NBC’s Meet the Press was very adoring to Nelson Mandela today. In their adoration they were attempting to discount the fact that America was complicit in apartheid survival as long as it did.
President Obama’s remarks glossed over how vehemently the government of the United States, specifically Republicans, for a long time was against Nelson Mandela and the ANC. They never accepted that the African National Congress (ANC) was no different than our founding fathers, who picked up arms for freedom.
Al Sharpton silenced the round table as he placed into context America’s role in South Africa’s liberation. The USA was not a supporter of Nelson Mandela. Conservatives are attempting to rewrite history. Al Sharpton ensured that all around that table were forced to accept that fact. He ensured that all of those listening were well aware that Conservative stalwarts like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did not embrace freedom. They uttered the words but it was just for a select few.
“I think it is a betrayal of history to act as though as Nelson Mandela evolved the world embraced it. There was a real battle in this country,” Al Sharpton said. “So when Randall Robinson and Maxine Waters and Reverend Jackson led that fight … there was major contention. They were attacked for supporting communists. Let’s remember the ANC that he refers to, they were pursuing freedom. Many of the communist nations embraced them. This country did not. So it is not like they were born Marxist. They were born people seeking to be free. Some of the Marxist nations, either genuinely or in a self-interest way, tried to embrace that. This country did not, and fought that, and denounced them, and denigrated them. And I think that for us now to sugarcoat that is a betrayal of history. We chose sides. We chose the wrong sideLater when the Conservative panelist tried to sugarcoat Ronald Reagan’s role in the eventual liberation of South Africa, Al Sharpton would have none of it.
“Let’s be clear. Reagan vetoed, supported vetoing bills. Reagan denounced Mandela, called him names. He evolved after a protest movement here turned the tone and public opinion,” said Al Sharpton. “But let’s not act like Reagan was a major supporter of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. It’s just not true.”Americans must be made aware of our history. There are many reasons why many nations we believe should be aligned with us are not. If we are to understand the appeal of the likes of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff by the underclasses of these nations, we must understand our government’s support for their respective plutocracies.
Unless Americans are provided history and context, they will continue to elect politicians governed by self-centered policies that isolate Americans from what is best for the world as a whole. Nelson Mandela’s death highlights our past mistakes at the same time that it highlights an outcome assisted partly by the better angels of the American grassroots. Irrespective of government policies and objections, they led a movement against the South African evil, apartheid.