Ironic, isn’t it, that on the 50th anniversary of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door it’s entirely possible that Nelson Mandela may take leave of this very, very weird proposition we call life?
Mandela’s in bad shape, laying in a South African hospital bed with a serious lung infection, surrounded by his family. His former wife Winnie even stopped by yesterday. You know, if you’re 94 years old, already sickly, in intensive care fighting a recurring lung infection for the third time in six months — and you’re ex-wife shows up to pay her respects — you’ve got to figure the curtain’s about to fall.
One more bad sign: South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, says folks in that country ought to pray for the former prez. Politicians don’t pray for each other for because they have head colds.
Oh, just a reminder, it was the official position of this holy land during the administration of one Saint Ronald Reagan that Mandela and his African National Congress were terrorists. And, oh, guess what, Mandela himself wasn’t officially un-declared a terrorist here until July, 2008.
Mandela’s Robben Island Home During The Reagan Years
July goddamned 2008!
Anyway, George Wallace dramatically blocked the entrance of a couple of black kids to the University of Alabama on this date in 1963.
Here’s the official text of Wallace’s speech at that door, delivered moments before federalized Alabama National Guard soldiers escorted Vivian Malone and James Hood into the school so they might become students there. It’s a long, convoluted argument for the sovereignty of his state and you might not have the time or inclination to read it all. So, as a public service, I’ll provide a condensed version of it here:
We don’t want no niggers in our white schools.
A mere five years later, George C. Wallace ran for president of the United States, carrying five states with nearly 10 million votes, or 13.5 percent of the national total. As if Wallace’s own philosophies about his fellow human beings weren’t hair-raising enough, his running mate, former US Army General Curtis LeMay, suggested late in the campaign that this beacon of democracy just might have to use nuclear weapons to settle its little tiff with the Vietnamese.
The Youth Candidate?
You want more? Fine. Wallace and LeMay were the preferred ticket of the majority of young white men in the entire nation that year.
And you’re surprised Me Party-ists and other patriots are so freaked out over the presidency of Barack Obama?