When I was a Democrat
I ran across this article from National Review on the internet. It caused me to rethink the whole issue of politics. I’ve been a Democrat, and I’ve been a Republican. I’ve even considered being an independent. Today, I’m just a Christian. We are all one race, one blood, human (unless we were born on Star Trek.) I am becoming more and more convinced that now is the time for Reublicans, Democrats, Independents, every party, everybody, to join my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Free At Last” choir and live in “The Beloved Community” where babies are never aborted, where the Bible is respected and where people are not afraid to say that Jesus is Lord! Enjoy. Alveda
Heir to the throne
Mr. Miller is vice president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of The Unmaking of Americans, which The Free Press will publish in May.
‘I knew Martin Luther King Jr.,” declared an irate Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.) on the House floor last November. “He was my mentor, my friend, and my leader. If he were alive today, he would be ashamed of what his niece did and said.” Nothing excites a member of the Congressional Black Caucus like a conservative invoking Dr. King’s name. But here was something even worse: King’s own flesh and blood deviating from Democratic orthodoxy, as defined by Rep. Lewis.
Alveda King is not only the niece of the late civil-rights leader –as close to royalty as you can get in the black community — she is a registered Democrat. But in recent months, she has become a fixture at conservative press conferences and political rallies in Washington, D.C., and around the country. On this particular occasion, she had annoyed Rep. Lewis with her outspoken support of a bi-partisan school-choice bill — but any number of her positions might have angered him.
Alveda King, who bears a passing resemblance to her uncle, is strongly pro-life, opposes preferential legislation for gays, and recently endorsed a bill by Rep. Charles Canady (R., Fla.) to restrict the Federal Government’s use of racial preferences. Last August, the 47-year-old Miss King became a senior fellow at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a free-market think tank based in Arlington, Va., where she focuses on promoting school choice.
She stands as a symbol of the attractiveness of conservatism to black Americans — but also of its limits. Alveda King is hardly the next J. C. Watts. “I’m not a liberal or a conservative,” admits Miss King, who lives in Atlanta and teaches at Atlanta Metropolitan College. “I reject those labels. I’m just an advocate for families and children.”
Paul Steidler, a colleague at the Tocqueville Institution agrees: “It’s difficult to categorize her politically.”
Indeed, last March she participated in a demonstration outside the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va., to denounce the CIA’s supposed involvement in selling drugs to inner-city blacks. Inspired by a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News — which had been discredited long before this particular gathering — the protestors threatened a national consumer boycott unless the CIA released incriminating documents and Congress agreed to hold hearings. “The CIA says it didn’t do anything wrong, but they know the truth,” Miss King said in a recent interview.
On this subject, Alveda King sounds like one of the more paranoid members of the Black Caucus. In a strange way, this may be related to her budding conservatism. It’s not a conservatism gleaned from the pages of Russell Kirk; instead, it emanates from the grassroots, churchgoing black community, which harbors a deep suspicion of all American institutions — from the CIA to the public schools.
Alveda King first became involved in politics through her family. She marched for civil rights, and suffered through the fire-bombing of her home in 1963, the assassination of her uncle in 1968, and the death nine months later of her father, the Rev. A. D. King, under suspicious circumstances (he was found dead in a swimming pool, but there was no water in his lungs). Miss King was elected to the Georgia state legislature in 1978, where she served for two terms, working on the education committee and opposing the feminist Equal Rights Amendment. In 1984, she ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District.
Although she failed to win the nomination, she did earn a few national headlines for dressing down Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who had privately encouraged her to quit pursuing the nomination, spend more time with her family — and think about becoming an office manager for her opponent. When she accused him of chauvinism, he shot back that her father and uncle were “male chauvinist pigs, too.” Miss King went public with the story, and Mayor Young had to apologize.
At about the same time, Miss King began to speak openly of her personal experience with abortion. “One day I just started talking to the students in my class about what I had done,” she says. In fact, she had had an abortion shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision. “I was victimized by the law, and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I was pregnant again.” In 1976, she saw a sonogram of her unborn son Eddie, who is now twenty years old. “That made me come to grips with the issue,” she says. (She today has six children, from two marriages, and three grandchildren). “Abortion is always wrong.”
Alveda King might never have found a national platform if she had not known Art Rocker. Over the years, Mr. Rocker has served as a fundraiser and strategist for both Democrats and Republicans. He supported John Lewis in his successful bid for Congress in 1986, for example, and another Georgia Democrat, Cynthia McKinney, in her 1992 election. But he became disenchanted with their liberal politics and turned to Alan Keyes, urging him to run for the Republican presidential nomination.