Israel, remarked how great it is that the historic judgment of him was made during his lifetime: “In my humble opinion, there will be no monument that will capture the courage and the essence of this man, this icon. He remains a legend, a hero.â€
There was a genuine excitement I felt along with many Americans when President Obama was first elected. Not because of Obama the man, truthfully, but because America had broken a racial barrier similar to the one I had witnessed and partaken in in May 1994. But President Obama always falls short when I made comparisons, and I made them often. From the meaning behind their respective Nobel Peace prizes then, to President Obamaâ€™s draconian disrespect for the constitution now.
Nelson Mandela wrote the framework of the worldâ€™s most progressive constitutions ever — the first ever toÂ prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation –Â whilst seeking shade in â€œThe Universityâ€ â€“ a refuge from the blazing, unforgiving sun dug into the wall of a mine quarry on Robben Island.Â A dry holeÂ that served as a toilet and a place to rest.
Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar,Â desecrated one from the luxury of the White House.
As someone who dedicated his life to ensuring the right to vote, had he been well enough, he would have been appalled at Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who played a role this weekÂ in striking down a critical section of the Voting Rights Act that determined which jurisdictions must pre-clear their election laws with the federal government. Mr. Mandela understood that eradicating racism wasn’t about pretending it didn’t exist. Clarence Thomas would probably have upheld Apartheid.
It is not hyperbolic to state that Nelson Mandela shaped the core of who I am and the direction of my life. In every way. My passionate advocacy for freedom of expression, which had me challenge the United States government twice in federal lawsuits — one that was decided by the United States Supreme Court — was driven by a fearlessness that was inspired by Nelson Mandela.
In 1997, I declared as much under the penalty of perjury: â€œIt is important for me to state for the record that I was born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid. My desire to be a journalist was thwarted by the repressive censorship, as I lived in a country where one could be imprisoned for quoting Nelson Mandela (who at the time was in prison for revolutionary activities). I underwent the often difficult process of immigration, becoming an American citizen in 1994, partly because of the First Amendment’s promise of free speech. … I took an oath to protect the principles of the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. A strong motivation for my wanting to bring this lawsuit is to fulfill that promise and have America live up to its promise of freedom.â€
Those words have shaped my career as an artist, as a writer, as an activist, as a technologist and as a humanitarian. And continue to drive my motivation. I owe my strength, perseverance and passion to one man. No other person on earth has taught me the true meaning of integrity like Nelson Mandela has. Of living what you speak. Of walking the walk not just talking the talk.
There will be countless obituaries that try to capture the essence of Nelson Mandela. In his final speech to Parliament on March 26, 1999, however, Mr. Mandela articulated himself how he perceived himself and his legacy as a man and as a South African.
To the extent that I have been able to achieve anything, I know hat this is because I am the product of the people of South Africa.
I am the product of the rural masses who inspired in me the pride in our past and the spirit of resistance.
I am the product of the workers of South Africa who, in the mines, factories, fields and offices of our country, have pursued the principle that the interests of each are founded in the common interest of all.
I am the product of South Africa’s intelligentsia, of every color, who have labored to give our society knowledge of itself and to fashion our people’s aspirations into a realizable dream.
I am the product of South Africa’s business people – in industry and agriculture, commerce and finance – whose spirit of enterprise has helped turn our country’s immense natural resources into the wealth of our nation.
To the extent that I have been able to take our country forward to this new era it is because I am the product of the people of the world who have cherished the vision of a better life for all people everywhere.
They insisted, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, that that vision should be realized in South Africa too.
They gave us hope because we knew by their solidarity that our ideas could not be silenced since they were the ideas of all humanity.
I am the product of Africa and her long-cherished dream of a rebirth that can now be realized so that all of her children may play in the sun.
Nelson Mandela — Madiba — your legacy will live on long after you have departed us. You gave us absolutely everything you had to give, and now you deserve nothing less than the loving nod of an eternally grateful world to call it a day.
It is up to us to take theÂ courageous mantle you left us, follow the course of universalÂ peace and freedom you charted,Â and strive with the same passionate resolve with every fiber of our beings to make sure that South Africa’s children –Â and indeed children everywhere — enjoyÂ their chance to play in the sun.
Rest in peace, dear, graceful, honorableÂ and beautiful man.
And from the bottom of my aching heart, I love you and thank you.
Madiba and Madiba’s Blue Tie are images of paintings by South African artist, Rene Veldsman. The image of Mr. Mandela and the author’s sister is courtesy Candice Etberg.
Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his Annoy.com site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, â€œa nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.â€ Feinâ€™s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newmanâ€™s Own First Amendment Award.
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‘I Don’t Think So’: As GOP Debate Kicks Off Trump Teases Out the Chances of Any Candidate Becoming His Running Mate
Donald Trump, again refusing to participate in a GOP debate, teased out the fate of every candidate on stage Wednesday night: he will choose none of them as his vice presidential running mate.
The ex-president who is facing 91 felony charges in four criminal cases across three jurisdictions and is now also facing the dissolution of his business empire, brought up the running mate question around the same time the debate on Fox News was kicking off.
“It’s all over television, this speech,” Trump falsely claimed, referring to his live remarks at a non-union shop one day after President Joe Biden stood on the picket line with UAW workers.
“You know, we’re competing with the job candidates,” Trump said, mocking his fellow Republican presidential candidates after he scheduled an event opposite the debate he refused to attend.
“They’re all running for a job,” he continued, as the audience began to boo.
“They want to be in the, they’ll do anything,” he continued. “Secretary of something.”
“They even say VP, I don’t know,” Trump said. “Does anybody see any VP in the group? I don’t think so.”
Watch below or at this link.
Trump: “We are competing with the job candidates. They’re all going for a job. No, they’re all job candidates — they wanna, they’ll do anything. Secretary of something, they even say VP. Does anyone see a VP in the group? I don’t think so.”
Crowd starts chanting something. pic.twitter.com/9V9RzChfDG
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 28, 2023
‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) became defensive and accusatory after repeatedly being unable to answer a reporter’s questions in a press conference Wednesday, held to announce what House Republicans claim is “evidence” against President Joe Biden.
A shortened version of the video posted by the news organization Heartland Signal went viral, garnering nearly one million views in under three hours on the social media platform X.
“Mr. Chairman, question about the timing of all of this,” began an NBC News reporter identified by Mediaite as Ryan Nobles. “You’re talking about a two-tiered system of justice. If I’m not mistaken, on August 7, 2020 Bill Barr was the attorney general and Donald Trump was the president, so explain to me where the two-tiered system of justice comes into play. And then the WhatsApp message you have, I believe, is dated June 6, 2017. Joe Biden is not vice president or even a candidate for president at that time. So where is the direct connection to some sort of criminal malfeasance within these two pieces of evidence?”
Chairman Smith could not only not answer any part of those questions, he appeared to forget a portion of them.
“Well, I think the facts speak for themselves,” Smith replied. “There’s over 700 pages of examples of, where people should be very concerned, when you’re talking about um, ah, – what was your first question?”
Smith went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House,” after being reminded them President at that time was Donald Trump. “We need to make sure that the Department of Justice works for all people and doesn’t treat those who are politically connected or wealthy much differently. And unfortunately, we have several examples that came forward by the two IRS whistleblowers, that proves that people are treated differently because they’re politically connected.”
“Are you suggesting that Joe Biden being the president now, is unfairly treating Donald Trump in his indictment?” Nobles asked.
Again, Smith did not answer the question.
“What I’m talking about is the 700 pages that we have before us, which is all the information that came from the IRS whistleblowers, and that’s what we’re releasing right now,” Smith replied, again not answering Nobles’ question. “And I’ll tell you, I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages. If you think it’s okay, with what’s in it, then we live on two different planets.”
“Can you explain the timing of the August 6 WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?” Nobles continued..
“I’m not an expert on the timeline,” Smith admitted, before pivoting to say, “I would love to have President Biden and his family to tell us about all the timelines, because it’s really, really unfortunate that we see so many meetings and so many phone calls that involved around official activity that the Vice President has been participating in, and then big sums of money follows later –”
“But he’s not the president or the vice president at that time. Where, where’s the wrongdoing? He wasn’t even a candidate for president,” Nobles pointed out.
“He was a candidate – ” Smith claimed.
“On August 6 –” Nobles began before Smith interrupted him.
“So apparently apparent – what source are you with?” Chairman Smith asked Noble.
“I’m with NBC,” the reporter replied.
“So apparently, you’ll never believe us,” Smith charged.
“I’m asking you a very direct question,” Nobles explained. “You presented a piece of evidence that you say came on August 6, 2017, that demonstrates that Joe Biden was using political influence to help his son. He wasn’t a political figure at that time. The first WhatsApp message you put up, where yo talk about the brand,” Nobles explained. “I’m completely open minded about this. I’m asking you specifically, how does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him, if at that time, he is not a political – he’s not an elected official?”
“I’m definitely not going to pinpoint one item,” Chairman Smith said defensively.
“You presented it!” Nobles acclaimed. “It was the first thing that you brought up.”
“So apparently, you don’t agree with that. So report that you disagree with it. I’ll take the next question. Yes?” Smith said, refusing to answer any of Nobles’ questions.
Watch below or at this link.
‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’
A top Democratic Senator is blasting freshman Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville for his “jaw dropping” and open talk about white supremacy, after the Alabama Republican denigrated President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senator Tuberville, the Alabama Republican who single-handedly has blocked well over 300 U.S. Military promotions, said the U.S. military is “not an equal opportunity employer,” appearing to imply Biden’s nomination of an accomplished officer was based on the color of his skin, not his impressive achievements and experience.
Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., who is Black, will be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a strong bipartisan 83-11 vote by the U.S. Senate confirming him last week. Sen. Tuberville voted against him, saying Tuesday he had “heard some things that he talked about about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military.”
General Brown is the first African American to head a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. He was one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
“He is a respected warfighter who will serve America well,” wrote former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson that year, lauding General Brown in his TIME profile. “As the former commander of Pacific Air Forces, he’s highly qualified to deter China and reassure allies in the Indo-Pacific. The suppression of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria was largely accomplished by local forces on the ground, enabled by air power CQ helped orchestrate.”
“Let me tell you something: Our military is not an equal-opportunity employer,” said Tuberville, falsely, appearing to imply it should not be.
“We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups,” the Alabama Senator continued, in his Bloomberg News interview (video below), explaining why he voted against Brown’s nomination. “We don’t want to single-handedly destroy our military from within. We all need to be one.”
“I think he’ll do a good job,” Tuberville also said, “but I heard him say a few things that that really didn’t fit with me in terms of making our military better and better. We have things that that we need to do to make sure that that that we can uphold – and we can’t do that without a great, hard strong military.”
“Let me tell you something, our military is not an equal opportunity employer. We’re looking for the best [of] the best, to do whatever. We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups. We don’t want to single handedly destroy our military from within.”
Asked for specific concerns, Tuberville said General Brown, “came out and said we need we need certain groups, more pilots, certain groups to have an opportunity to be pilots. Listen. I want it to be on merit. I want our military to be the best. I want the best people I don’t care who they are. Men. Women, if that makes any difference, Catholics, Protestants, I want everybody to believe in the one goal that we have in this country for our military is to protect the taxpayers, protect United States of America. Don’t give me this stuff about equal opportunity, because that’s not what this military is.”
“Our military is becoming so political that we’re going to go south when it comes to readiness,” he also warned, despite having been warned repeatedly that his military holds are negatively impacting military readiness, and are expected to do so for years to come.
But as CNBC reported, America’s military “is an equal-opportunity employer, and the Pentagon has an ‘Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.'”
Senator Tuberville has a history of making extremist remarks, so much so that in a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July delivered a speech on the Senate floor denouncing Tuberville by name, along with his “one-man mission to defend white nationalism.”
Earlier this year Tuberville insisted that white nationalists are simply “Americans,” and said, “I look at a white nationalist as a, as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time.”
As NCRM reported in May, those remarks came immediately after an NBC News reporter told Tuberville, “A white nationalist propagates Nazism, a white nationalist could be someone who doesn’t believe that Black and Brown people are equals…”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, criticized Tuberville late Tuesday night, responding to the Alabama Republican’s interview with Bloomberg.
“The way Sen. Tuberville talks so openly about about white supremacy is just jaw dropping,” Sen. Murphy said. “I refuse to allow this to feel normal.”
Watch Tuberville’s remarks below or at this link.
Why did @SenTuberville vote against the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
“I heard some things he talked about, about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military,” he told @BloombergTV. “Our military is not an equal opportunity employer.” pic.twitter.com/avFStO79Af
— David Gura (@davidgura) September 27, 2023
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McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
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‘Height of Irresponsibility’: Top LGBTQ Civil Rights Group Slams House Republicans Over Shutdown and ‘Politics of Hate’
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Trump Appears to Think Jeb Bush Was President: ‘He Got Us Into the Middle East’
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‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did