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Connecting Them Dots

What’s good for the NAACP is good for their clientele. Ask anyone who "speaks" for black Americans and you’ll get a standard list of organizations and personalities. Now it’s not like there was ever a vote or popular referendum to anoint Jesse Jackson as the spokes model for black America. The NAACP despite its many political flaws can at least lay claim to a distinguished record of accomplishments of acting on behalf of the general welfare of a marginalized group of American citizens. But most of the good work done by the NAACP is long in the past now.

What is currently on display at the intersection of Hope Street and Reality Road is the glaring disparity between the views of self appointed black American political class and the pedestrian concerns of ordinary black Americans. Judge Charles Pickering, may I introduce you to the Establishment Clause? Like most fundamental contradictions in American politics the poobahs of the press miss the key points of political battles. In their world view politics is just a more bloody version of sport.

These two trends (Pickering and Jefferson) expose a glaring contradiction in the black American political class. A small group of poor and largely black residents of the city of Cleveland have taken advantage of a state program to provide financial support to parents who want to flee the failing schools of that city. Underlying the conflict over this program is the implicit belief on the part of groups like the NEA and the People for the Separation of Church and State that poor Americans must be denied the freedom of choice in where to send their children to school. This same mindset takes it as a given that if a poor woman has insufficient financial resources to exercise her choice to terminate a pregnancy, then the state must provide low cost or free abortions. That sort of choice, is good choice. But when the state, recognizing officially that its own educational systems is a dismal dead end provides financial aid to permit parents to choose between bad public schools and satisfactory parochial schools, well, that’s bad choice and needs to be opposed.

Where does the NAACP stand on this? George Bush framed terrorism as a choice, "you can be with us or with the terrorists". The NAACP has framed the choice thusly: you can be with the schools or with your children. Is it any surprise that the parents have chosen their children over some special interest group? What this reveals is a contradiction that should wrack the soul of the black American political class. If the school system of Cleveland is a cesspool of crime, waste and despair then what is the NAACP doing about it. Surely the organization that fought so hard for equal treatment under the law in Brown v Board should be just as concerned about the quality of the education offered to black Americans in Cleveland. But they don’t. Like most groups in thrall of the liberal view of America they have made their own corrupt bargain with the educational establishment. Better that all the children of Cleveland be condemned to a failing school system then some few escape.

Judge Charles Pickering, a Bush nominee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is another dot in the grand mosaic. Pickering, a sitting federal judge approved by the US Senate, has now been attacked as a racist and corrupt man. This is news to the citizens of Mississippi, a place where he was born and lives today. He enjoys wide support across the entire political spectrum. His record on race is not mixed, muddled or timid. He has on occasion placed his ideal above his political popularity, and lost an election in the process. He is not considered by any of his friends and neighbors, black or white to be anything but a valued contributor to his community.

The usual suspects though, say otherwise. Nothing is so sickening as the sight of politicians subverting the truth to accomplish a political objective. If the groups and Senators who oppose Pickering had honor, they would be explicit about their goal to deny Pickering a seat on the appellate court because of his legal and political views. Instead they resort to slander and innuendo to make a "case" that Judge Pickering does not deserve the appointment. But they can not fight on those grounds. To do so would expose this as the naked political move that it is.

One final thought on judges in general. Rarely is a judge approved for the bench by a slim margin of one or two votes. Pickering was approved by a majority Democrat Senate. If he is manifestly unfit for promotion then one thinks, logically at least, that he is unfit to serve as a federal judge at all. Perhaps our press would do us a service in this regard and investigate how someone who is a racist won approval in the first place. There are certainly many Senators in office today who voted for Pickering’s appointment in the past. Any Senator who voted for Pickering then, and opposes him now, owes his constituents an explanation. There can only be two possible explanations, Senators are boobs easily hoodwinked by the smooth machinations of the first Bush White House or Judge Pickering was just another in a long line of qualified nominees deserving of consent.

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