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Jewish World Review Jan. 8, 2001 / 13 Teves 5761

Don Feder

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Forget the hyphens, Bush has an American cabinet -- BY FAR the most toxic trend in our society is the obsession with what's called diversity -- the notion that the shape of a person's nose, skin color or family's origins is more important than what's in his heart and mind.

With three blacks, two Hispanics and an Asian-American in his Cabinet, you'd think George W. Bush would have satisfied the quota crowd. Instead, there's grumbling about the groups that aren't "represented" -- like Jews.

Sidney Zion, a columnist for the New York Post, laments the fact that there aren't more lamentations over this ominous omission. "Is this the Silence of the Lambs, or are American-Jews so secure as to not give a da-n about a Jew-free Cabinet?" Zion fumes.

It might be noted that White House press secretary-to-be, Ari Fleischer, is a member of the tribe, as is former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Bush's chief domestic-policy advisor.

But what really matters: a potential Cabinet officer's political philosophy -- and whether they have the commitment and experience to get the job done -- or which boxes they check on the Census form?

Apparently, it's not enough for an appointee to have the right last name, if they haven't endorsed the group-think of self-selected community leaders. Thus Linda Chavez, Bush's choice for labor secretary, has come under withering fire from the Hispanic lobby for her conservative views.

Chavez is "completely out of the mainstream of ... the Latino community," complains Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza.

"A Spanish-sounding surname does not make a person sympathetic to the concerns and needs of the majority of the Latino population. Who exactly is Bush trying to reach out to in the Latino community through this nomination?" asks a press release for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Perhaps Bush isn't trying to "reach out" to anyone with this appointment. Maybe, just maybe, he chose Chavez for her ability, instead of her ethnicity.

MALDEF blasts Chavez for opposing quotas and bilingual education, and supporting official-English initiatives. Can the lady be a real Hispanic when she rejects our agenda? activists ask.

In fact, bilingual education (which keeps Hispanic immigrants in the barrio) and quotas (which assume that minorities can't compete as equals) are very bad for the folks Chavez's critics claim to represent.

And they're bad for the nation. Quotas divide us and undermine the concept of equality under the law, the foundation of American democracy. Chavez believes in fairness, justice and merit. Once, liberals believed in this too, until they decided that group identity is more important than an individual's character.

The most loathsome attack on Chavez is mentioned in a Jan. 3 profile piece in The New York Times. After noting that her opposition to quotas has incensed the leftists masquerading as civil-rights leaders, the article reported, "That opposition -- combined with her marriage to a Jew, Christopher Gersten, and the rearing of her three sons as Jews -- have prompted some to term her a traitor to her people."

There you have it -- a Hispanic woman who marries a Jewish man is a "traitor to her people." Do the creeps shoveling this sewage know who they sound like? "Race traitors" was the term the Nazis applied to Germans who married non-Aryans.

Dragging Chavez's marriage into the campaign against her shows just how ugly racial-identity politics is becoming.

But then, racism is among the most repugnant of ideologies, and diversity, inclusion and affirmative action are all racist doctrines. They hold that an organization (college, corporation, Cabinet) is deficient if various groups aren't adequately represented. Race becomes the overriding factor in evaluating an individual, and that is the essence of racism.

Is Colin Powell a black man who was appointed secretary of state, or is he a former chairman of the joint chiefs and soon to be the most powerful member of the Bush Cabinet who happens to be black? Bush has selected a group of distinguished Americans (and forget the hyphens) for his Cabinet -- men and women who are qualified and dedicated. That's all we need to know.

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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© 2000, Creators Syndicate