Tue, May

Eric Holder: Like George Wallace and Huey Long, a Thug Who Hurt the Cause of Civil Rights


ALPERN AT LARGE-Whether or not one voted for President Obama in 2008 or 2012, his election and re-election was supposed to harbor an improvement in race relations in this nation.   

Unfortunately, his choice of Eric Holder for Attorney General (and, by extension, his close friendship with Holder) calls into question whether Washington and the Justice Department is focused on uniting the nation ... or just to exact REVENGE.

Of course, the question of WHO the REVENGE is supposed to be aimed at is one well worth asking--because this nation doesn't just bleed red, white and blue--it also bleeds white, black, yellow and brown.  When our racially-diverse Olympic athletes or armed forces face the world, the world knows darned well where we come from, and what we're all about.  

So in the aftermath of Attorney Eric Holder's resignation, and in the aftermath of the tragedy that was and is Ferguson, Missouri, it's fair to ask ourselves as a nation--particularly those white and other Americans who voted for President Obama in 2008 as a leader to move beyond the divisiveness of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton--are we better off, and more united, since this President and Attorney General took office? 

Well, if you think that "better off" and "united" means stepping on the collective neck of Americans who, after weighing the issues, have opted to become Republican, Libertarian or conservative, and getting them to "shut up" and be persecuted, I suppose you're pretty happy--but for intellectually and morally honest Democrats and liberals, the persecution of any group of Americans is downright abhorrent. 

There are very real racial issues to be explored and confronted, but the cartoonish and sophomoric idea of "blacks are victims ... and good" and "whites are persecutors ... and bad" is as ridiculous as the converse statement.  There are black victims of both white and non-white police officers, and of fellow blacks, and there is NO such thing as an acceptable violation of anyone's civil rights (including the civil rights of police officers). 

Furthermore, as brown/black racial animosity overshadows the everyday lives of minority Americans (who are on their way to no longer being a minority), and as the rise of Asian Americans becomes an everyday occurrence in this nation, the repetitive picking at the scab of anti-black racism in this nation becomes more annoying and less relevant by the day. 

And as a West Los Angeles resident who has worked exhaustively for over a decade to advocate for a regional rail transportation system to bring the different geographic, economic and (of course) racial neighborhoods of the City and County together, getting past our racial divides carries a great deal of meaning to me. 

Add to that my being a dermatologist, where I'm all-too-aware of how ridiculous racial differences are (differences in skin color have amazingly no relevance to intelligence or capabilities of all patients and of all ethnicities), and it's understandable why I or any educated individual would find it both exasperating and annoying to see any political figure, of any race, adhere to racial animosities for personal or political gain. 

Hence my conclusion, and that of many caring and educated Americans, that outgoing Attorney General Holder's departure couldn't come quickly enough, and his close friendship with President Obama merits more than a few questions about whether this President and Attorney General wanted to represent the entire nation ... or just a portion of it: 

1) As Attorney General Holder's comments to Yahoo Global News Editor Katie Couric revealed, Holder was both concerned about the dangers of ISIS, Khorasan and al-Qaida creating domestic terrorism, and dismayed at how Americans were becoming radicalized and joining those movements. 

But did he ever think that his own left-wing and thuggish tactics were part of the reason why America was becoming divided, and some even radicalized (particularly African-Americans)?  Really, now... 

... the Fort Worth military base massacre was "workplace violence"? 

... trying alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court in New York? 

... sympathizing with black residents of Ferguson, Missouri to the extent that he helped stoke the riots and violence that occurred after the shooting death of Michael Brown?  And while both conservatives and liberals were appalled at the military equipment and show of force against the protestors, were the protestors not part of the problem as well?  It's not THAT hard to proclaim "a pox on both of their houses", is it? 

... ignoring and avoiding the recent beheading and attacks (both carried out and threatened) in Oklahoma? Yes, there are radicalized Americans of all colors, but it doesn't take much to conclude that there is a dramatic overrepresentation of extremists/Islamists among us who are black.  We should be encouraging black Americans to rediscover America as THEIR nation, not stoke the resentment that Eric Holder has done. 

2) Yes, Attorney General Holder knew first-hand what it was to be racially-profiled, but did he rise above his personal experiences and really fight for the dialogue about race he claimed our nation needed, or did he REALLY just want a pedantic, pediatric and petulant monologue that opportunistically came about with the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown tragedies?  Really, now... 

... did Holder think he was the only victim of this world?  I've been physically attacked and my career threatened by bigots and racists because of my race (never mind that, as a Jew, I would have once been considered "non-white"), and I've had family and friends of all ethnicities become victims of racism at one time or another, but REVENGE has no role in a nation that wishes to heal. 

… ignoring and avoiding the years of black-on-white "Knockout Game" violence until a white perpetrator carried it out on a black victim in Houston? 

… establishing a "presumed guilt before innocence" in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases as a new form of "justice" in this nation? 

3) Finally, Holder's worst offense was and is in using the Attorney General's office as a political weapon against those who were on President Obama's "enemy list" in a manner that would have made former and late President Richard Nixon blush.  Really, now... 

… ignoring the IRS attacks on conservative groups before the last presidential election? 

… ignoring the gun-running disaster that was Fast and Furious, and which led to the death of a Border Patrol agent, and which merited contempt of Congress charges? 

… ignoring the plight of an innocent U.S. Marine rotting in a Mexican prison for political expedience? 

… taking the stance that voter I.D. laws (which potentially protects both parties against voter fraud) were unconstitutional, and demonizing those cities and states who merely wanted adherence to current immigration law as also unconstitutional? 

The epitaph and historical references of the term of office of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder (and, by extension, President Obama) will likely note that Holder had a glorious opportunity to bring the nation together, to recognize all sides of the thorny issues of racism and racial inequality, and to craft both a spirit of compromise and mutual forgiveness that recognized heroes and villains of all sides and of all colors. 

Instead, Attorney General Eric Holder (and, by extension, President Obama) chose an attack-the-GOP-and-defend-the-President-at-all-costs approach, which is NOT what the Attorney General is supposed to be.  The Attorney General is not supposed to be a racial/power-obsessed thug like George Wallace, Huey Long or even Richard Nixon...regardless of the presumed merits of his efforts. 

Perhaps those on the Left watching the thrashing the nation, and shredding of our national cohesion, under this current administration (and blaming only one side, of course!) would do well to ask what happened when this occurred with a Republican President...like, say, one Richard M. Nixon and his band of politically-obsessed cronies.   

Attorney General Holder's job of being a watchdog for the entire nation--including the President--was compromised by his close friendship with that same President. 

And we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that the next Attorney General (and, by extension, the next President) will finally start healing the damage caused by a power-driven, revenge-driven, politically-driven Attorney General who will be a prime example of how NOT to be an American leader.


(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. He also does regular commentary on the MarkIsler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)






Vol 12 Issue 79

Pub: Sep 30, 2014


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