Getting It *COMPLETELY* Wrong!

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Wed Feb 12 21:22:50 MST 2003



Birchers still can't embrace any minority

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By <mailto:mseate at tribweb.com>Mike Seate
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 2, 2003

         Black History Month began Saturday, which means one thing - hate
mail.

         Most of the letter writers are people who believe that recognizing
history beyond tales of the Mayflower and a cherry tree is un-American. But
if we don't 'fess up to the past - even the ugly parts - we're going to
have a hard time accepting the future.

         Take, for example, an incident that happened to my parents back in
1966.

         An ambitious sort, my father bought a house in an all-white
section of Wilkinsburg, despite the warnings of friends and relatives. It
took about three weeks before the neighbors sent the welcome wagon.

         First came unsigned letters suggesting the Seates "go back to
their ghetto slums." When that didn't work, one neighbor took to wearing a
Ku Klux Klan robe. She also had a banner saying "America For Real
Americans" across her porch. Her husband distributed fliers calling for the
formation of a John Birch Society chapter in the neighborhood.

         My parents didn't budge.

         Having moved here from the Deep South in the late 1950s, they were
familiar with the shadowy Birch Society. The group, formed in 1958 to honor
a U.S. soldier killed in China, aligned itself with the South's infamous
White Citizens' Council. Its literature always seemed to show up whenever
families of immigrants moved in or when schools were desegregated.

         Birchers didn't have uniforms like the Klan, and Birch members
were less likely to live in rusty trailer parks, but the message wasn't
much different. They claimed to be leading America's fight against the
international communist conspiracy - an assertion they backed up with more
wild accusations than you can shake a cabal at.

         Birchers accused U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy - yes, that Sen. McCarthy
- of being soft on Communism while claiming that everyone from the Easter
Bunny to Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play Major League
Baseball, were Reds.

         The Birch Society accused President Dwight Eisenhower of being a
communist because he backed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to
desegregate public schools. Federal marshals sent to Mississippi to
integrate schools were labeled "agents of a communist force." The Birchers
later accused the Kennedys of being commies as well - probably because JFK
owned a red necktie.

         I thought things might have changed in the past 40 years. But
lately, the group has given space in its monthly magazine, "The New
American," to Holocaust denier William Norman Gregg. Birchers have defended
white supremacist Randy Weaver and Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh (who
the Birchers strongly suggest was framed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms).

         In the January 2001 issue, President Bush is accused of harboring
a "gay agenda" for having appointed six homosexuals to jobs in his
administration. More recently, former Gov. Tom Ridge has been labeled an
enemy of America for heading the Department of Homeland Security.

         The Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations are
continuing threats, according to Birchers. (Watch out for those black
helicopters.) Back in '66, groups like these were telling folks to be
afraid of black people. Add ebony choppers to the list. Maybe during Black
History Month, we should note how little groups such as the John Birch
Society have changed.

Mike Seate is a staff writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He can be
reached at (412) 320-7845 or e-mail him at
<mailto:mseate at tribweb.com>mseate at tribweb.com.





Seate got it wrong

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By William Norman Grigg
Thursday, February 6, 2003

         In his bilious outburst about the John Birch Society
("<http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/s_116126.html>Birchers still can't
embrace any minority," Feb. 2) columnist Mike Seate asserted that the
society's affiliated publication, The New American, has "given space ... to
Holocaust denier William Norman Gregg."

         As senior editor of that publication I can certify that

1) Holocaust deniers of any stripe are not offered a platform therein; and
2) nobody by that name has ever been among our contributors.

         My surname is spelled G-R-I-G-G, a fact that Mr. Seate didn't
bother to nail down before putting crayon to paper to scrawl out his essay.
The balance of his tantrum-in-print displays even greater disregard for
accuracy. Unless Mr. Seate uses the term "Holocaust" to refer to an
atrocity other than the attempted liquidation of Europe's Jews, he is
guilty of a deliberate - and potentially actionable - misrepresentation.

         Our Nov. 9, 1998, cover story, timed to commemorate the 60th
anniversary of Kristallnacht, was titled "Lessons of the Holocaust. It's
author was none other than yours truly. There isn't so much as a molecule
of truth in Seate's claim that The New American has "defended" Timothy
McVeigh, or suggested that he was "framed" by the BATF. Our position has
always been the same as that contained in the original Oklahoma City
Bombing indictment - namely that McVeigh and Terry Nichols were aided by
"others unknown" in carrying out that hideous crime. Once again, Seate's
malicious misrepresentation in this regard is tantamount to libel.

         Of the other demented charges that clutter Seate's screed, the
only other one that merits correction is the insinuation that the JBS is in
sympathy with the Ku Klux Klan. Former JBS field coordinator Delmar Dennis
aided the FBI's effort to battle the Klan in Mississippi. At great personal
cost, including peril to his life, Dennis was the key witness in the trial
of the notorious "Mississippi Burning" murders. He later went on a speaking
tour of the South for the express purpose of exposing the Klan's role in
fomenting domestic terrorism and thereby imperiling the liberties of all
Americans.

         Entirely in spite of himself, Seate manages to be correct about
one thing: The JBS has not changed since 1966 in our absolute indifference
regarding matters of melanin content. During the mid-1960s, patriotic
Americans of African ancestry (such as noted author George Schulyer, then a
member of our Council, and Civil Rights activist Julia Brown) were among
those of all ethnic backgrounds who enlisted in our efforts, and were
welcomed with open arms. This remains true today.

         A recent speaking tour by the JBS featured Mason Weaver (a black
author and radio personality), Ezola Foster (a black female school teacher
from South-Central Los Angeles) and myself (a Mexican-American journalist
and author).

         Seate began his column bemoaning "hate mail," and then unbosomed
himself of a hateful, ignorant diatribe uncontaminated by fact.

         William Norman Grigg is senior editor of The New American
magazine. He lives in Appleton, Wis.



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