Putting aside how upset I was at Bush’s selection as president by the ridiculously biased Supreme Court, as a columnist I can be assured of enough material for a thousand articles. And the Democrat in me sings as I watch the headlines explode with news of the recent foibles, such as headlines that announce that the nominee for labor secretary had an illegal alien living in her home and doing work for her at below minimum wage. The sheer irony of it is staggering. For the next four years, keep your eyes on Attorney General John Ashcroft for all the amusement and bad decisions you can handle. Ashcroft hit the headlines early for a speech he gave to Bob Jones University, which later awarded him an honorary degree.
This may not seem important in and of itself until you realize what Bob Jones University is. BJU is infamous for having a ban on interracial dating and marriage. A man named James Landrith, who is married to a woman not of his race, sent in an application only to receive a letter with the following statement: “Although there is no verse in the Bible that dogmatically says that races should not intermarry, the whole plan of God as He has dealt with the races down through the ages indicates that interracial marriage is not best for man. We do believe we see principles, not specific verses, to give us direction for the avoidance of it.” I love institutionalized racism!
This ban on interracial dating ended suddenly only because the president of BJU, Bob Jones III, was almost embarrassed into ending it – impromptu – on the Larry King Live show when King pointed out to him the ridiculousness of it all. Jones said: “We don’t have to have that rule. In fact, as of today, we have dropped the rule.” At least the university is flexible.
The truth is that BJU is founded on racism and hatred. It is known for calling the Pope “Satan,” and preaching hatred of all Catholics. It claims it tries to bring harmony into a multiracial community, but harmony requires total acceptance, nothing less. And our John Ashcroft really speaks to these people. For the record, so did “Dubya.” Nice choice in a president, America.
The fact that he has chosen to ally himself with this university instead of countless more tolerant and diverse schools, shows him to be rigidly dogmatic. One might wonder if this will have any impact on his position as attorney general, and the answer is yes. He claimed, “It’s against my religion to impose my religion,” which is an out-and-out lie, as Pentecostals believe that “every member is a minister, called to carry the gospel to those who do not believe” (The New York Times, Jan. 14). What happens when, as attorney general, he must chose to rigorously enforce a law such as preventing violence at abortion clinics, when he is completely antagonistic toward any type of abortion, even in cases of incest and rape? Do we really believe this man will put aside his unyielding beliefs in order to do what the law says? Ashcroft had the gall to announce that it is the role of the government to “legislate morality.” Combine that with the well-founded fears of Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Executive Director Barry Lynn, who claims “he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the separation of church and state” (The New York Times, Jan. 14).
It appears that Bush has pulled the wool over the voters’ eyes. He claims himself a compassionate conservative (death-penalty governor of the year notwithstanding), and surrounds himself with the hardest conservatives money can buy. Let us look at highlights of the former senator’s record. First, he voted against trade sanctions if China sells weapons of mass destruction (Sept. 13, 2001), and also voted against prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation (September, 1996). He voted in favor of an amendment prohibiting flag burning (December, 1999), and also voted to take funding from renewable and solar energy. For anyone who is interested, a complete list of his positions can be found at the following Web site: issues2000.org. His horrid decisions are too numerous to reprint here. In all, we realize that Ashcroft is nothing more than what people feared Bush would nominate, and that is the worst possible choice. To his credit, he does have some good votes on record, but those will no doubt be covered in the dark shadow that is about to loom menacingly over the White House for four years. Keep your eyes peeled, America: this is only going to get more and more exciting.
Rikki Fields is a Rutgers College senior majoring in English. Her column, “The Fruvous Quill,” runs on alternate Thursdays.
Copyright 2004 The Daily Targum