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Nelson Mandela lived half a world away, but North Carolina has a history with South Africa and the apartheid system he destroyed.
Go back more than 50 years. Jim Hunt, a student at N.C. State in the late 1950s, heard Allard Lowenstein speak to a National Students Association meeting about “the terrible injustices and cruelties” of apartheid in South Africa. Lowenstein compared apartheid to segregation in America and the South. Hunt recalled, “I was absolutely persuaded that a segregated system was wrong, morally wrong.”
Go back almost 30 years. In 1986, North Carolina’s two Senators, Jesse Helms and Jim Broyhill, voted to sustain President Reagan's veto of a law imposing economic sanctions on South Africa over apartheid.
They were on the losing side, legislatively and historically.
The vote to override was 78-21, 12 votes more than the two-thirds needed. Republicans had a majority of the Senate (52 members), but voted to override Reagan by 31-21.
Bob Dole, the majority leader, called the vote as a ''litmus test'' on civil rights. Then-freshman Senator Mitch McConnell said of Reagan’s opposition to sanctions: ''I think he is ill-advised. I think he is wrong.”
Not Helms, of course. He said on the floor, “The thrust of this legislation is to bring about violent, revolutionary change, and after that, tyranny.''
That is, we should protect terror and tyranny in order to prevent tyranny.
Jim Broyhill probably knew better. He was no Helms, but he couldn’t split with Helms. Broyhill was running for election to the seat; he had been appointed after Senator John East died. Broyhill lost anyway, to one of those North Carolinians who had decided that segregation was wrong: Terry Sanford.
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# dap916
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 5:55 PM
Yep. Can't argue with ANYTHING in that post, Gary. It's actually excellent. When I read it, it made me cringe, to be honest. As with all political parties and all politicians, even when they do many, many great things, there are also dark, dismal things that they have done as well.

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