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March 1, 2000     The Arlington Times
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March 1, 2000

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,l@ch 1, 2000 OPINION The Arlington Times/The Marysville Globe o:o B3 Outrider by Garry Wdls South Carolina: Shame of the nation On the Right by William F. Bucldey Jr. Is the FBI mad at you? a Carolina is a racist, hater. But the way to get there is to pander to are. That is why George W. University to sound pious that would not let his brother has an interracial marriage. a descen. Words terms for his a an adviser It is humil- 'nation that to SUch highest The great sin of our nation was slavery, which had a longer history than Nazism has also of to the who was going to defy polls truths now hurnbly bows Says the state does not want any- on the flying of the is not a South Carolinian. tradition of the South, a , to by flying the flag - I of introducing "gag laws" to up about slavery, a thing that before the Civil War, making right to petition if the grievance involved crumples non-heroically to this making clear calls to treat they deserve. Colleges Haverford, Bryn Mawr and L to take part in sports events it flaunts the flag. The league has called and said that it is consider- sin is not answered. USA Track have athletes stay in pri- in Olympic trials in the state, to punish the hotels and restaurants of the state for their acquiescence in the act of big- otry. Why do Americans resent the flying of the Confederate flag? For the same reason Germans should resent the flying of the swastika. Defenders of the Nazi symbol can say everything South Carolinians do about their emblem -- that many people fought for it with a sense of German tradi- tion and not with an adherence to anti- Semitism; that the record of those fighters' suffer- ing should be honored; that other things than the Holocaust were done and endured under that flag. All true -- and irrelevant. The great sin of the German nation was advanced under that ban- ner, and it is forever tainted by it. The great sin of our nation was slavery, which had a longer history than Nazism of denying digni- W, liberty and life to human beings out of racial hate. That history was being defended, among other things, under the Confederate flag -- just as anti-Semitism was being fought for, among other things, under the shadow of the swastika. Those outside South Carolina can recognize that fact, and honor the victims of the racists, not the racists themselves, by responding to feelings of the vic- tims' heirs. The Confederate flag is an affront to all blacks, as the swastika is an affront to all Jews. In Austria, Joerg Haider has not flown the swastika; he has merely voiced some praise for Hitler's SS officers. Yet people all around the world are offended by his moral obliquity. Musicians and other artists are refusing to perform in Austria while-Haider is honored there. The European Union has rebuked the country. In this response we do , not find the moral .torpor and defiance of decent feeling that South Carolina exhibits. Any winner there is darkened by the shadow of the flag he creeps under, and comes to later office morally diminished. COMMUNITY VOICE A%nonpolitical story told last week of the FBrs no doubt unhappy release of one ore file by the bureau's late director, J. gar Hoover. The file discloses impor- tant things about Mr. Hoover and vital things about the United States. The Freedom of Information Act amendments of 1974 require federal agencies to give up files that pertain to any American citizen who * petitions to see them. There are commonsense exceptions: You can't write in to find out what somebody said about you when the FBI was con- ducting a security check. What transpired last week were bureau memo- randums on the activity of Murray Kempton (1917-1997). Kempton had briefly joined the Young Communist League in the 1930s and, after the war, wrote a provocative newspaper column. He was correctly acknowledged, by colleagues in the craft, as supreme, but that isn't what Mr. Hoover cared about. He cared about Kempton's general impiety and his sallies in the 1970s in defense of individual members of the Black Panther movement. There are those who believe the FBI has no business keeping an eye on writers. This seems on the face of it absurd, the equivalent of presuming that writers can't engage in illegal activity. What is interesting in the Kempton file isn't that the FBI was keeping its eyes on him. It is that the material by Kempton, shown to Director Hoover, elicited comments from Hoover that reinforce what we now know about him, thanks mostly to author Natalie Robins and her book, "Alien Ink: The FBI's War on Freeedom of Expression." Mr. Hoover could not stand unorthodox opin- ion, especially if it touched on the FBI. The materi- al relating to Kempton reveals scribbles in the handwriting of the director expressing himself on Kempton. On one column brought to his attention he wrote, "l am surprised that Scripps-Howard are taking on this rat." On another, "He is a real stinker." I can contribute to the story line the following: While a student in college, I conducted a forum on the FBI and its activity, which so endeared me to Mr. Hoover that he offered me a job and subse- quently posed for a photograph with my 6-year-old son. In 1967, National Review published a parody, a facsimile of The New York Times featuring the It Is fine that the animosity of the head of the FBI can be - undetectable. kind of news liberal Americans would most relish seeing ("Regents Hand Over Campus to Students in California," "Federal Curb Demanded on Big Business," "Papal Encyclical Abandons 1870s Infallibility Rule"). One story reported that Director J. Edgar Hoover had been arrested on a morals charge. We at National Review thought this hilari- ous and did not learn until the publication of Ms. Robins' book that Hoover greeted the parody with thunderous denunciations, ordering the bureau to boycott me. It was so with Kempton. He learned of this in 1989 (17 years after Hoover's death), and wrote: "My career's vicis- situdes have all been of my own doing, and my malice toward Hoover, which was always small, and his malice toward me, which seems to have been outsized, were alike inconsequential for help or harm." It is fine that the animosity of the head of the FBI can be - undetectable. The people on whom Mr. Hoover breathed fire in his quarters were simply untroubled, so long as they abided by the law. It can be argued that Kempton's singular charm was his protection from Mr. Nixon and his administration. There is a point here. Even Bishop John Spong, the unorthodox Episcopalian who retired last month with many fireworks, might have forgiven Kempton's treatment of him. The sentence here quoted is from a letter from Kempton, revealing that on some subjects he was anything but unorthodox: "My church was inspired by a languid but dutiful zeal to serve the royal will with a bill of divorce. The Book of Common Prayer - the envy even of you Romans who deserve to be envied for everything else - was established as the foundation of this shadowed faith; and every line and comma was passed through the gimlet eye of FJizabeth I. " ... A church founded on premises so entirely dubious has of course a special duty to proceed thereafter with the strictest logic toward its con- clusion, which makes it curious to see so many bishops still debating the ordination of women and homosexuals without ever troubling their brother Spong in Newark, who expresses his doubt about the Resurrection on National Public Radio and then dispenses the wafers at Easter Communion and indulges the cardinal ecclesiastical sin of collecting your rations and quarters and then stiffing the hotelkeeper by declining to sing for your supper." Imagine dubbing such a man a stinking rat! Aldrich We wouldn't need preemp- still in the laundry. With school the tire measures such as uniforms uniforms, Mom is no longer if... children came prepared to slave to what the kids want to learn, to cooperate with teach- wear in the morning. She knows, he ers, and to respect their fellow they know, and that extinguishes one students. If only they could leave a lot of domestic brush-fires to a small part of their preoccupa- before they can even ignite. for corn-tion with Self outside the class- Granted, freedom of dress that room. Here are some more of the is the American Way. So is gun important "Big Ifs": violence, endemic obesity, con- don't If all kids are supported centration of wealth at the top, The by parents who hold the nurtur- and a host of other excesses. ed argu- ing of their children above their Freedom of dress, like any other YOu'd own desires and fantasies, freedom taken to excess, loses on one If all the kids come to its virtue. Critics of change are school carrying a sense of self- strangely blinded to the univer- worth, so they know they can sal precept that one has to give and should achieve, up something in order to gain done for If children express them- something greater. It has to do School selves through their creativewith getting life's junk out of the accomplishments, rather than way to make room for improve- attention-getting dress and ment. a that grooming. While most of the world If dress and grooming goes to school in uniforms, we Unl- haven't become symbols of don't. While the rest of the world cliques that pose a distracting uses the metric system, we they caste system among students, don't. While the rest of the world If insecure students aren't measures temperature in Celsius, extra made to feel small for not being we don't. We're out of step on to able to afford the current in- many counts, but opponents of of get- style clothing, change like it that way and per- to If a classroom-culture of sist in bullying their agendas and individual self-awareness hasn't onto the rest of us. become the end-all and be all ofSchool uniforms in stu. uni. a school day. Marysville are an experiment. of "ifs." If all these were in place, There is much to be said for there'd be no reason for uni-them and much against. When forms. Or visits to the principal's each school year of each child's office, or time out in the hall, or life is precious and not to be ~ltr- detention after school, or penal- relived, it seems prudent to ty assignments, or suspensions, apply any measure that shows to Show me that place. I want topromise of giving kids a better good move there, start in life. What's to lose? Moms should think about Some critics might be offended that those high-pressure morningsby school uniforms, but no one rarer when Junior is throwing a fit will be hurt. because his way-cool duds are With a subscription to The Marysville Globe or The Arlington Times you can stay in tune with your community. GLOBE TIME, good th, ru Mar h g. 2OO0 I 1220 Second Street Mary vllle 360-659-4706