Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Nebraska Civil Rights Inititative -- Patrick McPherson

On a day that marks the death of one of the greatest political figures of the twentieth century, it seems only appropriate to talk about Ronald Reagan's vision of a color-blind society, and so I will.

Yesterday, we read in the Omaha World-Herald about a radio ad which advocates the end of affirmative action in Nebraska and is obviously directed at supporting the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. The initiative, should it secure enough signatures would be on the November ballot and would essessentially eliminate all racial preferenences in Nebraska government and education.

The radio ad is paid for by an out of state organization, the American Civil Rights Institute, which we are told is an organization sponsored by Ward Connerly, described by the Omaha World-Herald as 'a California businessman and affirmative action foe." Of course, the Omaha World-Herald reporter, Martha Stoddard, either in ignorance or by choice, fails to mention that Connerly is a former California Regent and a black man who successfully helped pass a similar initiative in California and in several other states. The article also mentions a good friend and conservative, David Kramer who has apparently become a spokesman for Nebraskans United which is apparently "the" group opposed to the initiative. Kramer rightfully objects to the ad which arouses the worst of racial sensitivities by using the names of Reverend Jeremiah Wright (you know, Senator Barack Obama's minister from Barack Obama's former church) and soon to be former Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers.

Clearly, the ad is in bad taste and poorly represents the thrust of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. Chalk one up for Kramer and his group--the financial supporters of which I haven't checked out but can certainly speculate on, but won't.

But where Kramer is right on the ad, he and his group, along with the editorial page of the Omaha World-Herald, use equally bad taste and scare tactics in their tirades about the inappropriateness of dollars from outside the state funding the initiative and the destruction such an initiative will reap upon our fair state.

With some credit to the editorial exiguousness of the Omaha World-Herald, it published a very thoughtful and well written piece in its 'Midlands Voices' section yesterday, written by Dwayne Ball, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. That piece does an excellent job of pointing out exactly why the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative should be passed in November should the petition secure enough votes. I'm not going to go into Ball's arguments. I think they are excellent and I hope you will read them. In fact, I hope you will read thoroughly the arguments from both sides.

Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King both wanted color blind societies where a person was judge not by the color of his/her skin or by their gender or by anything other than then character and ability. Affirmative action and the notion of it tries to relieve one so-called victim and through unintended consequences, which government so easily seems to create, creates more victims. It fosters this crazy notion of victim-hood. Worse yet, it diminishes the accomplishments of those it promotes over others. If you don't believe that you might take the time to read Clarence Thomas's Book, 'My Grandfathers Son'. See what Clarence believes the notion of an affirmative action slot in an Ivy League university did for him after he got out of school.

Dave Kramer is a fine conservative, but he is wrong in opposing the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. The ads, as Kramer notes, however, are inappropriate. But affirmative action preferences need to end. Ward Connerly and Clarence Thomas understand why as does associate professor Ball. So did Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan.


Eric said...

Affirmative action at the University level is required in order to obtain a lot of federal and private funding. If you want to get rid of it, do it at the federal level. Otherwise, we're just unilaterally disarming and putting our state at a huge competitive disadvantage. This is going to cost us real money if it passes.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Pat! Your comments, on point and well stated, deserve reader appreciation. (I am even considering including myself among them).