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Political Racism: A Bipartisan Effort
Are white foreigners better than brown foreigners?

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February 21, 2006

By Richard Saunders

Here are the new faces of racism in America: Republican New York Gov. George Pataki, Republican Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Democratic Senator of New York Hillary Clinton. There are others, but these are the most prominent.

UPDATE: February 25, 2006 - Governor Ehrlich Sees Reason! Days after Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said he was exploring options to block the sale of port of Baltimore operations to a United Arab Emirates company, members of his administration said the governor has no position on whether the deal should go through.

According to Will Lester of the Associated Press, “New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich on Monday voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates, and have threatened legal action to block this sale. Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said Monday that he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments.”

Even Democratic Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley asked why the home of the “Star Spangled Banner” was being sold to foreign ownership. "We are not going to turn over the port of Baltimore to a foreign government. It's not going to happen", stated O’Malley.

Let us look to understand the ignorance of both Democrats and Republicans on this issue. First, we need to start with some questions:

1. Does Mayor O’Malley realize that currently a British company is responsible for port operations in the Port of Baltimore? Does he also further understand that during the penning of the poem “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key the Port was being bombarded by our then enemy, the British, during the War of 1812?

2. Do any of the Democrat or Republicans speaking out against this issue realize that port operations in any of the ports in question realize that the companies providing port operations have been under foreign ownership for some time? If so, why haven’t they been complaining until now?

3. Are these Democrats and Republicans more comfortable with the fact that ["to my UK readers, I am being severely facetious here"] a nice white country like the United Kingdom, our past enemy in two wars and who sided with the enemy of the United States during the U.S. Civil War runs the ports? As opposed to those horrid “brown” people of the UAE who’s government has sided with the United States in the war against terrorism.

Some of these racist Democrats and Republicans say that a UAE owned company should not be allowed to run the ports as their country produces two of the nineteen 911 hijackers. These political racists also need to be reminded that the “shoe bomber” was British-born Richard Reid. We should also recall that the terrorist that brought down the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma was a U.S. citizen. These lawmakers also need to be reminded that crane operators, packers, lift drivers and all other port workers are most likely American citizens and have been through background checks imposed by the Department of Homeland security.

Let us also be clear about the difference between port security and port operations. Port security and legal jurisdiction falls under the Federal Government of the United States with lead security and law enforcement duties resting with my beloved United States Coast Guard which I served with for 13 years before becoming a military intelligence officer with the Army. It has been this way since the Coast Guard was founded in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue Cutter Marine.

If security related to port ownership was an issue, then why haven’t these folks spoke up until now? Racism perhaps, but some responsible journalists only need to look at political campaign donation records to see if any port operations firms who lost the bid for these ports are making noise. This argument is not over security – it is over business. To deny legal ownership in a global economy by virtue of race is not good business.

As a Republican, I am appalled at the behavior of the leaders in my own party, though I am also very surprised that Senator Clinton would go down this same path. Political opportunism at the expense of principles is a trait found in those who understand neither leadership nor principles.

I say to the Republicans – “follow your leader.” President Bush has approved this decision based on economic and security principles without looking at race. This president, who was the first to appoint not one, but two African Americans to head the State Department, and has filled his cabinet and other high-level positions with a mix of race and cultures, not for that reason, but solely based on their skills and talent, should be commended for principled leadership, and not political opportunism.

The largest concentration camp outside of Germany during World War II was run by the Americans and authorized by the Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt. Americans of a particular race were imprisoned without trial because they had slightly slanted eyes. No equivalent opportunity was offered to Americans of German decent, but was afforded only to Americans of Japanese decent. To the racist Democrats and Republicans opposed to the emerging port ownership issue – learn your American history and come to grips with how unfounded bigoted decisions have stained the reputation of the United States as a tolerant and democratic Republic for which it was founded.

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