Pop Quiz

Who said: “The American political system is the freest and most democratic in the world.”

Besides, of course, us, here at the Praetorian Writers’ Group…

Did you get it?

Not yet? Okay… I’ll wait.

Now? Okay. Did you think it was … Eldridge Cleaver, black man of the extreme left during the 1960’s, and one of the founders of the “Black Panther Party,” a murderous, racist bunch of scum?

It was.

Here’s a bit more from Cleaver, from an editorial in the New York Times:

RACE RELATIONS; Why I Left America, And Why I Am Returning

I am often asked why I want to return to the U.S. This question never fails to bowl me over, and I find it impossible to answer. I feel it is an improper question. Most people who ask are not really interested in that question. What they want to know is what will I do if they allow me to return.

I always explain why I left in the first place. Lots of people believe I left because I preferred to go live in a Communist country and that now, several years and many Communist countries later, I find the grass not greener on the Communist side of the fence. So now, here I stand, locked outside the gates of the paradise I once scorned, begging to be let back in.

History shows that when the American political system is blocked and significant segments of the population are unable to have their will brought to bear on the decision-making process, you can count upon the people to revolt, to take it out into the streets, in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party.

During the 1960’s, the chips were down in a fateful way, uniting the upsurge of black Americans against the oppressive features of the system and the gargantuan popular opposition to the Indochina wars. It was left to the Nixon Administration to bring the issues to a head. The system rejected President Nixon and reaffirmed its own basic principles.

With all of its faults, the American political system is the freest and most democratic in the world. The system needs to be improved, with democracy spread to all areas of life, particularly the economic. All of these changes must be conducted through our established institutions, and people with grievances must find political methods for obtaining redress.

Each generation subjects the world it inherits to severe criticism. I think that my generation has been more critical than most, and for good reason. At the same time, at the end of the critical process we should arrive at some conclusions. We should have discovered which values are worth conserving. It is the beginning of another fight, the fight to defend those values from the blind excesses of our fellows who are still caught up in the critical process. It is my hope to make a positive contribution in this regard.

(Nov. 18, 1975)

— xPraetorius






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