Stanley Crouch, writ…
Stanley Crouch, writing in the NY Daily News, points out the hypocrisy of the civil right establishment in how they are reacting to Bush’s Africa trip.

On his first day in Africa, he gave a speech in Senegal from Goree Island, where slaves were gathered and sold to Europeans after being captured by other Africans (something self-righteous Negro Americans ignore at every turn). The speech shocked many because no Republican President since Lincoln has ever seriously addressed slavery or its consequences with such direct eloquence and depth of vision.

In fact, had a Democrat given such a speech, the civil rights establishment and our domestic left would have flipped. He would have been praised for facing up to the dark slave voyages of our history. He would have been commended for acknowledging the horrors of the plantation experience and for rightfully celebrating the ongoing struggle of black Americans that so fundamentally brought our nation closer to the ideals laid down in the Declaration of Independence. A march might have been organized in his honor.

But Bush is a Republican, which means the partisan civil rights establishment cannot acknowledge the greatness of his speech because he is not supposed to have given it, and, if he gave it, the motives could only be crass. That is why that establishment needs to reiterate the nonpartisan stance of the old leadership, which never would have sold out to the Democrats – or the Republicans!

And coverage of all this in the major media is pitiful. When I watched ABC News last night, the only coverage on the Africa trip was a short mention of the AIDS relief package and video of the Bush entourage happening across a pair of mating elephants. Nothing about a ground-breaking speech, although they did spend about 5 full minutes on a single sentence in his State of the Union address from months ago that was based on possibly bad intelligence.

Eric Alterman (author of “What Liberal Media?”), call your office.

Update: You can find a copy of the text of the speech here.

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