Newt Gingrich Slams Critics of His Nelson Mandela Tribute, Asks What Would They Have Done?

Newt Gingrich Slams Critics of His Nelson Mandela Tribute, No Different Than Washington Fighting British
Newt Gingrich Slams Critics of His Nelson Mandela Tribute, No Different Than Washington Fighting British (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am no fan of Newt Gingrich, but I will give him credit for pushing back against critics who took offense to his heartfelt tribute to Nelson Mandela. He issued a statement that contained a rare criticism of former president Ronald Reagan, who did nothing to help end apartheid and went on to veto sanctions against the white regime, which Congress overrode. Gingrich asked the question I have long posed to Mandela’s critics — what would you have done if you were in his shoes? To echo the New York Times, “The early collaboration of the A.N.C. with the Communists was a marriage of convenience for a movement that had few friends. The South African Communist Party and its patrons in Russia and China were a source of money and weapons for the largely feckless armed struggle…” Ronald Reagan and his British counterpart Margaret Thatcher supported Apartheid in South Africa. They called Nelson Mandela the leader of the Marxist/terrorist organization, the African National Congress.

It’s hypocritical to call him a terrorist because he fought against a regime that treated blacks with such brutality, considering our murky history of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, where the Ku Klux Klan and others terrorized blacks and treated us like subhumans. We had our Sharpeville Massacre in America from the Native American Indians right down to blacks. So, no-one in this country has earned the right to criticize Nelson Mandela for fighting to liberate his country. Here are some reminders of what blacks lived under in the US:

Conservative hypocrisy against Nelson Mandela, blacks attacked during segregation
Conservative hypocrisy against Nelson Mandela, blacks attacked during segregation (Attribution Unknown)

Here’s Newt Gingrich’s response to the hypocrites calling Nelson Mandela a communist and a terrorist:

Yesterday I issued a heartfelt and personal statement about the passing of President Nelson Mandela. I said that his family and his country would be in my prayers and Callista’s prayers.

I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure.

So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?

Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future. This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks.

What would you have done faced with that crushing government?

What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression?

Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country.

After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech.

As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny. We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?

Some conservatives say, ah, but he was a communist.

Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.

I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.

Finally, if you had been imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of them in a cell eight foot by seven foot, how do you think you would have emerged? Would you have been angry? Would you have been bitter?

This is probably the most authentic thing Newt Gingrich has ever said, considering he called President Obama “lazy,” the “food stamp president” and that he is not a “real president.” But still I give him some credit for pushing back with truth and facts and not just taking the side of the conservatives who still count blacks as three-fifths of a person. How else can you explain their determination to suppress the black vote in states like North Carolina and Ohio? I am guessing that the same level of racial unrest that occurred in this country at the hands of whites meant nothing to them. It was okay for blacks to be barred from getting an education, right? How can they laud Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but criticize Nelson Mandela for fighting to liberate his country? It’s hypocritical, to say the least. The Republican Party will NEVER get the black vote because of their actions and their dangerous mindset.

The courage, dignity, determination and decency of Nelson Mandela are traits that are absent in his critics. I could not even dream to walk in the shoes of this man, much less criticize him for the methods he used to fight against the tyranny unleashed on black Africans by a group of whites, who stole their country right out from under them. He was no different from the freedom fighters in America, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was murdered for standing up against racism. So thank you Newt, for once I agree with you for standing up for what’s right.

UPDATE #1: Nice to see Newt Gingrich’s response going viral. I am no fan of his, but I will give him credit for saying something conservatives really needed to hear. (H/T The Atlantic).