THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #21

THE ELECTION ISSUE
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In This Issue:

 

 

  • David’s Notes:
  • The Great Male Fear, the Golden Rule of Adultery, Jimmy Carter’s Sunday School Lesson, the Radical Right and Why the Election was Lost: An Editorial
  • Two Hard Hitting Commentaries on the Supreme Court Decision on NPR from Kevin Phillips and Daniel Schorr (links provided so you can listen to the commentaries via Real Audio)
  • Just Our Bill by Dennis Roddy, A Bit of the Rehnquist Past
  • A Zimbabwe Politician Breaks It Down
  • A Correction: Re: The Judevine Mountain Emailite #19:

 

 

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DAVID’S NOTES:

 

Now that everybody is “coming together” and getting all warm and gooey over “the workings of our democracy,” now that even Molly Ivins–author of Shrub –has come around to tells us in the December 25, 2000-January 1, 2001 issue of TIME (pgs. 82-83) that G.W. really isn’t, after all, all that bad, now that the collective consciousness–or is it unconsciousness?–of America seems to be wanting to forget that G.W. and his five pals in black robes may have stolen the election, we think it’s time to begin discussing what went wrong, and to put down here–if for no other reason than archival– some of the best of what came in here over the cybertransom during this protracted election season. Most of you probably saw some or most of these, but just in case you didn’t . . . .

First an essay from the Editor of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE, then two commentaries from NPR–via Real Audio–then Dennis Roddy on Bill Rehnquist thirty years ago, then a piece purported to be by a Zimbabwe politician, and finally a correction to a mistaken bit of information offered in THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #19.

 

 

 

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The Great Male Fear, the Golden Rule of Adultery,
Jimmy Carter’s Sunday School Lesson, the Radical Right
and Why the Election was Lost:
An Editorial

Had Bill Clinton campaigned for the Gore-Lieberman ticket, the Democrats would have won. Why Clinton was summarily dismissed from the campaign remains for me the central question of this election. Why didn’t Al Gore and Joe Lieberman let the man who might be the most brilliant campaigner in U.S. history help them? As a possible answer: it was the Great Male Fear working with the Radical Right.

Since time began there has been among men a Good Old Boy Code of Silence regarding sexual promiscuity and marital infidelity. This Code of Silence–or what could also be called The Golden Rule of Adultery: I won’t rat on you if you don’t rat on me–is what has kept most people in the dark about the mistresses and sexual dalliances in The White Houses of F.D.R., Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon and George Bush, to name just a few.

The truth is every man does, has done, or has wanted to do, the kind of thing Bill Clinton did. Thus the reason that the White Liberal Male abandoned Bill Clinton in his hour of need was because he was traumatized by the Great Male Fear of breaking The Golden Rule of Adultery. He needed to distance himself from the nightmare that what happened to Bill Clinton could, at any moment, happen to him.

I say White Liberal Male because Black men, and African Americans in general, had the good sense and sophistication not to abandon Bill Clinton in his hour of need. But for the White Liberal Male, The Great Male Fear was so overwhelming that he had to self-righteously condemn Bill Clinton for lying.

Ask yourself honestly if you can imagine any President–or any man for that matter–not lying if he were in Clinton’s shoes. There is only one President, and very few men, who I can imagine telling the truth about his sexual desires and that one is Jimmy Carter, which is what he did in an interview with PLAYBOY in November 1976. It’s illuminating, in the light of the last two years, to read what Jimmy Carter said way back there in 1976. What caused the greatest uproar was his admitting to the interviewers that he had “lusted in his heart” for women other than Rosalind. Carter told the truth. He broke the Good Old Boy Code of Silence and he was roundly condemned for it.

In the interview Carter went on to say:

Christ said, ‘I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery.’ I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I will do — and I have done it — and God forgives me for it. But that doesn’t mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, Don’t consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife.”

Carter, in his best Sunday School Teacher fashion, points out that Jesus says: every man is an adulterer–since every man at the very least lusts after other women in his heart–and therefore no man has the right to stand in judgment of men like Bill Clinton who are unfortunate enough to have their privacy invaded and their intimate lives exposed.

Yet Gore and Lieberman did stand in judgment of Bill Clinton. Everybody, Republican and Democrat, made as big a show of their condemnations and self-righteousness as they possibly could. Gore and Lieberman claimed the right to the White House because they were purer and holier than Bill Clinton. George Bush did too. Yet Jimmy Carter and Jesus both show us clearly that such is impossible.

But the Great Male Fear of breaking the Code of Silence is not the only factor in such self-righteous condemnations of Bill Clinton. The Radical Right forced this issue upon our political life. By creating a climate of sanctimonious self-righteousness to which all politicians seem to think they have to adhere, the Radical Right may have lost the battle to drive Bill Clinton from the White House but they have won the war.

It should be clear to everyone that the Radical Right now dictates the rules of the game. Gore and Lieberman willingly, because they thought their political lives depended on it, played by the Radical Right’s rules. And therefore they abjured and spurned Bill Clinton, the one person who could have won the election for them.

There is a great and delicious irony here. One reason Bill Clinton could have won the election for them is that America knows he can no longer be a hypocrite about his sexual affairs. They have been a topic of conversation for Americans for more than a year. Since Bill Clinton was the only man in Washington not required to play by the Radical Right’s rules–because he couldn’t, his sin was already known–he was free to be himself and to be believed by the American public. But Gore and Lieberman couldn’t see this because they were being controlled totally by the Radical Right’s rules for the game.

The Radical Right in its mad lust to destroy Bill Clinton used the gains of feminism–the sexual harassment laws–and their blind willingness to abandon the Good Old Boy Code of Silence and the Golden Rule of Adultery to destroy the Clinton Presidency. In doing so the Radical Right has set new standards of dishonesty for all politicians. What George Bush will bring to the White House is not a new morality but a new level of hypocrisy.

I fear, however, in this self-righteous and sanctimonious age, people will hardly notice.

 

 

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TWO HARD HITTING COMMENTARIES ON NPR ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION FROM KEVIN PHILLIPS AND DANIEL SCHORR
 

 

On December 13th NPR aired two hard hitting commentaries by NPR regulars Kevin Phillips and Daniel Schorr, both of whom, it was obvious, could barely control their rage at what the Supreme Court had done.

 

First, on Morning Edition for December 13th, Kevin Phillips said the recent election “completes what has to be a sad parallel” with the election of 1876 in which the Republicans stole Florida in order to get Rutherford B. Hayes elected. Phillips also says, bluntly, that the U.S. Supreme Court “stopped the recount to avoid embarrassing Bush.” He concludes by saying, “Stealing Florida once left only a small ripple in the history books; stealing it twice could leave a deep and damning stain on the Republican party.”

 

To HEAR the entire Phillips commentary on MORNING EDITION for December 13, go to: http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20001213.me.14.rmm.

 

Then scroll down to: Commentary (14.4 | 28.8) — Commentator Kevin Phillips looks to past presidential elections and says . . . (4:50).

 

Then click on 14.4 or 28.8 and, if you have Real Audio, you can listen to his commentary.

 

That evening on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Daniel Schorr matched or exceeded Phillips. In Schorr’s commentary he refers to what the U.S. Supreme Court did for Bush as a “judicial coup.” Schorr refers to the five justices, all Reagan and Bush appointees, who blocked the recount as “the gang of five” and says, “the fix was in.” Schorr goes on to refer to the Supreme Court as a “junta” and concludes by saying that the day the Supreme Court blocked the recount was “the day they named the President.”

 

To HEAR the entire Schorr commentary on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED for December 13, go to: http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=12/13/2000&PrgID=2

 

Then scroll down to: Judicial Coup (14.4 | 28.8) — NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr reacts to last night’s Supreme Court ruling . . . (3:00).

 

Then click on 14.4 or 28.8 and, if you have Real Audio, you can listen to his commentary.

 

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Just Our Bill

by Dennis Roddy,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
December 2, 2000
Lito Pena is sure of his memory. Thirty-six years ago he, then a Democratic Party poll watcher, got into a shoving match with a Republican who had spent the opening hours of the 1964 election doing his damnedest to keep people from voting in south Phoenix.

 

“He was holding up minority voters because he knew they were going to vote Democratic,” said Pena.

 

The guy called himself Bill. He knew the law and applied it with the precision of a swordsman. He sat at the table at the Bethune School, a polling place brimming with black citizens, and quizzed voters ad nauseam about where they were from, how long they’d lived there — every question in the book. A passage of the Constitution was read and people who spoke broken English were ordered to interpret it to prove they had the language skills to vote.

 

By the time Pena arrived at Bethune, he said, the line to vote was four abreast and a block long. People were giving up and going home. Pena told the guy to leave. They got into an argument. Shoving followed. Arizona politics can be raw. Finally, Pena said, the guy raised a fist as if he was fixing to throw a punch. “I said ‘If that’s what you want, I’ll get someone to take you out of here.”

 

Party leaders told him not to get physical, but this was the second straight election in which Republicans had sent out people to intellectually rough up the voters. The project even had a name: Operation Eagle Eye.

 

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Others in Phoenix remember Operation Eagle Eye, too. Charlie Stevens, then the head of the local Young Republicans, said he got a phone call from the same lawyer Pena remembered throwing out of Bethune School. The guy wanted to know why Charlie hadn’t joined Operation Eagle Eye. “I think they called them flying squads,” Stevens said. “It was perfectly legal. The law at the time was that you had to be able to read English and interpret what you read.” But he didn’t like the idea and he told Bill this.

 

“My parents were immigrants,” Stevens said. They’d settled in Cleveland, Ohio, a pair of Greeks driven out of Turkey who arrived in the United States with broken English and a desire to be American. After their son went to law school and settled in Phoenix, he even Americanized the name. Charlie Tsoukalas became Charlie Stevens.

 

“I didn’t think it was proper to challenge my dad or my mother to interpret the Constitution,” Stevens said. “Even people who are born here have trouble interpreting the Constitution. Lawyers have trouble interpreting it.”

 

. . .

 

“It just violated my principles. I had a poor family. I grew up in the projects in Cleveland, Ohio.”

 

Operation Eagle Eye had a two-year run. Eventually, Arizona changed the laws that had allowed the kind of challenges that had devolved into bullying. Pena went on to serve 30 years in the Arizona State Legislature. Stevens became a prosperous and well-regarded lawyer in Phoenix and helped Sandra Day O’Connor get her start in law.

 

The guy Pena remembers tossing out of Bethune School prospered, too. Bill Rehnquist, now better known as William H. Rehnquist, chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, presided yesterday over a case that centers on whether every vote for president was properly recorded in the state of Florida.

 

In his confirmation hearings for the court in 1971, Rehnquist denied personally intimidating voters and gave the explanation that he might have been called to polling places on Election Day to arbitrate disputes over voter qualifications. Fifteen years later, three more witnesses, including a deputy U.S. attorney, told of being called to polling places and having angry voters point to Rehnquist as their tormentor. His defenders suggested it was a case of mistaken identity.

 

Now, with the presidency in the balance, Rehnquist has been asked to read passages of the Constitution and interpret them. Once again, a reading and interpretation will determine whose vote gets to count.

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A  ZIMBABWE POLITICIAN BREAKS IT DOWN

 

 

A Zimbabwe politician was quoted as saying that children should study this American election closely, for it shows that election fraud is not only a third world phenomena.

 

1. Imagine that we read of an election occurring anywhere in the third world in which the self-declared winner is the son of the former prime minister and that former prime minister is himself the former head of that nation’s secret police (CIA).

 

2. Imagine that the self-declared winner lost the popular vote but won based on some old colonial holdover (electoral college) from the nation’s pre-democracy past.

 

3. Imagine that the self-declared winner’s ‘victory’ turned on disputed votes cast in a province governed by his brother.

 

4. Imagine that the poorly drafted ballots of one district, a district heavily favoring the self-declared winner’s opponent, led thousands of voters to vote for the wrong candidate.

 

5. Imagine that members of that nation’s most despised caste, fearing for their lives/livelihoods, turned out in record numbers to vote in near universal opposition to the self-declared winner’s candidacy.

 

6. Imagine that hundreds of members of that most-despised caste were intercepted on their way to the polls by state police operating under the authority of the self-declared winner’s brother.

 

7. Imagine that six million people voted in the disputed province and that the self-declared winner’s ‘lead’ was only 500 votes. Fewer, certainly, than the vote counting machines’ margin of error.

 

8. Imagine that the self-declared winner and his political party opposed a more careful by-hand inspection and re-counting of the ballots in the disputed province or in its most hotly disputed district.

 

9. Imagine that the self-declared winner, himself a governor of a major province, had the worst human rights record of any province in his nation and actually led the nation in executions.

 

10. Imagine that a major campaign promise of the self-declared winner was to appoint like-minded human rights violators to lifetime positions on the high court of that nation.

 

11. Imagine furthermore that the self-declared winner is . . . totally ignorant of the world he would lead.

 

None of us would deem such an election to be representative of anything other than the self-declared winner’s will-to-power. All of us, I imagine, would wearily turn the page thinking that it was another sad tale of a pitiful pre- or anti-democracy peoples in some strange elsewhere.

 

 

 

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A CORRECTION:

 

In The Judevine Mountain Emailite #19 we reported that the U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage Stamp series was threatened with discontinuance. This is not the case. What we reported is false. For more information regarding this untrue rumor go to: http://new.usps.com/cgi-bin/uspsbv/scripts/content.jsp?D=23434

 

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COMING SOON:
THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #22

 

Back to issues of race: an editorial on white privilege, links to the African-American perspective on the election, Askia Muhammed found and more.