“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.” — Nelson Mandela, Jan. 29, 2003
Nelson Mandela, the former terrorist-turned-compromiser and the so-called “father of democracy” who served as president of South Africa, hated America. But progressive liberals loved him — none more so than President Barack Obama, who ordered that flags at the White House and all Federal buildings fly at half-staff through Monday, following Mandela’s death last Thursday at age 95. But that was only the start.
Obama, like so many black celebrities and members of the white media, has personalized his relationship with Mandela beyond all reason: “He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages,” Obama said upon learning of Mandela’s death. The President added, “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”
I have no doubt about that last statement. Can you think of another terrorist bent on killing and overthrowing a government with bombs and armed insurrection who went on to be considered the greatest statesman ever? And just in case you think that Mandela was never a terrorist but a misunderstood man walking in the steps of Mahatma Gandhi, then you are at odds with Washington. He was on the terrorist list until 2008.
No doubt, South Africans were upset when Mandela tried to blow up a hospital in the early 1960s. The difference between Mandela then and Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, is that McVeigh was a deadlier terrorist. Later in life, Mandela did say that he was glad he was caught and did not kill all those innocent sick people. Millions of people find it heartwarming that Mandela had a change of heart.
Check one for sainthood!
In the 1980s, when the Government of South Africa said that Mandela could walk out of jail a free man if he would simply renounce violence as a means to black majority rule, the great leader said no. Apparently, his wife Winnie Mandela was too happy necklacing her black opponents with tires filled with gasoline for her husband to make a false promise.
Check two for sainthood!
Then there is the fact that Mandela is now celebrated as the greatest human being of the modern era, perhaps any era. Larry King said on CNN that he knows of no greater person who lived in the 20th century than Mandela. Apparently, King has forgotten a lot of people.
But my favorite shout-out comes from Peter Oborne, who wrote last Friday for The Telegraph:
There are very few human beings who can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela is one. This is because he was a spiritual leader as much as a statesman. His colossal moral strength enabled him to embark on new and unimaginable forms of action. He could lead through the strength of example alone.
Check three for sainthood!
That makes two human beings who I have heard compared to Christ: Mandela and Obama. (After all, Oprah Winfrey called Obama the “chosen one.”)
What do both men have in common? Their roots are African.