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Politics Mondays: Black Support For War by Armstrong Williams

Since 9-1-1, race in America has become far less an issue. Many Americans have come to the realization that our enemies hate all Americans. However, there are those that will go to any extreme to keep America divided along racial lines. It is how they get their power, relevance and financial resources. These racial hustlers model themselves as the high priests of blackness.

Lately, the high priests have been particularly outspoken in their opposition to the war.

Jesse Jackson voiced outrage over the war and called for "a war on poverty, not a war on the poor." All Sharpton accused the Bush administration of putting their thirst for oil above "the interest of the people." Presidential Candidate Carol Moseley-Braun plans to make her opposition to the war the centerpiece of her campaign. David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that focuses on black issues, told the Washington Times that Bush "is not likely to get black support for something like this [the war]." Bositis cited a pervasive distrust for the Bush administration amongst large pluralities of the black voting public. Cliff Kelley, a black host on Chicago's WVON-AM, even went so far as to say that the vast majority of blacks are against the war. 9 out of 10 of the callers on his radio show oppose the war, said Kelley in a Washington Times interview.

These are the headliners of the civil rights movement. They are our torchbearers in the dark. And if you listen to them, you begin to get the impression that they speak for black America when they declare their opposition to the war. This is how they make a living: by toting the same tired rhetoric that keeps blacks pumping their fists at the establishment. They want American blacks to believe that the government is ignoring their concerns. They want American blacks to believe that they are forever victims. This is how they make a living-by stirring racial tensions.

But the war on Iraq cannot be distilled into racial rhetoric. It is about securing the well being of all Americans. That is why many American blacks actually support the war. In fact, a recent Washington Post/ ABC News poll found that 49 percent of blacks backed the war. Another study by the Pew Research Center found that 44 percent of blacks favored war.

For obvious reasons, The Jesses Jacksons' and Al Sharptons' ignore these numbers. They claim to speak for the overwhelming majority. Their speeches are studded with the term "we," referring to the black populace en masse. With weighty indignation they wonder aloud what stake "we" have in this struggle. They insinuate that the Bush administration is more concerned with foreign oil than with domestic policy (nice bumper sticker material). In not so subtle terms, they do what they always do: distill complex issues into some form of race baiting. The public is bombarded with this bourgeois view that blacks cannot trust the Republicans.

To be sure, their fist-pumping rhetoric does solicit some knee jerk reactions amongst the black voting populace. But they hardly speak for all of us. Quite a few black Americans are deeply sensible to the fact that our enemies do not distinguish between race when they plot attacks on American interests. For example, the September 11 hijackers did not aim their planes at white people. For them, it was it was enough that they were killing Americans and, perhaps, fracturing those social patterns that keep us huddled together as a coherent society.

One has to be pretty egocentric not to realize this.

Yet, even as America comes together to face our enemies united, there is Jesse Jackson, plastered all over our television sets, insinuating that black America has no stake in this war.

There exists another view that is supported by many American blacks. That view is that our enemies are not distilling this issue into race. The crude fact is that our attackers hate ALL Americans.

And that alone makes this our war.

Armstrong Williams can be contacted via e-mail at:

Monday, May 5, 2003

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