Congressional crumbs won’t satisfy hunger for liberation (FCN Editorial, 07-26-2004)

( – On May 3, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. April Ryan, White House Correspondent for America’s Urban Radio, asked him, “If the election were held today, whom would you choose?”

Minister Farrakhan responded, “I would choose neither if it were up to me, but our people are sold to the Democratic Party. As a result of that, the Democratic Party owes us something and we should demand it.


“Listen to me carefully. I listen to the words of Senator Kerry. He’s the flip side of the coin on President Bush. You will not find real change that will benefit the masses of Black people and, unfortunately, President Bush has led this nation into Iraq and it will be nearly, nearly impossible to extricate ourselves from Iraq, according to Sen. Kerry.”

He continued, “Listen to his words, ‘We have to stay the course. We cannot cut and run.’ Why not? Because if you do, the image of America will be devastated throughout the world. So, you must stay. To do what? To make a democracy in Iraq?

“I heard the Senator’s speech in Westminster at the college. He wants NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) to come in to take the place of America, so the 20,000 American soldiers can be relieved and come home. Isn’t that nice?

“Do you think NATO wants to walk in America’s shoes? Do you think NATO is stupid when your arrogance said you could go it alone? You didn’t need the United Nations. Now that you’re caught in there with your foot in a bear trap, you’re looking for help everywhere.”

Several months later, Ms. Ryan interviewed Sen. Kerry. “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said something a couple months back that, if you were to be president, you’d basically be the ‘flip side’ of George Bush and that there’s no real difference and you won’t make any real change for Black America,” she proffered.

Sen. Kerry responded, “Well, I respectfully take extraordinary exception to that comment and that displays perhaps a lack of awareness of my record and the differences between George Bush and myself.

“First of all, I have been one of the leading advocates of campaign finance reform in the United States Senate for 20 years. I’m the only United States Senator that’s run four times voluntarily, refusing to take PAC (Political Action Committee) money in any one of my races.

“I’ve tried to separate American politics from big money that separates America from a lot of average Americans. So, I’m different from George Bush, who’s been whole, lock, stock and barrel tied up to all that big money for years. That’s number one.”

“Number two, I will fully fund ‘No Child Left Behind’ (President Bush’s education program). I will fully fund Head Start and I will fully fund special needs education, and for years I have fought for programs that make a difference in minority communities.

“Mr. Farrakhan should come, take a look at Youth Build, a program I found in Harlem in 1992. When I went to Harlem on 118th St., I went into this building and found 15 kids who were learning a skill who had come out of gangs, out of the street, who came out of at-risk programs.”

He continued, “I was so impressed with what they were doing with their lives that I went back to Washington and personally wrote that into law. Today, it’s a $65 million program called Youth Build that is in 143 cities and 43 states in America.

“There are 25,000 kids of color who are citizens in America today whose lives have been pulled back from the brink because of what John Kerry did. George Bush has never done something like that for the community.”

Sen. Kerry also highlighted his fight for affirmative action. “I have fought all my life for affirmative action. I have fought, while George Bush attacked affirmative action. That’s an enormous difference between us. He went to the Michigan case and he appointed Charles Pickens.

“That’s how he celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday. I’ve always stood up and fought for the set-aside programs for affirmative action, for the things that make a difference in communities.”

He also maintained that he has a plan to make a difference in health care.

“All my life, I’ve had people of color on my staff in positions of responsibility. I’ve reached out and worked and fought for fairness. It seems to me, if you look at my healthcare plan, I have a healthcare plan that provides all children in America with healthcare immediately.

“Now, if Mr. Farrakhan thinks that it’s OK for George Bush, who lost four million people off of healthcare over the past four years, to continue doing that, while John Kerry has a plan that will cover all children immediately, then he hasn’t done his homework. I say that to him very respectfully, but he ought to do his homework before he makes a statement like that.”