Jewish World Review April 19, 2001 / 26 Nissan 5761
Is that how the Chinese viewed the United States before the spy plane controversy was resolved? Nope. It pretty much describes People for the American Way's refusal to apologize for the anti-American rant which feminist theologian Kyun Hung Chung delivered at its conference earlier this month. Saying she represented "recovering" terrorists, Chung waxed nostalgic about her dream to bomb an American Embassy, apparently in South Korea, sometime in the 1970s.
PFAW president Ralph Neas said through an aide that Chung's past -- she belonged to an anti-American student group -- shouldn't be held against her. How forgiving. Does PFAW also overlook youthful indiscretions by conservatives? Didn't PFAW even slime a Republican nominee because he previously collaborated -- in the 1970s! -- in a supposed "book banning" campaign?
In what he later justified on the grounds that parents not educators should determine suitable material for public schools, Charles Moser sided with a West Virginia parents group that tried to ban "anti-American" books. They apparently failed, but years later PFAW blacklisted him anyway.
In 1987, according to news reports, PFAW used Moser's past to convince a Senate committee to reject his nomination to the advisory council for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Welcome to PFAW's world: If you dreamed about banning books in 1970s you're unfit for government service But if, in the same era, you belonged to an anti-American student group and aspired to bomb the United States embassy, that's a dandy credential for a speaker at a PFAW conference. The April 4-6 conference, incidentally, purported to launch a new progressive religious partnership that would follow in Martin Luther King's tradition.
At her little-noticed speech before a nearly all-white crowd at the Washington Hilton, Chung also urged women to smear their own menstrual blood all over the country and neglect their own children (Chung's menstruation oration was first disclosed by FrontPage.com). How does that follow in Martin Luther King's tradition? PFAW won't say. Chung refused to answer follow-up questions from this writer.
Why won't PFAW just apologize for her appearance? As Chung said in a different context: "What's big thing about apology just to say I am sorry?"
Because Chung is a relatively minor figure on the left, disavowing her remarks wouldn't necessarily alienate PFAW's key allies. Neas could always triangulate. Publicly he could condemn Chung's ode to terrorism and exclude her from future events. Privately he could tell liberal allies a more politically correct reason: Chung's menstruation oration was implicitly sexist. Why? She had advanced the insidious white male myth that menstrual blood is unseemly
By refusing to repudiate Chung for her remarks, PFAW is clearly leaving itself vulnerable to challenge the next time it drudges up some tenuous connection between a GOP nominee and a group whose views it finds intolerable. If PFAW yelps that a GOP nominee once gave a speech at Bob Jones University, isn't the obvious Republican response, "The school was wrong to ban inter-racial dating, but at least it didn't provide a platform for anyone who dreamed of bombing a United States embassy."
PFAW president Ralph Neas--a darling of liberals ever since he helped Bork Bork in 1987--is hardly a crazed leftist. It's a safe bet that he finds Chung's words distasteful. Although this writer has not talked to Neas for the menstruation story (is he too shrewd or too busy to touch it?), previous conversations since 1991 give every indication that Neas has no more use for her than Hubert Humphrey did the Weather Underground. On a personal level, Neas is quite civil. He treats questions from conservative journalists with a measure of seriousness and respect. Even as point man for liberal lynch mobs, Neas pretty much leaves the hyperbole to others. (Whether that's like saying the guy who hands the match to an arsonist personally doesn't play with fire is another matter.)
Neas, who most recently helped lead the campaign to Bork John Ashcroft, learned the ways of Washington as an aide to Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA). He later worked for other liberal Republicans. Neas himself was a registered Republican for years, but finally left the party during the Gingrich era.
Meanwhile, imagine how Neas would react if a former Klansman delighted a Christian Coalition
conference with his dream to bomb black
04/12/01: Feminist Chung Vows "New Revolution"