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Bush, Pat Robertson & ‘Operation Blessing’

Published Sep 10, 2005 12:14 AM

George Bush can let Black people drown in New Orleans but he won’t denounce Pat Robertson. He needs him too much.

In the wake of a storm of criticism for his handling of the hurricane and flood, Bush is more dependent on the millionaire televangelist than ever. Never has an event more exposed the utter contempt the capitalist government has for the lives of poor people in the United States.

When he’s not attacking gay rights, Robert son is promoting terrorism. He recently called for assassinating Vene zuela’s elected president, Hugo Chávez, on his “700 Club” television show. However, this hasn’t prevented the Federal Emer gency Management Admini stration (FEMA) from urging people to give money to Robertson’s Operation Blessing.

FEMA has actually put this outfit third on a list of places to receive donations to help Gulf Coast survivors. Will the homeless Black people of the Gulf see any of the money scooped up by Operation Blessing? Or will it be spent on defaming the popular leader of Venezuela’s poor people, who has generously offered New Orleans $120 million in aid?

Robertson may sound like a kook but he presides over a media empire with assets estimated at $200 million. Supporters of Robertson’s Christian Coalition do political dirty work for Bush.

The reason Pat Robertson is the wealthiest of all the hate preachers is because he comes straight from the ruling class. Robertson’s father—Absalom Willis Robertson—was a U.S. senator from Virginia for 20 years.

Pat Robertson’s daddy was the junior partner of Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. in running a segregationist dictatorship that kept Virginia a low-wage paradise for Yankee bosses bringing their runaway plants from the North. In 1946 the Byrd machine considered drafting VEPCO utility workers into Virginia’s National Guard because they were threatening to strike.

“Too much public education only gets working people riled and full of backsass,” said Byrd.

Byrd’s response when the Supreme Court issued its Brown v. Board of Edu cation ruling that school segregation was unconstitutional was to call for “massive resistance.”

The Byrd machine shut down public schools rather than desegregate them. African-American children were barred from public schools in Prince Edwards County, Va., from 1959 to 1964.

The greatest crime of Byrd and Robert son occurred in 1951 in Martinsville, Va., when seven Black men—Francis Grayson, Frank Hairston, Jr., Howard Hairston, James Hairston, Joe Hampton, Booker Millner and John Taylor—were legally lynched there on phony rape charges. The only evidence submitted was their own repudiated “confessions.” So many had to be executed that they were sent to the electric chair in two shifts: four on Feb. 2 and three on Feb. 5.

The ruling class was taking revenge for its earlier failure to put the Scottsboro defendants—nine Black teenagers similarly railroaded—to death. A massive campaign led by the U.S. Communist Party in the 1930s saved their lives.

This is Pat Robertson’s background and the sordid political base he can offer Bush.