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Jewish World Review August 7, 2000 / 6 Menachem-Av, 5760

Don Feder

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Diversity delusion hits GOPers

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- MORE EVEN THAN COMPASSION, diversity and inclusion were the bromides of choice at last week's GOP convention. Bushites stood at attention and saluted the ensign of the Age of Oprah.

Republicans are regularly abused by Democrats and the media for not trying harder to win minority votes.

To prove its purity, the Bush league did a rainbow dance. As keynote speaker, it recruited retired Gen. Colin Powell, a man who's frequently at odds with the party's grass roots.

Powell delivered the inclusion invocation. "The party must follow Governor Bush's lead and reach out to minority communities. ... It must be a sustained effort. ... It must be for real," the general intoned.

Cynicism among blacks is understandable, Powell explained, when "some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action (weasel words for racial quotas) that helped a few thousand black kids to get an education."

Is this the price of a Republican commitment to diversity -- acquiescing to evil? The party of Lincoln started by opposing a moral wrong, slavery. Must it now shut its eyes to another injustice (denying a job or education to some on the basis of race) to demonstrate its concern for minorities?

The one black Republican who most deserved a forum, because he earned it on the campaign trail, was nowhere to be seen. But then Alan Keyes, who has something serious to say about America's moral decline, would have been a liability at a convention dedicated to hiding any hint of a political philosophy.

The media grumbled that the minority presence on stage in Philly was tokenism that wasn't even aimed at blacks. Rather, they conjectured, it was an appeal to suburban swing voters, who assume that a GOP presidential nominee has a Klan robe in his closet and must be pursuaded otherwise. Commentators reminded us that only 4 percent of GOP delegates were black and the party rarely gets above 12 percent of the black vote, as if this was prima facie evidence of insensitivity or worse.

Truth be known, there are compelling reasons for blacks to vote Republican. Lack of a decent education is the greatest obstacle to the advancement of the urban poor, who are the chief victims of the educational malpractice committed by the public schools.

Only one party is willing to give these families a choice in how their children are educated. (Hint, it isn't the party that regularly grovels before the teachers unions.)

Powell lamented the fact that there are 2 million Americans behind bars, "and the majority of those men are minorities."

But blacks are also disproportionally victims of violent crime. Every convict behind bars is one less predator on the streets of urban America. Since we began putting more career criminals out of circulation, crime rates across America, including in the inner cities, have plummeted.

Only one party is committed to appointing judges who will put the rights of victims above those of criminals, and doesn't agonize over building prisons. If a tiny minority of blacks currently vote Republican, is that the party's fault, or is it a failure on the part of the former to perceive reality clearly?

American Jews (of which I am one) vote Democratic by almost the same lopsided margin as blacks, notwithstanding that Clinton would sell out Israel in a heartbeat. Are Republicans to blame because Jews choose to live 60 years in the past?

Oh for the days when politicians stumped for the votes of Americans -- not African-Americans, Jewish-Americans or any other hyphenated segment of the electorate, but those who understand that America's interests are their own. If we go to war, due to a failure of preparedness, won't blacks (who are over-represented in the military) suffer? If the economy sours, due to interventionist policies, will the unemployment lines be monochromatic in their paleness?

Calls for diversity (really, pandering) are ultimately divisive. By insisting that our basic identification should be racial or ethnic rather than national, they ignore the truth that we are united by more than separates us -- including our common humanity, faith in the Creator and quest for freedom, justice and security.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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