THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #6, 21 January 1999

David’s Notes:

>>> Just because we are well into the trial in the Senate, does not mean you should stop writing your Senators. Keep hounding them. Don’t give them a chance to forget how you feel. Think of it this way, if we can save Bubba’s neck, and things are looking better every day, he gonna owe us BIG TIME!

>>> This issue of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE is about Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation and how they relate to the Impeachment and Trial.

>>> Everybody says that Slick Willy will do anything, make any compromise, to save his political neck, and most of the time it does seem that way. Yet consider just a few of the apparently principled and politically reckless acts–all infuriating to the Radical Right–he and his wife have engaged in lately.

>>> Last October Clinton nominated James Hormel who is openly gay to be ambassador to Luxembourg. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott refused to permit a confirmation vote on Hormel saying, among other things, that homosexuals were like “kleptomaniacs and alcoholics.” (New York Times, 2 Aug 98) At that time, Clinton said he might nominate Hormel again next year. He did. Last week. In the middle of his own trial in the Senate.

>>> A few weeks ago, just before or after the Impeachment vote in the House, Mrs. Clinton gave a brief interview standing on a lawn somewhere near the White House. I think there was a helicopter in the background. To her left was a Black woman dressed in a business suit and to that woman’s left a Black man. To Mrs. Clifton’s right was a Black boy about ten years old and to the boy’s right another Black man. There Hillary was standing before the TV cameras giving an interview with four Black people. They weren’t all Secret Service and no explanation was ever offered for who they were or why they were there, but people on the Radical Right all across America got the message.

>>> Then two nights ago, during the State of the Union speech there was Mrs. Clifton sitting in the balcony with Sammy Sosa on her left an Asian kid in a hooded sweatshirt from AmeriCorps on her right, and just a few seats down: Rosa Parks. Cheap symbolic shots? Not in my opinion.

>>> And yesterday, lawyer, Cheryl Mills, a young Black woman, argued a case–for the first time in history?–before the Senate.

>>> All these events, these pictures, I argue, are not only principled but deliberate, in your face, thumbing of the Clinton noses at the Radical Right. As you all know, from the very beginning I’ve felt that the Impeachment is only one battle in the war between The Clintons and the Radical Right that has been raging since long before the Clintons ever got to Washington.

>>> In a letter here a few days ago, a friend who has a friend who has practiced law with the “born again” types says, of lawyers on the Radical Right, “They all seem to be anti-Semitic, anti-any ethnicity, and of course anti-Black–which is the primary reason for their complete hatred of Clinton.”

>>> Which brings up the featured essay for this issue, another one of my commentaries still looking for a place to be published or aired.

BLACKS, WHITES AND THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS

Why is it a large majority of Black Americans support The President in his Impeachment battle and what can we white Americans learn from this overwhelming support?

Here is a list of some titles of books by Black American writers: THE OUTSIDER, I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, INVISIBLE MAN, THE SLAVE, NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME, THE WEARY BLUES, BENEATH THE UNDERDOG.

It is this particular vantage point: OUTSIDE, that qualifies Black Americans to see what goes on in America in a way almost all white Americans cannot. So when you hear some young white, male college student talking on the radio or Ken Starr and his cronies going on and on about “the rule of law,” understand that it is a question of WHOSE rule of law.

Black Americans know that the rule of law used to say that slavery was just fine and only two generations ago the rule of law prevented them from drinking at certain water fountains or sitting in the front of the bus. So much for the sanctimonious old white guy appeal to “the rule of law.” THE RULE OF LAW DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE AND WHO IS AFTER YOU.

Which is why, On Sunday December 13th at a newsstand in Canton, Ohio, when asked about what he thought of the attempt to impeach the President, Jack Mayle, a retired steel worker said, “It’s wrong. I’m an African-American and I recognize a lynch mob when I see it.”

It’s why when Noah Adams asked Dubra Lazard on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED recently: “What about the issue of perjury? As you know there are people in prison right now on charges of perjury,” it is why Dubra Lazard replied: “Yes, and they had to dig like ferrets in order to find enough people who were actually serving time for perjury in order to parade them before . . . the American people . . . . If you think about the O.J. Simpson case with the police officer [Mark Furman] who lied over and over and over. . . . He’s not serving any time for perjury; it was a big deal about his perjury and for some reason he could not be tried for the perjury.”

Proving yet again that we white folks had better listen when our Black brothers and sisters break it down for us, because they understand how the white world works–they know from painful personal experience about the essence and the mechanics of “the rule of law” in America–far better than we in our white privilege ever have or ever will.

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POST SCRIPT: Not long ago Toni Morrison declared that, except for the color of his skin, Bill Clinton was American’s first Black President. I think one of the reasons she said this was because Bill Clinton knows THE RULE OF LAW DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE AND WHO IS AFTER YOU. Toni Morrison sees clearly that Bill Clinton is an OUTSIDER: outside the Inside-the-Beltway crowd, outside the Radical Right and outside the Radical/Liberal Left (cf. The New York Times Magazine, 17 Jan 99).

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>>> Finally, Another Apology: By now, you’ve all gotten a spam note–why is it called that?–from FarmConnection called UNDERNEWS from the misnamed “Progressive.” As I know you know, I did not approve this mailing. You got this because, as I mentioned in J.M.E.#3, in my earlier ignorance, I unwittingly sent out The Emailite with your addresses attached. Again I need to apologize to everyone. I’ve written to the woman who did this and asked her NOT to send any more of her spam notes to my email list. She’s written back apologizing saying she didn’t know she did it, thought she was sending it only to me. Another someone learning the email ropes.

>>> Coming in J.M.E. #7: Rachel Axelrod’s SLY AS A FOX: WILL THE REAL DENNIS HASTERT PLEASE STAND UP.