I like to think that I’m up on current events but I was shocked and surprised to read that the much revered and beloved Nelson Mandela, who passed away this week, was on The United States terrorist watch list from 1986 until 2008!
This human rights icon, remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list until 2008, when then-President George W. Bush (of all people) finally signed a bill, approved by Congress, and removing him from the list.
South Africa’s apartheid regime designated Mr. Mandela’s African National Congress as a terrorist organization for its battle against the nation’s legalized system of racial segregation that lasted from 1948 to 1994. Soon after then U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher followed suit by describing the ANC as a typical terrorist organization and then our own President Ronald Reagan agreed!
And then again In 1986, our very own beloved statesman, Dick Cheney, then a U.S. congressman, voted along with 179 other members of the House against a non-binding resolution to recognize the ANC and call on the South African government to release Mandela from prison. The measure finally passed however, (whew!) …but not before a veto attempt by President Reagan!
And 14 years later, In 2000, soon to be Vice-President Cheney still maintained that he’d cast the correct vote!
So what does all this have to do with Christmas?
Well, I think that our much beloved traditions surrounding Christmas and its celebration here in the United States can survive any amount of “Happy Holiday” greetings that we the people can dish out to one another for quite sometime and well into the future because…
if the country that made slavery a household word and had to fight a 4 year long civil war because it couldn’t think of any other way to abolish the heinous institution yet then a full 6 score and 1 years later saw the African National Congress and its leader fighting against the inhumane policies of Apartheid in South Africa as a “typical terrorist organization” and continued to list that leader as a terrorist for another 1 score of years, then…
I think that it is safe to say that old traditions die very very hard here in the land of Christian love and tolerance and that Christmas and our Christmas traditions will have to be dragged out of our cold dead hands…so to speak…before we will ever let them go.
So children of America have no fear to spread the Merry Christmas cheer…although I have heard it said, that whenever Dick Cheney smiles…an angel loses its wings.