Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Hey, North Carolina! Jackbooted thugs are on their way!

Any second now…

Wait for it…

Oh wait. I forgot that, because John Ashcroft only has a problem with Muslims, he’s not going to charge in all haphazardly when it comes to uncovering the supporters of Christian terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph.

But why?

After 9/11, Ashcroft started picking apart every Muslim organization for connections to Osama bin Laden and, since Ashcroft himself called Rudolph a terrorist (and then inexplicably tried to take credit for his capture), we should expect to see the same sort of treatment for those who support Rudolph’s actions or the actions of Christian Identity, right?


If Ashcroft started following the money and, more importantly, the ideology of the group, he would create a map that led right to his own party’s filthy doorstep. Consider that the former Heritage Foundation policy analyst and Washington Times columnist Samuel Francis agrees with Identity’s assertion that the Bible justifies both racism and slavery. Consider that many of the members of the Council of Conservative Citizens -- whose ideas, according to Gordon Baum, their leader, mesh with those of Trent Lott “95 percent of the time” -- and the good ‘ol boys of Southern Partisan share those ideas as well. Remember that Ashcroft himself was glad to give an interview to Southern Partisan, a self-described “neo-Confederate” publication. Michigan senator Carl Levin brought it up when he said he would vote against Ashcroft’s nomination:

Senator Ashcroft not only granted an interview to Southern Partisan magazine, he commended the magazine for helping to "set the record straight." He said "We've all got to stand up and speak- in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.

While in that interview Senator Ashcroft expressed support for Southern Partisan's message, he later said that he didn't know much about Southern Partisan and didn't know what it promoted. Fair enough. But since his interview, much has been said about the magazine in the media and at Senator Ashcroft's own confirmation hearing. Southern Partisan is described as a publication that defends slavery, white separatism, apartheid and David Duke" by a media watch group. In 1995, Southern Partisan offered its subscribers t-shirts celebrating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In the same year, an author, printed by the publication, alleged "there is no indication that slavery Contrary to Christian ethics" and in 1990, another article praised former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke as a "candidate concerned about affirmative' discrimination, welfare profligacy, the, taxation holocaust. a Populist spokesperson for a recapturing of the American ideal," In 1996, an article in the magazine alleged "slave owners ... did not have a practice of breaking up slave families. If anything, they encouraged strong slave families to farther the slaves' peace and happiness." And in 1991, another writer printed in the publication questioned, "Newly arrived in New York City, I puzzled, Where are the Americans?' I met only Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans.

l take Senator Ashcroft as his word that he did not know much about Southern Partisan magazine when he praised them for helping to "set the record straight." But where was the immediate disgust, horror and repudiation when he learned what he had inadvertently praised? And, after the inquiries of others, why didn't he make a prompt inquiry to satisfy himself that he had not inadvertently advanced the purpose of a racist publication? Even in his written responses to the Judiciary Committee, he said he only rejects the publication "if the allegations about (the) magazine are true."

More than two years after his original interview, it appears that he never took it upon himself to inquire about the magazine's purpose. A person being considered for the office of Attorney General, the single most important person charged with enforcing our nation's civil rights law in a fair and just manner, should accept the obligation to make an inquiry if the American people are to have faith that their Attorney General will "build a single nation of justice...."

Also appearing in support of the magazine's ideals and between its pages, were Dick Armey, Thad Cochran, Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, Pat Robertson, Wesley Pruden (Editor of the Washington Times), Phyllis Schafly and many others. Does anyone doubt that serious investigation into the Christian Identity organization wouldn't find enough overlap between its membership, the CCC and the people of Southern Partisan to warrant -- at least by the standards Ashcroft used while violating the rights of Muslim citizens -- further investigation of those organizations and the funds that they funnel into Republican coffers?

But I guess that pro-life, racist, homophobic terrorists can sleep tight in their little bunkers tonight. As long as they're white enough and “Christian” enough and have enough dirt on the crazy wing of the Republican party for John Ashcroft, it seems they have little to fear.

P.S.: It has been pointed out to me that Hesiod asked about this on Monday.

P.P.S.: Dave Neiwert has a great post on this issue, too.


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