Workers > Back in the Day

Divided over the "Uniter"

By Delbert L. Spurlock, Jr.

10/26/00 for Pop and Politics


This was done before the 2000 Election and ran in one of the original Political Blogs;
Pop and Politics.

Many political commentators have faulted African Americans for following the Democratic Party blindly like lemmings over a cliff despite the best efforts of the Republican Party to sound multiracial themes during the presidential campaign and the convention. Was this the year when a significant portion of the black vote should have turned towards the GOP? A black conservative who has served in Republican administrations argues quite the opposite in this look at the man at the head of the 2000 Republican ticket, maintaining that African Americans have always looked for good government above simple party loyalty.

Whether Bush is a uniter, as he claims, or a divider, as is likely, one thing is certain: his ``uniter not a divider'' mantra has stifled the Democrat response to Bush's risk to America. Bush's goals undermine the principles which have bound Americans together since the Depression: a sense of common destiny and respect for the rule of law. Saying so is truth telling, though it may be divisive--and scary. It needs to be said by Gore.

George Bush is a radical. A radical conservative, but a radical nevertheless. He sees as inadequate for Americans the moderate conservatism of Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and his father: He would nullify the remaining progressivism of our tax structure; he would undermine the promise of social security; he would constrict access to the courts for the less than powerful. At the same time he and his similarly thinking majority in Congress would offer more and more of American Democracy to the altar of our moneyed interests. 

It is the Bush policies which will divide Americans from themselves and from their government from day one of a Bush administration and for years to come. Republicans are not supposed to think like this about this fresh Republican alternative to ``Clinton-Gore.'' I do.

I wish I didn't. I wish I saw George Bush as others in and out of my Party see him: a man of uncommon vision, industry, and compassion. A proven leader. Someone who has mastered the lessons of our past as well as the issues of our time and the times to come. Someone who has excelled in the political and administrative arts as well as the social ones. I wish I could see in his record of public service (or even private enterprise) the flash of inventiveness, the steadiness in a testing time, and the young people he has nurtured and developed. I wish I could imagine his balancing of competing public and private interests for the general welfare of his community. I wish he had written something--perhaps about his philosophy of public service, or anything of substance--to reveal his depth, his trials, his

triumphs. I wish I could believe that he has read a Supreme Court decision. I wish I could envision him the master of those who inform his public decisionmaking rather than their servant. I wish I were confident that he had a vision of America besides its Texification. I wish I knew of the places he has visited in the world and a little of what he thought of the people he met. I wish I knew of the many lessons he must have learned from some of the great people who passed through his father's house.

I wish I had the clarity of vision to see in him what all those who two years ago must have seen in him when they pledged $50 M to his candidacy. George Bush said in his acceptance speech: ``For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime...'' Perhaps if I could see some of what I wish for and not wasted opportunities I would not be so scared for the country in a second Bush presidency.

Delbert L. Spurlock, Jr. served as the Deputy Secretary of Labor for the United States Department of Labor from 1991 to 1993. Mr. Spurlock also served as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs from 1983 to 1989, and as General Counsel for the Department of the Army from 1981 to 1983.