The same goes for the League of thernSouth. I joined this organization recentlyrneven though I liave to admit to a tingernof guilt for not fully understanding what Irnam supporting. You see, I was always ofrnthe t’pical opinion regarding the Southrn(I am sure you know what I mean), untilrnI was made aware, through readingrnChronicles, of how bigoted and horriblyrnmistaken that line of thinking is. I haverndecided that this group deserves my support,rnif for no other reason than as arnmeans of atonement for having been sornprejudiced. The comments ThomasrnFleming has made about the little cellsrnaround the country (in my case —thernworld) of people turning their backs onrnmodern culture really hit home. Pleaserncontinue to keep us informed aboutrnthese worthy activities and literature, andrnplease accept my heartfelt thanks for arngift that can hardly be repaid.rn-MikeEzzornYokkaichi, japanrnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnTHE NAACP vows to campaign againstrnexerv senator who voted to confirm JohnrnAsheroft as attorney general. Oh, how wernought to hope so! Get out there, guys!rnShow us what dopes }ou’re capable of beingrnwhen ‘ou tr’ hard!rnIdeologues—e.g., the folk who run thernNAACP these days —don’t normally receivernthe attention they deserve. They desenernlots. Ideologues, for one thing, seernlife through a drinking straw: They wantrnthe rest of us to admire the same view.rnIf ‘ou salute or throw yourself prostraternon the ground in humble acc|uiesceneernto the NAACP’s grand design, fine; ifrnnot, vou’re evil—wicked —racist (in thernNAACP’s grotesque formulation). Foundedrnin 1909 to campaign for the equality ofrnNegroes and whites, the NAACP today isrnan ideological money machine. That is,rnit exists seemingly for the purpose of scaringrnor outraging so thoroughly that Americansrnreach for their checkbooks, scrawlrn”NAACP” after “Pay to the Order of,”rndrop this sacred communication in thernmail, and thereby gladden the heart ofrnNACP President Kweisi Mfume, whosernbusiness it is —daily it seems —to inventrnnew causes of fright and outrage.rnPretty unedifying. The NAACP itselfrnhas become unedifing in the extreme,rnabout as much in tune with real life asrnthe Anti-Saloon League.rnAsheroft as devil figure — even TedrnKenned} couldn’t get away with that one.rnthough he tried hard. The Asheroft voternas “close to a litmus test” on civil rights—rnit staggers credulity. It likewise speaksrnokunes about the present quality ofrncivic discourse, if ou can call it “discourse.”rnWlierein did Asheroft fail the NMCP?rnYou know the answer. He voted againstrn”hate crimes” legislation. As attorneyrngeneral of Missouri, he argued againstrnthe use of state funds for a court-orderedrnschool desegregation plan in St. Louis.rnHe opposed affirmative action. He shotrndown Judge Ronnie Wliite’s nominationrnto the federal bench. He declined, givenrnthe chance in a Southern Partisan interview,rnto calumniate rather than saluternRobert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.rnHe earned a grade of “F” overall on thernNACP’s legislative report card.rnAnd rightiy so. “Hate crimes” laws enshrinernthe baseless liberal conviction thatrnwhite male homophobes are gunning forrnthe rest of the country. In the St. Louisrncase, Asheroft tried to keep Missouri taxpayersrnat large from being dragged intornone city’s court-ordered plight. “Affirmativernaction” is a svnonym for state-sponsoredrndiscrimination again,st—well, backrnto those white male homophobes. RonniernWliite may not have been the worstrnjudge nominated by Bill Clinton to thernfederal bench, but a number of his callsrnin favor of criminals were at the very leastrnopen to question. (Of course, it was finernfor the NAACP to rant against ClarencernThomas!) What’s wrong with Confederaternofficers who, if transported miraculouslyrnto the age of the Clintons, wouldrnlikely pass out cold? “F” on the NAACPrnreport card? Who, prav, seated KweisirnMfiime at the principal’s desk?rnAh—he seated himself there, yon say?rnNow you’re catching on. The NAACPrndoesn’t wait to be in’ited to judge our nation’srndeliberations; it jumps in and informsrnus how bad things are. (An unsavoryrnhabit shared by many on the left,rnfrom Kate Miehelman’s National Abortionrnand Reproductive Rights ActionrnLeague to Ralph G. Neas’ People for thernAmerican Way.)rnWliat Sen. Cotton Ed Smith of SouthrnCarolina called “dewlapped effrontery”rnis a specialh’ of the American left. Yournshut up while we talk—that sort of thing.rnThe effronter’ of the NACP attack onrnJohn Asheroft is about as new as sidewhiskers.rnThe troubling aspect of it all isrnour tendency—the tendency of Americansrnin general—to let such folk get byrnwith what they get by with. Failing to callrnthe NAACP to account is an ingrainedrnhabit by now: partial payment, manyrnseem to believe, for Our Country’s RacialrnSins (sniff, sniff)-rnThat’s why we should welcome anrnNAACP frontal attack on senators whornvoted for Asheroft—Democrats included.rnWhat childish nonsense, this tactic.rnAnyone who has raised children knowsrnabout such nonsense, which flourishesrnwhen ignored and disappears when rebukedrnfirmly. Childish ideologues —rnhow’s that for a governing class?rn— WiUiain MurchisonrnMATTHEW SHEPARD, a voung homosexualrnman murdered in Laramie,rnWyoming, in October 1998, is the newrn”messiah” figure of one of the mostrnevocative contemporary mythologiesrncreated by our ostensibly anti-religiousrnrulers. As far as we can tell, Shepardrnseems to have been a cjniet person whornhad the ill fortiine to encounter a pair ofrndeeply troubled lowlifes named Hendersonrnand McKinney, who were in thernmidst of a methamphetamine-fueledrncrime spree. The lethal pair beat andrnrobbed several other victims on the samernnight, regardless of sex or sexual preference,rnand thev seem to have targetedrnShepard more out of class hatred thanrnhomophobia: He just looked like arnspoiled rieh-kid student slumming in arnworking-class bar. Nevertheless, Shepard’srnmurder attracted worldwide attentionrnas an apparent manifestation of antigayrnviolence, and he became the martyrrnpar excellence of the movement againstrnhate crimes and anti-homosexual discrimination.rnFrom its earliest days, the Shepardrncase acquired religious overtones, largelyrnbecause of the potent image of the victim’srnbody being tied to a fence in a kindrnof crucifixion pose. The affair has sincernbecome a full-blov’n mythology-, makingrnme wish that I had been the one to coinrnthe phrase “Matthew’s Passion,” whichrnMARCH 2001/5rnrnrn