On Tuesday, world leaders and public figures from across the globe gathered in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and revered anti-apartheid crusader. For what seemed like the first time in years, Democrats and Republicans united… in their tributes to Mandela. At the memorial service, the climate of respect for Madiba was so deep that US President Barack Obama even shook hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz. So, of course, Mandela’s death has inspired similar feelings among Americans themselves. Or, has it? Sadly, no. As conservative politicians like Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio took to Facebook and Twitter to honour Mandela, some of their constituents did the opposite. Such posts were flooded with highly-rated comments calling Mandela a Communist, killer, and liar, accusing these same conservative politicians of getting into bed with the supposed secret Communist terrorist menace symbolised by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Mandela.
Soon after Mandela’s death on Thursday night, Gingrich wrote a short, deeply felt tribute to Mandela, calling him “one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime” and “the father of an integrated democratic South Africa”. Alarmingly, Gingrich’s support for Mandela enraged many of his supporters. Many of their attacks on Gingrich and Mandela were racial:
- “He hated America, Newt. Quit pandering to the blacks”.
- “Come on Newt. He was a communist and a murder similar to our currant [sic] president. Are you too being baffled by the main stream media”.
Backlash against Gingrich from his supporters was so great that the former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate felt compelled to write an even longer separate post, praising Mandela, and asking his commenters what they would’ve done in his place. Gingrich even went on to discuss his horror at the comments on CNN, saying, “If you’d been imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of them in a cell eight foot by seven foot, how do you think you would’ve emerged? Would you have been angry? Would you have been bitter? Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison as an astonishingly wise, patient, and compassionate person… before you criticise him, ask yourself, what would you have done in his circumstances?”
Still, Gingrich’s most hardcore supporters refused to listen. One commenter… who clearly has no idea what apartheid entailed, or of what South Africa has become… wrote:
- “[Mandela] didn’t turn S. Africa into a place of equality. He flipped the roles and has now made it racist toward all white people… So I am sorry Mr. Gingrich, but I will never honor a butchering communist”.
- “Mandella and Fidel Castro were best friends. That’s all I need to know. That and Obama woshiped [sic] him. ’nuff said”.
Gingrich was far from the only Republican to suffer a major backlash over supporting Mandela. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote, “Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe”, and it wasn’t long before his supporters, too, let loose racially-charged, supposedly anti-Communist, nonsense:
- “Why don’t all you Mandela lovers head on over to South Africa and see what’s going on now that ‘Mandela’s people’ have control of the nation. … Get out and go mix with the people, experience what life is really like. Especially if you’re white”.
- “He was also a huge supporter of abortion! Don’t put him too high up! Careful Mr Cruz”
- Another replied, using some of the most obvious racist code words: “It’s the one thing Mandela got right. Abortion among his supporters improves humanity as a whole”.
- “glad he’s dead”.
- “John, from your comments does it mean you support communism and the killing of white people?”
10 December 2013
International Business Times
The comments speak for themselves. It’s not for nothing that the GOP is the “Stupid Party”. Remember… it defends the greed of the unfettered Free Market. “The love of money is the root of all evil”… that says it all, and it says why NO Christian can support the godless agenda of the Republican Party. No… being anti-abortion doesn’t cancel out indiscriminate drone strikes, unlimited extrajudicial detention, the promiscuous use of capital punishment, coddling of the Affluent Effluent, and attacks against social programmes. It’s EVIL… that’s all that I can say. I oppose all who support such demonic rubbish… especially, the “clergy” who do so. I’ll see you on the other side of the barricades… now, that’s “’nuff said”.
Nevertheless, the Republicans who spoke well of Mandela DID stick out their necks, the contemporary GOP being what it’s become. I bow to them in that. Courage is courage, and, sometimes, your foe shows it. Acknowledge it or be found a pig. That’s that…