WE'RE ENDING THE HATE Statement by Dr. Lenora Fulani November 11, 1999
National Press Club, Washington, DC
I'm here today to give my endorsement to Patrick Buchanan in his bid for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party.
In my high school chemistry class I learned that one of the basic laws of magnetism is that opposites attract. But what we are doing here today seems to put these laws to a very severe test.
In traditional political terms, Pat Buchanan stands for all the things that black progressives such as myself revile. In traditional political terms, I'm certain that Pat would say the same about me.
So, how did we get to be standing here together with me endorsing his candidacy? Because we have a common interest in overthrowing the traditional political terms.
Like Pat, I am a controversial figure in American politics. We both like a good fight. Pat's decision to leave the Republican Party was predicated on a recognition that he had to do something to create a new environment for having serious fights, serious debates on public policy. Until we reform the political process itself34 until we get the Big Money out and the Little People in34 you can't have any kind of serious policy debate.
This is particularly true for black America. Black people are more marginalized than we've been for over a generation. Our voter turnout is nearly ten percentage points lower than it was when the civil and voting rights movement peaked. In the last presidential election half the eligible black voters did not go to the polls. Less than one third of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in 1996. Restrictions on voter registration and on ballot access, inequities in campaign financing and other laws which favor incumbents, bind African Americans to a Democratic Party which has subjected us to a system of postmodern political apartheid.
Black leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton - not to mention virtually every black elected official in the country - have insisted that the partisan divide and the ideological divide as prescribed by the Democratic Party remain the Mason Dixon line of American politics. But I refuse to stand behind that line because I believe that until black America can be independent it cannot be free.
To be unwilling to cross that line at a time when we so desperately need new alliances is hypocrisy of the highest order. Pat Buchanan and the Reform Party offer the black community the opportunity to join in new alliances. In particular, in an alliance with white blue collar Americans. With so many black Americans unemployed or underemployed, you might call it a blue collar/no collar coalition. And if we break the "collar barrier," by bringing these two populations together, we will have also broken the color barrier that divides the American people to this day.
My relationship to the Left establishment in American politics, to whom I have been persona non grata for 20 years, is similar to my relationship to the black establishment. My critique of the liberal left is perhaps best understood in clinical terms. I am a developmental psychologist by profession, and I have a diagnosis of the Left. I think they're deluded. And they've been suffering from the same delusion for the last 25 years.
They actually believe that they can take over the Democratic Party. Worse still, when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected, they believed they had taken over the Democratic Party. But far from the Left having taken over the Democratic Party, the progressive movement was taken over by the Democrats. The American Left, like the black establishment - and the two are closely connected - refuse to take seriously the need to build an independent movement. They won't partner up with politically incorrect allies, which is just what you need to do if you're going to go up against the corruption of the two party system.
Pat Buchanan couldn't be more politically incorrect. He comes into this campaign with little connection to black America or to American progressivism. If anything, he is suspect. He has been accused of being a racist, of having fascistic sympathies, of being bigoted towards gay people, and of making remarks that are provocative or insensitive - designed to inflame the sensibilities of his own base.
Pat Buchanan is not a racist or a fascist or a bigot. He is not a hater. He has a great passion for America and a great disgust for the institutions that oppress ordinary Americans. Like me, Pat can't stand hypocrisy. If there's one thing that black America needs, it's an end to hypocrisy.
We need something else, too. In a word, we need an end to the hate. Since 1968 the race card has been the trump card of two party politics. The propaganda is that one party hates black people. And that the other party hates the people who hate black people.
Pat and I have both been demonized as haters. He's the official right-wing hater. I'm the official left-wing hater. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about, because some of you are among those who insisted on dehumanizing us in this way.
But Pat and I are not the haters. We're ending the hate. In asking me for my support, Pat Buchanan was saying it's time to end the hate34 it's time to bring black and white America together.
I have to say in all candor, that he - together with my very good friend Pat Choate - made me an offer I could not refuse. And so I'm here today to accept it. I'm going to take Pat Buchanan to 125th St. in Harlem. We're going to have lunch at Sylvia's. I'm going to take him to speak at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. And this meeting won't have to be a secret, like the one Al Gore had, or the one Hillary Clinton is trying to have.
When Pat announced his candidacy in Virginia I was there and it was an opportunity for me to meet hundreds of his followers around the country34 almost all of whom are white. I cannot tell you how many people from the Buchanan Brigades came up to me and said, "Dr. Fulani, we're so glad you're herecan we work together?"
I was so touched by them because I saw that for all of the media hype about hatred and racism and fear - for all of the backward emotions and passions that have been stirred and fueled by the two major parties, for all the history of bigotry and racial oppression that this country has endured - that in spite of all of that, ordinary Americans do want to come together. They want to share ownership of this country. They want to end the hate. Pat and I do, too.
We're going to integrate that peasant army of his. We're going to bring black folks and latino folks and gay folks and liberal folks into that army. Americans have always fought shoulder to shoulder with other Americans with stridently different views on race, religion, ideology and lifestyle. When it came time to fight for democracy, we always put those differences aside.
Today is Veterans Day, after all, and we honor our veterans. In their honor, we commit ourselves to bring all the American people together to fight the war for our own democratic process. And so I am pleased to give my endorsement to Pat Buchanan in his campaign for the Reform Party nomination for President of the United States.
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