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Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2000/ 2 Kislev 5761

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Hard to forgive Dems' divisiveness --
THE PARADOX of this one-hand-clapping presidential election is that the man who eventually "wins" will be saddled with the ironic mandate of unifying a nation divided mostly by the political machinations that led to his victory.

As contests go, this one's close, but Al Gore seems least able to satisfy that mandate. Not because he contested the election or demanded re-counts or insisted that certain Democrat-designed ballots were unfair. As lawyers have proved, one can reasonably argue on Gore's behalf. We can also comfortably assume that George W. Bush's team would have done the same were circumstances reversed.

No, Gore's greatest offense in his scramble to secure the "will of the people" was his relentless minority-baiting in ways that were untrue and unforgivably destructive in a land that struggles as no other to achieve equality and tolerance.

That we fail a fraction of the time hardly qualifies half the nation as bigoted, but Gore's volunteer hecklers would have voters believe otherwise. Most visible of these is the ubiquitous Jesse "Selma" Jackson, who has never met a TV camera he wouldn't hug.

In recent weeks, Jackson has invoked 1965, Selma, Ala., and the Holocaust in repeated claims that blacks and Jews were targeted for "disenfranchisement." While true that some Jews and blacks in Palm Beach County believed after the tally that they mistakenly had cast the wrong ballot, this error can hardly be ascribed to a vast white-wing conspiracy.

And though one might argue that Jackson doesn't speak for Gore - or for anyone, one hopes - Gore might have said as much. Instead of protesting these cruelly divisive and inflammatory remarks, Gore has remained mute, which is, of course, to give consent.

In a textbook case of semantic contagion, informed Americans ever since have spoken knowingly of the "conspiracy" to keep blacks from voting. Even Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. Quince, a black female justice, used the word "disenfranchise" rather too soon in the court's proceedings to convince doubters of her judicial objectivity.

Hearing the word "disenfranchise" tumble from the bench had the same effect on wary listeners as did the words "that woman" when Bill Clinton denied his liaison with Monica Lewinsky. In Clinton's case, "that woman" was all any worldly woman needed to hear to know he was guilty. In Justice Quince's case, the D-word was as subtle as a gavel's rap. She might as well have said: "You want a vote-count extension? Done, my man."

Another inflamatory exercise was the NAACP's infamous hate-crime television ad that more or less indicted Gov. Bush as a racist. His failure to sign new hate-crime legislation following the dragging-death of James Byrd was, according to the ad, ipso facto confirmation that Bush hates blacks. Implicit in the message: Vote Gore.

Perhaps the worst offender was Paul Begala, a Clinton-Gore operator and lawyer who effectively indicted all Bush supporters as gay-bashing, black-hating genocidal maniacs. Consider this excerpt recently tooled by Begala for, in which he wrote about the familiar red-and-blue U.S. map showing which candidates won which states.

He pointed out that red states (Bush's) include the states where: James Byrd (black) was lynched; Matthew Shepard (gay) was crucified on a split-rail fence; an Army private (thought to be gay) was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat; neo-Nazi skinheads murdered two African-Americans; Bob Jones University spews its anti-Catholic bigotry.

What sort of bigotry do you suppose permits an educated man to slander entire populations on the basis of random events committed by idiots in their midst? This column isn't long enough to list the heinous events that have punctuated the history of Gore's blue state of California, though given Begala's "logic" and the Rodney King episode, shouldn't California have gone for Bush?

It will be hard for honest Americans to forgive these distortions, no matter what Gore may say in retrospect. The damage is done. Meanwhile, the "will of the people," as measured by a Washington Post-ABC News poll published Monday, is that Gore should go home. For everyone's sake, let's hope he takes Jackson, Begala and Co. with him.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


11/23/00: The answers aren't so complicated
11/21/00: The devil -- or is it really Nurse Ratchet? -- in Mr. Gore
11/16/00:In the end, the winner may be loser
11/13/00: Eliminate popular vote -- at least in Palm Beach County
11/07/00: Lesser of 2 evils? It's more like the lesser of 2 lies
11/02/00: Latest Jones' saga exposes a big irony
10/31/00: Hate-crime legislation and anti-Bush ad are flawed
10/26/00: Taking it to the streets
10/23/00: Headlines blur fiasco of family
10/13/00: Forget polls: Bush passes turtle test
10/06/00: Feminism: A cup that's half full?
10/04/00: Election-year reality check: Abortion is here to stay
09/29/00: For Gore and Hollywood, the mirror has two faces
09/26/00: Oprahfication of presidential political: It's all about feelings
09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
09/15/00: So wear, oh wear, are we headed?
09/11/00: Do Steinem's wedding bells sound feminist death knells?
09/08/00: Grounded in her fears about flying
08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
08/29/00: AlGore wants to be his own man -- does he know who that is?
08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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