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Dubya addresses the NAACP

After five and one-half years in office, Dubya finally found time to address the NAACP. His full comments are here. As ThinkProgress notes, Bush used the occasion to push for repeal of the estate (not “death”) tax. This tax will be paid by only 59 African-Americans this year, while nearly a quarter live in poverty.

I’m so glad to see that Bush’s priorities, while they include—at least rhetorically—concern for the poor, still show that he hasn’t forgotten his base. (To be fair, he spent most of his time talking about slavery, Katrina, education, and home ownership.) It was amusing, in an odd way, that Bush made this claim: “I come from a family committed to civil rights.” Perhaps he doesn’t realize that, during his failed Senate campaign in 1964, his father opposed the Civil Rights Act. That’s commitment, all right.

Later, Dubya spoke about court challenges to his faith-based initiatives, and stated that “[w]e should not discriminate based upon religion.” This turns the issue exactly on its head, pretending that opponents of his faith-based funding are the ones practicing discrimination; that is the opposite of the truth. Legal challenges to Bush’s faith-based programs primarily center on the fact they, the recipients of our tax dollars, are discriminating: against gays and lesbians, against other religious groups, and against atheists.

If religious groups wish to discriminate, they should be free to do so—but not on my dime. Dubya spoke later of “a new founding that redeems the promise of our declaration and guarantees the birthright of every citizen,” but these are empty words unless they apply to all of us.

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