Reader writes: Conservatives vilified Mandela

December 13, 2013 

A conservative view of Mandela

As millions of people around the globe both mourn the death of Nelson Mandela and celebrate his astounding life, let’s not forget how many revered, conservative politicians in the United States viewed this unique man.

President Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on the U.S. terror list in the 1980s, and it stayed there until 2008. Reagan labeled the U.S. Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 “immoral” and “utterly repugnant.”

In 1985, Rep. Dick Cheney voted against a congressional resolution calling for the release of Mandela and the recognition of the African National Congress. And our own Sen. Jesse Helms was reported to have turned his back on Mandela during his visit to the U.S. Capitol.

What about the Religious Right? Quoting Pat Robertson: “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story of South Africa. It is very important that we stay close to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”

Added Jerry Falwell: “South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations.”

The John Birch Society called Mandela “a communist terrorist thug.”

Phyllis Schlafly lumped Mandela together with notorious dictators.

Even in Mandela’s death, some in the conservative movement are still seeking to vilify the name and memory of Mandela. Gregory Hood recently wrote in American Renaissance: “The truth is the saintly visage of Mandela – all crinkly eyes and warm smiles – conceals a violent past as a terrorist.”

Then there is the Cuban-Canadian-American politician Ted Cruz, not one to pass up the opportunity to score some political points. He was heard praising Mandela, temporarily forgetting the perspectives of his conservative buddies.

Some things never change.

Ned Walsh

Princeton

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