The statement of First Lady Laura Bush in Cairo, Egypt, North Africa, about the U.S. Constitution and slavery was comparable to one of President George W. Bush’s slip of the lip (a failure to engage the brain before he engages his mouth).
In reference to democracy in Egypt, Mrs. Bush stated that she agrees with the “go slow policy” of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. An article in The New York Times, printed Tuesday, May 24, 2005, in the World Briefing section (Page A13) states: “Mrs. Bush told reporters that sometimes ‘you have to be slow’ in putting political freedoms into effect. ‘You know that each step is a small step, that you can’t be quick,’ she said. ‘It’s not always wise to be,’ she said. She noted that the United States allowed slavery long after the Constitution was adopted.”
Then again, she told NBC television’s “Today Show” program, “We started off with a perfect document that didn’t abolish slavery until almost a hundred years later,” referring to the Constitution of the United States of America. Her comments are oxymoronic in context. One of the examples of an oxymoron is cruel kindness.
How can Mrs. Bush state that democracy should be slow when referring to the President of Egypt, who America has been backed up and propped up for 24 years. We would call any other president or head of state a dictator. He has a sham election every three years, and he gets over 90 percent of the votes because no one is allowed to run against him from any of the opposition parties.
If what Mrs. Bush said on her trip to North Africa (Egypt) is true, then why didn’t we go gradually in Iraq? Why did the United States and Britain insist that democratic reform had to take place immediately? Again, she said that it took nearly 100 years after the Constitution, which was finalized on September 17, 1787 and was effective on March 4, 1789, before slavery was abolished. In a year-and-a-half of reviewing this document, the founding fathers could not see the great wrong of slavery.
By her calling the document perfect, it is an insult to the descendants of the millions of Africans who were held in bondage at that time. They were in the brutal and barbaric system of slavery, which was against everything that represented a civilized society. Was the First Lady Mrs. Bush saying that it was correct in going slow to free the slaves?
Perhaps, this represents a southern point of view (Texas). It took 76 years after the Constitution was written for the Emancipation Proclamation to be issued by President Abraham Lincoln. He issued the Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and it went into effect on January 1, 1863. He issued it under the duress of a war that had split the Nation. Furthermore, it took an additional two years for the 13th Amendment to become a part of a not so perfect document. The 13th Amendment was proposed on January 31, 1865 and ratified December 6, 1865.
Even though President Lincoln “freed the slaves” by issuing a proclamation, it took the leaders of America almost one year to ratify the amendment to the Constitution–the question of freeing the slaves. The Civil War had been over since April 9, 1865, and yet and still, it took them until December of the same year to ratify something that should have been a given–to free people who were in bondage.
Since Mrs. Bush, as a librarian and spending her time surrounded by books, I feel that she is familiar with all of the above facts–so why would she use the example of slavery in talking about “go slow?” This is as bad as President George W. Bush asking former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “Do you have Blacks, too?”