So, Al Sharpton is going down for a meeting with Vicente Fox. Jesse Jackson has already beaten him to it — but Sharpton’s following suit (as he usually does with Jackson). The Mexican president, as you know, said something judged offensive to black Americans, and he phoned both Sharpton and Jackson to apologize. That’s covering your bases! Now the Rev. Al — like the Rev. Jesse — is milkin’ it, traveling down Mexico way.
You know what I’m unhappy about? If Fox insulted Americans, and had something to apologize for, he should have called George W. Bush: the president of the United States. I abhor this notion that we have Black America and White America, and that Jesse Jackson — or Al Sharpton, or the media mouth of the day — is president of the former.
No, Bush is president of all Americans, and he’s the one who should have received a phone call, if Fox needed to place it.
Now, if I were a conspiracy theorist I'd say this apology was a calculated slap to the President.
Today's Impromptus - which is always worthwhile - takes a whack at Charlie Rangel, on e of 22 Representatives who voted against a House resolution expressing solidarity with the Cuban opposition. Also he introduces Michael Gove, a young Conservative MP, who writes with impressive eloquence:
. . . Those Conservative values, which we abandon at our peril, are a belief in the maximum freedom for individuals, a recognition that wickedness should be countered by discipline, not therapy, and an acceptance that the price of progress is a patchwork world.
A belief in freedom is the beginning of my politics. Buried in my soul, at a level too deep to surrender, is my passionate dislike of coercion, conformity and collectivism. I think the inherent dignity of humans depends on the free exercise of their will, and efforts to curtail, corral or conscript for the sake of a greater good not only stifle the human spirit, but also generally fail to achieve the good proclaimed.
To my mind there is a beauty in the quirky, the eccentric, the divergent, which one never sees in uniformity. And underpinning my conviction is the knowledge that progress, from Socrates through Galileo to Václav Havel, has depended on the defiance of consensus, on those who dare to be Daniels. The enemy of progress is the doctrine of knowing your place, the principle that your identity comes from membership of a group, the edict which holds that permission must be sought before you can act in accordance with your instincts.
Maybe the party of Churchill and Thatcher isn't dead after all.