Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mfume quit...or fired?

How about that? I actually feel bad for Kweisi Mfume, the recently resigned President of the NAACP.

Make that, the recently deposed president of the NAACP. While I'm at it, I'll refer to the organization as the NBLAC (pronounced "No Black"): National Black Liberals Against Conservatives (or Caucasians). When you see how their Chairman, Julian Bond, refers to Republicans as "Taliban" and "the white people's party", you're hard pressed to dispute the NBLAC label.

Anyway, much was made last week about Mfume's "retirement", and the media fawned all over him. Now it looks like maybe he did deserve his props, but for other reasons. From Human Events Online:

Don’t believe the well scripted press conference where former President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kweisi Mfume, announced his resignation. Mfume did not resign from the nation’s oldest and most prestigious civil rights organization. He was kicked out, following a long simmering feud with NAACP Chairman Julian Bond.

The two began feuding after Mfume nominated National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice for his 2003 NAACP Image Award. Furious that Mfume was reaching out to the Bush administration, Bond responded by nominating "Boondocks" cartoonist Aaron McGruder for his Image Award. McGruder had ridiculed Rice in his comic strip and later called her a “murderer” for her role in the war in Iraq.

The rift grew as Mfume continued to reach out to the Republican Party. Mfume realized that by reflexively voting Democrat in every election, the black voting populace has given away most of their political bartering power. After all, what incentive is there for either party to go out on a limb for blacks, if it is taken for granted that blacks will automatically vote Democrat? In effect, the black voting populace has created conditions that make it very easy for both parties to take them for granted. Mfume rightly reasoned that by reaching out to the Republican Party on issues that they already agree with -- like empowering faith based charities, supporting school vouchers, etc. -- the black voting populace can send the message that they’re no longer willing to blindly support the Democrats. Faced with the prospect of fleeing voters, the Democrats would be forced to make new overtures. This competition, in turn, would instill both parties with a sense of urgency for addressing those issues that black Americans routinely rate as their chief concerns. This competitive pressure would provide the black voting populace with increased political options -- and increased bartering power. Somehow this point was lost on Bond, who dug in his heels with mind numbing intransigence. Over the next year and a half, the rift became unmendable.


The final tear came after the election. Mfume suggested sending a letter to President Bush, mapping out ways that they could work together to help the community. Bond rejected the idea. Mfume sent the letter anyway. To Bond, this was an unforgivable. A few weeks later, Bond had Mfume voted out. The message was clear: There is no room within the NAACP for intellectual diversity. Just loyal servitude to the Democratic Party.

This is a crime. This is a shame. This is the sad state of the nation’s most storied civil rights organization.