President Narcissus snaps a selfie

at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. You stay classy, Mr. President.

By the way, a word about Mandela, who died when I was heading out of town. Eternal rest to him. He had a lot of options when he became president, chief among them to pull South Africa into a bloodbath of race reprisals for a very real history of crimes committed against his people. He could have turned that place into Rwanda or Amin’s Uganda. He chose forgiveness. He is to be commended and honored for that. He was not a perfect man or a saint (who is?), but as politicians go, you seldom get better. As to his snuggling up to the Commies, I find myself agreeing, to my astonishment, with Newt Gingrich, in asking “What would you have done?” The commies where the ones offering to help, just as in our Revolution, the French were the ones offering to help. So he took the help he could get because our own glorious freedom-loving country was fully backing apartheid, to our shame. What is remarkable about Mandela is not what he took from the Commies, but what he refused to take: the doctrine of violent revolution. Prison had changed him somehow and he became somebody who gave up the violence of his youth and refused to inflict it on the white regime. How can that not be praiseworthy? So I honor him for what he has done right and pray that his sins will be forgiven, pretty much as you do with anybody else. God rest his soul through the mercy of Christ our Lord.

  • Elmwood

    He is like Margaret Thatcher, both great leaders who unfortunately supported the legalization of abortion in their respective countries. I think Malcolm X also turned from violence and hatred.

    • meunke

      He did, and paid for it with his life unfortunately.

  • Faithr

    Thank you for saying this. I am disheartened at the response I am seeing about Mandela. That he was a commie, terrorist, abortion loving, etc dictator. . . . please! He also did good. Great good. Can’t we honor that part of the legacy? I understand needing the truth to come out but not the gleeful detraction supposed Christians are heaping on him.

    • meunke

      Really? I see nothing in the national press about him that is not 100% fawning. From the reports I’ve seen in passing on TV, on the radio, on CNN, MSNBC, etc… if you swapped the names out, one might think Mother Teresa had actually just passed away.

      Perhaps all you listen to is Rush Limbaugh, in which case perhaps I can accept that you’ve been hearing tons of stuff bad about him. Since I have long sworn off talk radio, I hear nothing but how super awesome cool he was!

      Can we applaud and remember a man’s good deeds in life? ABSOLUTELY! Should our fawning adulation cause us to whitewash anything he ever did? Well?

      No. That he was a TRULY monstrous man before he went to prison (and if you tend to agree with the idea that you can judge a man’s character partially by the company he keeps you also remember that his second wife was quite the fan of torture and “necklacing” (look it up if you have the stomach)) is pretty obvious. Too many people think he was imprisoned because he was a South African version of Martin Luther King, Jr. To my understanding, part of the charges brought against MLK didn’t include things like the following:

      ***

      The further recruitment of persons for instruction and training, both within and outside the Republic of South Africa, in: (a) the preparation, manufacture and use of explosives-for the purpose of committing acts of violence and destruction in the aforesaid Republic, (the preparation and manufacture of explosives, according to evidence submitted, included 210,000 hand grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminum powder and a ton of black powder); (b) the art of warfare, including guerrilla warfare, and military training generally for the purpose in the aforesaid Republic; (ii) Further acts of violence and destruction, (this includes 193 counts of terrorism committed between 1961 and 1963).
      ***

      Our appreciation of someone’s accomplishments shouldn’t include selectively throwing away parts we don’t like about his past. Heck in the future George Bush might renounce all violence and be a TRUE voice for peace and reconciliation (hey, stranger things have happened.) If that were to happen, would it be permissible to just selectively ‘forget to mention’ or maybe even edit out that whole ‘Iraq War’ business?

      • chezami

        In the Rightwingosphere, with the exception of Gingrich who is getting serious heat from the Rightwingosphere, everybody talks with your dripping contempt for Mandela, once again demonstrating the massive conservative anti-charism of discernment. I didn’t canonize him a saint. But I do think that his achievement in establishing a peaceful post-apartheid SA is a great one and owes absolutely nothing to the stupidity of a US policy of support for apartheid. As usual, American conservatives are unable to acknowledge any error, and so spit on his memory because he made them look like fools.

        • Mike

          I’m sorry but I have a huge disconnect on Mandella’s legacy as a supporter of human rights when he not just supported but actively engaged abortion on demand in the new SA Constitution. I agree with all of what you said about him but sorry it’s hard to ignore violating the human rights of the most vulnerable of any society- unborn babies in their mothers wombs. Believe me this is not being said with malice r contempt but with sorrow

          • chezami

            No praise for his support for abortion or his terrorist record. Likewise Dante doesn’t praise pagan suicides. But he recognizes that you measure a man by where he came from. By that standard, he served his people about as well as could be hoped, given original sin.

        • meunke

          “everybody talks with your dripping contempt for Mandela”
          - Dripping contempt? I think you are confusing my being unwilling to accept historical falsehoods with ‘contempt’.

          A false image (also known as a LIE) that is being pushed constantly in the media that I have seen ( I admittedly don’t partake of much, it being made up of whatever happens to be on TV in the break room or at the gym or what happens to be on NPR on the drive home. I have long since sworn off listening to GOP talk radio.) is well summed up with the almost verbatim quote from whoever the blond lady on MSNBC is that I watched at the gym yesterday: He spent his entire life as an advocate for peace.

          No, he didn’t. Refusing to accept that line is not ‘dripping contempt’ but rather ‘favoring historical truth over falsehood’, something I believe you are rather in favor of on occasion. What is the truth?

          He spent much of his early life promoting and engaging in horrific brutality, even against innocent civilians. He was arrested while managing enough heavy ordinance, explosives and land mines (much of it provided by the Soviets, so yes, he bought into their violence then too ) to put a smile on every Taliban face in Afghanistan, and sentenced to prison. While in prison he abandoned violence and upon his release he managed to guide the transition of government power out of Apartheid while managing to avoid the MASSIVE civil war that everyone thought was coming. An ASTOUNDING achievement. How is that ‘dripping contempt’?

          Is it ‘dripping contempt’ to note that prior to his conversion of heart, Francis Xavier, by his own admission, didn’t exactly live a ‘moral’ life? Does that fact take away from the greatness he became and achieved?

          There is far too much whitewashing of popular heroes. The neocons and their like do it too with Reagan, as well as transforming anybody that had anything to do with America’s founding into stainless Saraphim in their rhetoric. It is also done to people who shouldn’t be considered ‘heroes’ at all, like Che Guevara.

          We Catholics should be the LAST who do such things: Do we edit Scripture to try to pretend that our first pope DIDN’T deny our Lord?

          In my opinion, acknowledging Mandela’s past makes what he became even MORE remarkable.

      • Faithr

        I never listen to Rush LImbaugh. I do not like purveyors of hate. No I am talking about Catholics outlets like lifesitenews and other Catholic blogs. And I don’t pay much attention to the mainstream media either. I don’t support terrorism in any way, but I do note there is a often a difference in labeling someone a freedom fighter vs. terrorist and it is a pretty subjective standard. He was struggling against a deeply racist oppressive government. Some people would see that as a noble freedom fighter not a terrorist. The eagerness of the right to discredit anything Mandela did now, just days after he died, is ugly and reactionary. I find it repugnant.

        • meunke

          I actually agree with you in general. One point: when one does things like set bombs in shopping centers to target civilians, that usually falls under ‘terrorism’, would you not agree?

          • Faithr

            I would. But I can also see how oppressed people can be driven to such desperate measures, especially in the political climate he was living in. I am upset at the venom people are spewing over him. Oskar Schindler was a Nazi spy and adulterer, but we remember the great thing that he did. Mandela was a creature of his time and did many wrong things, but he also did truly noble and great things. May God have mercy on his soul.

            • meunke

              Here you and I part company, on a point of what looks like ‘ends/circumstance justify means’. I couldn’t care less how desperate someone’s cause is, the moment you turn your gun muzzle from soldiers to women and children, you are engaging in something monstrous. It can’t be waived off, be it targeting civilians in a shopping center to fight government oppression or firebombing whole cities form the air to fight Nazism.

              Desperation doesn’t make something objectively evil suddenly become ‘ok’.

    • Dave G.

      It’s no different than what I hear about any other person or leader at any particular time. I had to become Catholic and hang out on the Catholic blogosphere to hear how irredeemably horrible so many people I used to think were praiseworthy actually were. Just like above. Reagan supported abortion in CA. That’s known. It’s also known that he had a change of heart. That doesn’t matter. Nor does anyone’s repentance or changes or positive traits matter at any given moment. Of course Mandela, like any leader, was a mixed bag. Those who focus on the half full cup with Mandela? More power to them. Those who focus on the half empty cup? They’re just doing what is done in other times and places regarding other individuals by the half full crowd as often as not.

    • Illinidiva

      Focusing on abortion laws and ignoring the great good Mandela did makes the pro life movement seem petty and narrow minded.

  • meunke

    ” What is remarkable about Mandela is not what he took from the Commies,
    but what he refused to take: the doctrine of violent revolution.”
    - Really? So ALL those charges that he was brought up on involving stockpiling munitions and acts of terrorism were… all false? I find that hard to believe.

    That he rejected violence later in life I can certainly accept. But to declare that he never bought into the communist mantra is a bit of a stretch it seems to me.

    • chezami

      What part of “prison changed him” did you not get? It really is remarkable how little all that stuff about repentance and redemption matters to Catholics when it’s their political enemies involved.

      • meunke

        What part of ‘That he rejected violence later in life I can certainly accept’ did you not get about my comment? You miss my point: We should rejoice with the angels when anyone repents. What we must not do is pretend, as is the fashion now, that there was never anything to repent of.

    • Illinidiva

      He came out of prison without any hate in him. I don’t know many people who could do that.

  • kirthigdon

    Mandela signed onto liberalized abortion in South Africa. Of course, the great pro-life hero Ronald Reagan signed onto a pioneering liberal abortion law as governor of California and later as president, appointed two pro-abort Supreme Justices to one pro-lifer. About the only full spectrum pro-life non-violent revolutionary leader and head of government I can think of in recent years was Corazon Aquino of the Philippines, a great Catholic lady who should probably be canonized.

    Kirt Higdon

    • Elmwood

      Good point with Reagan, it seems abortion was considered to be a mark of enlightenment among many GOP in days past. I also remember hearing that Prescott Bush (GWB granddaddy) was into Sanger’s eugenics movement.

      But Reagan later regretted that he supported abortion in CA.

      • Almario Javier

        And Bork aside, who did he end up appointing to the courts?

        Yes, Cory Aquino would be one who did not buck the trend (what a pity her son does not have the same regard for Holy Mother Church). There is also Lech Walesa, of course, but his views on labor unions might not go well with certain market conservatives (not surprising, as he was a union steward). Maybe Kim dae-jung, but I’m not sure.

        • kirthigdon

          Yes, Walesa was good – another non-violent revolutionary. However, I’m not sure what the status of abortion was/is in Poland and if he did anything as head of government to push Poland in a pro-life direction. Cory Aquino had a human life amendment put in the Philippine constitution, kicked out Planned Parenthood and the US military (the latter with help from a volcano eruption) and even set up a program to rehabilitate prostitutes who had served mainly the US military. Unfortunately her successors (including as you point out, her son) have undone much of her good work.
          Kirt Higdon

          • Almario Javier

            The thing with Noynoy and much of the RH people is that our wonderful State Department in Washington threatened to leave Manila to the mercy of Red China if the RH bill wasn’t passed, by scrapping a military aid package increase in the midst of a territorial dispute flaring up. Of course, another factor is that there are wealthy Filipino Americans in this country, who, while still very conservative compared to America as a whole, are actually pretty socially liberal compared to the Old Country. They applied pressure as well. Not for nothing did Noynoy announce he was essentially spitting on his mother’s legacy while on a visit to the United States. For all his bluster he kowtows just as much to Washington as GMA did.

            • Almario Javier

              But it seems that there is a chance Noynoy’s folly may get struck down in the courts as unconstitutional – a legacy of his late mother, naturally, and Hilario Davide.

              Also amusing is the fact that this measure is essentially the return of policies during the Dictatorship. A Liberal Party president shilling for Ferdinand Marcos’ policies – disgraceful.

      • Dave G.

        I’ve learned that Reagan’s regret isn’t relevant. A person is able to move past their sins only when it helps us win arguments. Otherwise, those sins remain.

        • kirthigdon

          I don’t know what was in Reagan’s heart if it really changed, but as POTUS he appointed two pro-aborts to the Supreme Court (O’Connor and Kennedy) as contrasted to only one pro-life (or at least states rights) appointee (Scalia). Yes, I voted for him for president twice and I should have known better. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I’ve learned my lesson, had a change of heart and repented. I now no longer vote for anyone on the basis of pro-life rhetoric. They have to have a record that is full spectrum pro-life.
          Kirt Higdon

  • Stu

    Nelson Mandela. May God have mercy on him an all of us.

    As to his life. Of all the people in this World, he was one of them.

  • Almario Javier

    As for Madiba, on the one hand, he liberated a country from an oppressive, soul-crushing regime (yes, he engaged in terrorist acts, but I would simply point out that when the side that does it is yours, there is a tendency to believe that it makes you a patriot, not a scoundrel – Boston Tea Party, anyone?). On the other hand, yes, he signed off on the oppression of the unborn. We can celebrate the good and condemn the bad, and commend his soul to God’s judgment and mercy.

  • Common Sense

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