Some thoughts …
His will be a complex legacy. He went to prison a committed socialist, and with little outside input from the outside for almost three decades, emerged a committed socialist. He’d had no way of knowing that socialism around the world was crumbling, a discredited, dismal failure.
Sadly, the only place socialism was not thoroughly discredited was in American academia, the most influential bastion of flat-earth reactionaries keeping its moribund hulk alive today.
To Mandela’s credit, he sure seemed plenty intelligent to understand the terrible human cost of socialism — if he had had the opportunity to observe its crash.
To his great credit, when he departed prison, Mandela immediately set about trying to reconcile blacks and whites. Rather than keep bitterness and resentments alive, Mandela understood the need to move on to a better place if South Africa were to have a chance at making real progress.
Would that our own Race Grievance Industry could learn from Mandela’s example, rather than contriving and nurturing faked resentments and indignation from injustices perpetrated against great-great-great-great-great-ancestors dead more than a century and a half.
The forgiveness that Mandela extended toward his previous captors may be the only thing that could allow South Africa to progress. Look at the constantly simmering conflicts around the world: The Middle East; the Balkans; the India-Pakistan sub-continent; Indochina — all the instability and violence in those regions stem from resentments hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old. These are regions in which enemies aren’t just enemies, they’re traditional enemies. Can you imagine a stupider phrase? I can’t. Mandela refused to give any validity to the profoundly stupid concept; a concept that inhibits real, human progress wherever it holds sway.
To his discredit, Mandela surrounded himself with some very dubious characters, including his own wife, Winnie. Here’s what Wikipedia says about her:
A controversial activist, she is popular among her supporters, who refer to her as the ‘Mother of the Nation’, yet reviled by others after the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission found “Ms Winnie Madikizela Mandela politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights”, concluding that she had personally been responsible for the murder, torture, abduction and assault of numerous men, women and children, as well as indirectly responsible for even larger number of such crimes. In March 2009, the Independent Electoral Commission ruled that Madikizela-Mandela, selected as an ANC candidate, could run in the April 2009 general election, despite her suspended jail sentence for fraud. [emphasis added]
Personally responsible for murder? Torture? Abduction? Fraud? Holy mackerel! And that was Mandela’s wife?!?
Winnie Mandela is an important reason for which the African National Congress (ANC) is viewed worldwide as equal parts liberation organization and marauding, bloodthirsty, power-hungry gang of thugs.
Mandela’s weakness was an inability to recognize serious character flaws in those close to him until it was too late. Yet, to his everlasting credit, he was able to mitigate the baneful influence of the strong communist presence in the ANC. The hard-liners in the ANC, including the communists, were out for blood after the dissolution of apartheid. Mandela bent his will to ensuring that would not happen.
When apartheid was nearing its last days, international observers wondered whether its successor could be superior. Nothing would have been more tragic than to replace apartheid with something worse. Sadly, that remains an open question.
Mandela was a giant among men; but his feet of clay have helped to keep his legacy a series of open questions. Only time will answer those questions, and determine whether his ground-breaking presidency was more than just an interregnum between the repugnant apartheid and … something worse.
One more observation. Americans and people the world over will compete with each other to sing Mandela’s praises to the skies as they claim to be inspired, driven and influenced by him. None will do this more than America’s own Race Grievance Industry. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, Touré, Harris-Perry and all the other racist “leaders” of the RGI will cry huge, crocodile tears as they tell of how Mandela was like a spiritual father for them. They did — and do — this with Martin Luther King, Jr. as well… all the while rejecting all the ideas most important to Mandela and King: Non-violence, reconciliation… moving on.
Too bad the RGI are a bunch of frauds. Too bad they aren’t really inspired by Mandela and King.