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Dec 07 2013

Co-opting the Dead

Nelson Mandela stood up against a great injustice and was willing to pay a huge price for that, and that’s the reason he is mourned today, because of that struggle that he performed…and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that.

This is from Rick Santorum.

This is not an argument that’s a good idea in any shape way or form.

Because on the scale of oppression the government forcing and pushing insurance companies to provide universal coverage thus enabling more Americans to get healthcare is no where near what Black South Africans went through in South Africa.

In fact as ideas go the encouragement of everyone to get insurance and so have a basic level of coverage so that they are capable of getting prompt healthcare is NOT an evil while the enforcement of segregation and the brick ceiling to the progress of non-whites. This is “racism”. 

There are a lot of world leaders out there today who “changed” a tune. To them Mandela was a terrorist in the 70s and 80s. When Mandela became the symbol of the Apartheid struggle in South Africa and when he became President he became an ugly truth. That they backed the losing horse and now had to eat crow.

So we watched these men flip flop over themselves to try and not look like they were the villains of the piece in their day.

And that is fine, let’s give them the benefit of “We have grown as people”.

But let us not forget that they did oppose him. And let us not forget that good old Frothy Mix here has just equated his struggle against something good as comparable to Mandela’s.

Because 20 years outside prison without any beatings is worse. And who knows what horrors Santorum has faced that compare to the harsh light of the prison that was kept to such a level that Mandela’s eyes were damaged.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I was read this poem when I was a kid and I never saw the value of it until I was an adult. Invictus speaks of fortitude to suffer through the worst and still stay standing and I would like to think it’s to blame for my stubborness.

When I had to read it at school, I was told it was Nelson Mandela’s “favourite” poem. That he used to write it out when time were bad in prison. And when they took away his paper and his pens he scratched it into the wood of the desk so that they could never beat him.

Mandela was a polite revolutionary. You can be polite to the people you fight. There were other polite revolutionaries like Nehru and Gandhi who both influenced Mandela a lot. They were polite well educated, well read men who broke laws on purpose and in a spectacular fashion simply to fight for their causes.

I don’t condone Mandela’s turn to violence but I do realise he grew from that into a better person. A person who threw hate into the sea.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    resident_alien

    That Santorum must be living in a parallel universe. The Nelson Mandela of this universe was was a fierce advocate for making the wealth of a nation available even to the poorest of its citizens – through, among other things, universal health care. He might well have disapproved of “Obamacare”, but only because that particular model does not go far enough. For an USAian Republican to compare his own childish, spiteful mouthfrothery with the trials and tribulations of one of the most inspiring men the 20th century has produced does not just take the cake, it blows up the whole fucking bakery.
    German Conservatives point and laugh at their USAian brethren, such as they are, since it was the ultraconservative, rabidly anti-socialist Otto von Bismarck who laid the foundation for Germany’s public healthcare system.

  2. 2
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    Because on the scale of oppression the government forcing and pushing insurance companies to provide universal coverage thus enabling more Americans to get healthcare is no where near what Black South Africans went through in South Africa.

    Even worse, from Santorum’s view, South Africa tries to provide direct universal health coverage through a government health service.

    I was read this poem when I was a kid and I never saw the value of it until I was an adult. Invictus speaks of fortitude to suffer through the worst and still stay standing and I would like to think it’s to blame for my stubborness.

    It’s worth remembering that Henley wrote “Invictus” (not his own choice of title) when he had lost one leg to tuberculosis of the bone and was undergoing long and painful treatment to try to save the other. It was not mere rhetoric.

    I don’t condone Mandela’s turn to violence but I do realise he grew from that into a better person. A person who threw hate into the sea.

    The policy of the South African government in the 1950s and 1960s forced its opponents to violence. Any attempt to oppose apartheid as a policy except by violence was made impossible. For example, the Liberal Party of South Africa, conservative by the standards of any other country, finally had to dissolve itself because it did not and would not distinguish between its members on racial grounds.

  3. 3
    michaelbusch

    Santorum continues his pattern of deliberately-cultivated ignorance and maliciously-wrong statements.

    There is particular irony in his transparent attempt to set up a false equivalence with Mandela. As Avicenna probably already knows and resident_alien has hinted at, once of Mandela’s first policy changes (in his couple of months in office) was to institute free government-sponsored health care for children under the age of 6, free health care for pregnant and lactating women, and some coverage for a larger number of people – although there have been serious problems with accessibility of that care for much of the population. e.g. http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/pubs/pdf/general/gauge2006/gauge2006_healing.pdf

  4. 4
    Francisco Bacopa

    Just google “Santorum” to find out about something many times better than Rick Santorum that shares his same name.

  5. 5
    resident_alien

    @ Francis Bacopa: Aaaargh! That’s disgusting. And hilarious. And maybe a metaphor for the contents of his speech….

  6. 6
    smrnda

    Rich white men in the US (particularly Republicans) view themselves as a tiny oppressed minority, beneath the horrendous iron boot of poor people and government bureaucrats. It’s not ignorance, it’s just their belief that they are aristocrats who the rabble are refusing to acknowledge as better than everyone else and entitled to more privileges. They clearly know that poor people exist and struggle, and they just think that’s how god intended it to be.

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