The Montgomery Advertiser from Montgomery, Alabama on December 13, 1992 · 46
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The Montgomery Advertiser from Montgomery, Alabama · 46

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Sunday, December 13, 1992
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Sunday, December 13, 1992 PAGE 2D Sunday MontgomeryAdvertiser Established 1829 Winner Pulitzer Prize 1928, 1970 Richard H. Amberg Jr., Publisher David D. Stillwell, General Manager William B. Brown, Executive Editor Kenneth Hare, Editorial Page Editor Mike Powell, Controller Bob Long, Advertising Director Wanda Ainsworth. Circulation Director Jim Thorpe. Managing Editor Denni$ Cleszynskli Productjon Director Nancy King Dennis, Metro Editor Allen Phillips, Community Affairs Director The Montgomery Advertiser Is an independent newspaper, editorially distinct from the Alabama Journal, which Is also owned solely by the Advertiser Co. All news and opinions are the responsibility of the management of The Montgomery Advertiser, which is beholden only to the common good and to conscience. ' 200 Washinaton Ave.. Montaomerv. Ala. 361 04 262-1611 He's TSie Barrier Hunt Stand Inconsistent With Post - In an ironic twist that bor-'. ders on a bad joke, Gov. Guy Hunt allowed himself to be inducted Friday as the new chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board. That's right growth, Guy i Hunt, same sentence. One has to wonder how ' Gov. Hunt rationally can rec-' oncile his own anti-growth . stand favoring flying the in-your-face Confederate battle . flag over the Alabama Capitol . with the SGPB's newly adopted goal of removing racial barriers in the South. In defense of the Southern Growth Policies Board, the election of Hunt to the post came when he was chosen to be chairman-elect for the past year. From that point forward, his accession to the chairmanship this week essentially was automatic. The chairmanship is traditionally rotated among the governors of states that are members of the SGPB, and is alternated between Republican and Democrat. Still, it should be embarrassing for a forward-thinking economic development group like the Southern Growth Policies Board to be naming Hunt as its new chairman at this particular time. The flag flap is reaching a crisis point in Hunt's home state and his administration has reached a state of paralysis due to ethics probes and incredible inaction or massive mishandling on almost every issue in his second term. Hunt will be heading the SGPB at a time when a host . of chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations in Alabama all interested in growth are calling on him not to put the racially divisive Confederate battle flag back atop the Capitol dome. The SGPB met in Georgia, where the state flag is a version of the Confederate battle flag and also is attracting ' negative attention. Changing it would require changing the state flag by law, which is a :, tough task, unlike Alabama, where the flag at issue has no official status, is historically inaccurate, and probably by law shouldn't be flying over the dome anyway. Changing it requires simply a decision by Hunt to leave it down, since it's down already because of the Capitol renovation. But the biggest difference is that Georgia has an enlightened governor in Zell Miller who has the courage to say that the battle flag should not be used as an official state symbol. In Alabama, we have Hunt. However, all is not negative in Alabama on this issue. Far from it. We are proud of the many chambers and business groups and politicians who have joined the chorus to seek an equitable solution to the flag issue. We are especially proud that Montgomery's chamber and its mayor, Emory Folmar, were among the first to lead the charge. Georgia will host the Summer Olympics in 1996, and most observers feel that the Confederate battle flag will be relegated to the history museums in that state by that time. By 1996, if not before, Guy Hunt will be political history, so perhaps this state can move forward in this regard as well. Removing the battle flag, which has become a symbol of racial oppression and hate, is a serious economic issue, but it is an issue of fairness as well. No state or government should continue to use a symbol which is so repugnant to so many of its citizens, white as well as black. For that reason, we urge the chambers and the public to keep the pressure on Guy Hunt. Perhaps if he will read the goals of the Southern Growth Policies Board which he just signed on to lead, he will begin to see that by defending the indefensible, he himself has become a major barrier to growth and bringing the races together in his own state. A Timely Boost Economic Officials Get ' Attaboy s' The news that Montgomery is likely to be the new home for a major distribution center for the apparel giant Liz Claiborne Inc. would be welcome at any time, but as a signal that Montgomery's economic future is secure the news is especially gratifying. The city appears close to a formal announcement of the Claiborne operation, which would bring 400 badly needed jobs to the city with the possibility of more in the future. In addition, it is almost certain to spur related business developments in the area in coming months and years. As a forward-thinking employer, Liz Claiborne would be an outstanding addition to the Montgomery area's corporate family. While the announcement of major business locations such as this one are usually sprung on the public with no advance fanfare, a tremendous amount of often unrecognized hard work and preparation goes into any such industrial location. For that reason, we would like to hand out a few pats on the back. "Attaboys" are definitely due for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, especially Chairman Will Hill Tankersley, President Randy George, Vice President for Development Al Cook and Director of Strategic Planning Ellen McNair. But the landing of any major industry is a team effort, and the team that has brought this prospect so close to fruition stretches beyond the chamber. Among those who played major roles were Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar and County Commission Chairman Bill Joseph and other city and county officials and staff. The Alabama Development Office (with David Hutchison overseeing the project) identified Claiborne as a prospect and recommended Montgomery among other potential sites. As always, the Committee of 100 was a tremendous help, as was the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the city's Industrial Development Board (and its chairman, Rube Thornton), and the Central Alabama Regional Planning Commission. To these people and groups and any others who worked to bring the Claiborne project to this very promising point, we say thank you. Lieberman Enlivens Political Dialogue One of the more intriguing footnotes to the last election came my way last week and got me thinking about a junior member of the U.S. Senate of whom I expect you will be hearing more in years to come. The story came from Dr. James J. Zogby, the president of the Arab-American Institute, that community's political action arm in Washington. Zogby, who is a Democrat, had been having what he calls "a very frustrating" time all year establishing contact with Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. Many overtures were made and rebuffed in what Zogby took to be an excess of concern among Clinton's political advisers about a possible backlash from pro-Israel Jewish groups. Finally, Zogby tried what seemed the most unlikely possible intermediary. He called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., a Jew of such orthodoxy that he never campaigns on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Zogby knew that Lieberman was esteemed in Little Rock for endorsing Clinton last January, when few other Washington insiders were giving the Arkansas governor a chance. "The senator and I had debated Middle East policy on a CNN 'Crossfire' show," Zogby told me, "and I think we were both surprised at the wide area of agreement. CNN thought the show was a bomb, because we didn't holler at each other." So in September, Zogby called Lieber-man's office, and pleaded his case to be allowed access to the Clinton campaign. "The next day," Zogby said, "the senator called and said, 'Call George Stephanopoulos (Clinton's communications director).' "I did, and I was invited to Little Rock the David Broder next day. And from that point on, we got a level of recognition for our group that we'd never gotten from the Democrats before." Zogby made the obvious point: "Only in America," he said, "would an Arab-American spokesman call a Jewish-American senator to call a Greek Orthodox campaign operative to let us help a Southern Baptist get elected president." Zogby's story, subsequently confirmed by Lieberman, came just a few weeks after I had heard praise for Lieberman from another unlikely source: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, the darling of conservative Republicans. I was on a campaign swing to Connecticut with Kemp 10 days before Election Day, when Kemp brought up Lieberman's name at a news conference at the Bush-Quayle headquarters. After praising the president and several members of the state GOP ticket who were with him, Kemp added, gratuitously: "I'm glad your Sen. Lieberman is not running this year. He is a stand-up guy and I'd have trouble campaigning against him." When I asked Kemp about this unusual gesture to a Democratic senator, he was effusive, even by Kempian standards. "He (Lieberman) was the Democratic co-sponsor of the enterprise zones bill. He's with us on reducing capital gains taxes and eliminating them entirely in the inner city. I can't think of anything I've tried to do from welfare reform to enterprise zones to 'green-lining' the inner cities (encouraging bank loans in the ghettos) that Joe Lieberman hasn't provided counsel and guidance and leadership." When I bounced these anecdotes off Lieberman the other day, he did a reasonable impersonation of being embarrassed at the praise. "I like to think of myself, not as a renegade, but as unpredictable," he said. "I've never believed you should follow the party line just because it is the party line." In his first four years in the Senate, Lie-; berman has shown a knack for going his own way on some issues, while maintaining his good standing with his party. Endorsing Clinton a few days before the Gennifer Flowers story broke last winter brought him some derisive comments from colleagues. But Lieberman now ranks as one of the new president's best friends on Capitol Hill. "I believe in dialogue, whether it's with Jim Zogby or Jack Kemp," he said. "To me one of the things I like about this business of politics and this place, the Senate, is the range of people and of ideas you get exposed to. "You have to carve out time for thinking ; and that means talking to people who are thinking themselves. That's the only way you grow." Lieberman just turned 50, so he has plenty oftimetogrow. mmsw'm rMk ) MAI .D&DicAcreoTo Sr y "-sTYcs ''En REMOVING V ,C A Srfc RACIAL Indian Artists Form Tight Closed Shop Now and then a law comes along that perfectly epitomizes the sorry state of the U.S. Congress. More in sorrow than in anger, let me nominate a law that most Americans have never heard of. It is the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. The act itself is a work of art the political art. Public Law 101-644, as it is officially known, was cobbled together by a special interest group, the makers and sellers of Indian jewelry. Their purpose was to protect their market in domestic Indian crafts from the competition of cheap imitations produced in Asia. This defensible objective soon expanded beyond the realm of jewelry. Eventually it embraced all "art" produced by those who are certifiably "Indian." Rep. Jon Kyi of Arizona worked up a bill and steered it to final passage by voice vote in the hectic hours of Saturday, Oct. 27, 1990. It was the last day of the congressional session. Not half a dozen members had any idea of what they were voting on. President Bush signed the bill on Nov. 29. It is a fair assumption that he had no idea of what was in the bill either. On its face, the act appeared to be politically correct. What is good for the Indians is good for the United States, and so forth. My attention recently was drawn to the act by the Thomas Jefferson Center in Charlottesville, Va. The center, which exists to protect freedom of expression, is going to bat for Jeanne Walker Rorex of Oktaha, Okla. There is no question in fact that Ms. Rorex is Indian. There is only a question at law. The 41-year-old Cherokee artist has won all kinds of regional awards for her paintings. She is descended from a family that is well 1 James J. py Kilpatrick known in the world of Indian art. Her late uncle, sculptor Willard Stone, was honored by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for his work. But under the 1990 act, Jeanne Rorex cannot exhibit or sell her paintings without risking get this a fine of not more than $1 million and not more than 15 years in prison. This is because the term "Indian," under the 1990 act, means "any individual who is a member of an Indian tribe or is certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian tribe." Ms. Rorex is not a tribal member. She probably could get herself certified, but as a matter of principle she has refused to petition the Cherokee council. Her point is that many true Indian artists cannot obtain certification under the act. Their ancestral tribes dissolved long ago. No authority remains by which they could obtain certification. They may produce works of Indian art as fine as any produced by a certified Indian, but they are locked out of the market as if they were con artists and frauds. Ironically, many artists without a drop of Indian blood may be certifiably "Indian" under the law. These are the descendants of Caucasians who managed by chicanery to get on the famous or infamous Dawes Rolls. These rolls, compiled about 1900, purported to list every American Indian who might qualify for an allotment of land. By the time the rolls appeared, hundreds of tribal governments had disappeared. Ms. Rorex asserts that some descendants of Kickapoos, Potawatamis, Cheyennes, Sioux, Arapahoes, Blackfeet and others have thus been legislated out of artistic existence. Today 318 federally recognized tribes remain in the lower 48 states, about 200 in Alaska. Their members may qualify for health and welfare benefits through CDIB cards (Certification of Degree of Indian Blood). The whole affair awakens echoes of the bad old days in the American South, when the census counted mulattoes, quadroons and octaroons. In Virginia "any discernible trace" of Negro blood made one legally a Negro, and thus effectively barred him from most civil rights. Under Indian custom, blood quantum sometimes is determined through the mother. The child of a full-blood Indian father and a Euro-American mother may not be called Indian at all and may have no tribal rights. Bizarre. At the moment, Ms. Rorex and others have been barred from the major American Indian Heritage competition at the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa next month. The Thomas Jefferson Center is prepared to take the issue to court. In Congress, Sens. Dave Bo-ren of Oklahoma and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico have expressed sympathy toward a revision of the 1990 act. In my own view, certified Indians have no right to impose a closed shop on non-certified Indians. If this cozy little monopoly isn't classic restraint of trade, it ought to be. Clinton Countersigns Big Blank Check WASHINGTON There is or used to be bitter truth in Josef Stalin's remark, "one death is a tragedy but a million deaths are a statistic." But Stalin spoke before satellite TV transmission became capable of filling America's evenings with images of skeletal children starving in Somalia. At length, faced with those horrible images, well-fed America could no longer view them as a statistic. That speaks well of our compassion. But the consequence is that, without very much consultation or foresight, we have plunged into an impulsive and most unmilitary use of massive military force. I hope I am wrong, but if there has been a more reckless or sentimental use of 28,000 American military personnel, I can't recall it. Even Vietnam, a fool's errand, was at least military in design. Our forces can be expected to manage the primary mission handily, unblocking the supply routes for food and medicine. American television screens will glow, in the coming holiday season, with pride and satisfaction, as after the Gulf War. And if that is actually the limit of what we intend, all may be well. But when you dash off to the rescue like the cavalry, as Gen. Colin Powell romantically put it there may be no obvious stopping point. The United States has plunged full-bore into an ill-defined mission to rescue a chaos posing as a nation a nation lacking a government, modern roads, bridges and railroads or potable water, and without a police ( - : :,..- Edwin M. ,,f Yotter Jr, V force or an army or electronic communications: a nation of herdsmen and banana growers. And we hope to be out before Jan. 20! What will we do if the street gangs, extortion racketeers and clans coalesce into guerrilla forces, harassing and killing our military personnel? Shall we divert troops from the supply operation for search and destroy missions, killing a teen-age gunman for every starving child we feed? When will the bombing start? Will we bring more than a temporary respite, deferring starvation for a few weeks or months but leaving ourselves implicated in future failures? Somalia has no agriculture to speak of and no prospect of subsistence. How, then, do we avoid the odium of leaving a job half done, if our well-known American impatience begins to rise? These are just a few obvious questions. We have to assume they were asked by the president and others, and plausibly answered. But it is surprising, sometimes, how impulsively sensible people can act. The Somali operation would make sense of a sort if you assumed that the United States, in spite of what has been officially said, planned to linger in Somalia to engage in a bit of what used to be called "nation-building." Nation-building is, however, a sensitive subject. It failed in Vietnam; and its prospects in Somalia are far dimmer than they were in Indochina unless the U.S. Army has acquired the power to create political order out of nothingness. And, of course, to make rain and reverse desertification. It probably has occurred to a realist or two at the Pentagon that famine relief on this scale is one way to employ costly but idle military manpower which Congress might otherwise phase out. And there are probably other unacknowledged rationales in the background. The nonsense charge has been heard, for instance, that because the U.S. declined to entangle itself in behalf of the Bosnians in the Yugoslav civil war, we are indifferent to the death of Muslims. Mature and experienced leaders have to learn to ignore such vile sophistries. If complications set in, as they usually do, the Somalia engagement could prove to be a first-class distraction awaiting Gov. Clinton in January. Clinton has gallantly endorsed George Bush's last fling in behalf of the "new world order." But no good deed goes unpunished. In six months, Clinton may wish he had never countersigned this blank check or indeed, heard of the place where it is to be cashed.

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