President Clinton released his Kwanzaa message for 1999 last week. From the AP wire:
"Warm greetings to everyone celebrating Kwanzaa.
"With roots in the ancient history and cultural traditions of Africa and celebrating such fundamental American values as unity and self-determination, this joyous annual festival reflects the diversity that gives our nation much of its strength and resilience.
"Each year during Kwanzaa, millions of African Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate their rich heritage, to reaffirm the bonds of family and community, and to give thanks to our Creator for the beauty and bounty of life.
"As we look forward to the new millennium, we must not lose sight of the values and traditions that have strengthened and sustained us in the past. The seven principles of Kwanzaa?unity , self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith?can be invaluable tools in teaching us how to live together in the 21st century as a community, in harmony with one another and our environment and in humility before God."
"Hillary joins me in extending warmest wishes for a joyous Kwanzaa and every happiness in the coming year."
What can be said about such an effusion other than that we didn't make it up? There's first of all the fact of Clinton's sanctimony?the unctuous sanctimony of the swindling gutter-Baptist televangelist Clinton's ideally suited to become after his term expires.
Then there's the hypocrisy. Here's the most divisive and Machiavellian president since Nixon, the man who presided over the execution of Rickey Ray Rector in 1992 and a politician who's sold out his own party at every turn, in the meantime injecting new levels of viciousness into campaigning?even to the point of hiring thugs to physically intimidate opponents?reaffirming the virtues of community and instructing us to "live in harmony with one another." (And, condescendingly, to a black audience, no less.) Here's the man who signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Act and who's sold government access to the highest bidder, preaching "cooperative economics." Here's the husband of a crooked corporate lawyer and apparent stock-market cheat preaching "collective work and responsibility," and a bomber of foreign civilians growing misty over the idea of "self-determination." Here's an almost certain rapist pontificating about "faith" and "humility before God," an opportunist with no politics or ideology beyond a narcissistic lust for power proselytizing for "purpose" and the man who supported the salvage timber rider effusing about the importance of the environment.
So what is there to say? Only that this low man, this sleaze and mountebank so brazen that Sinclair Lewis couldn't have dreamed him up, will be able to mount only one more such attack on decency from the White House.
And there's this to say, to the President, just in case he doesn't know it yet: Bill, you're a piece of trash. Hope you've had a happy Kwanzaa.