Posted on July 15, 2015
Not Just Cos
Take back William Fulbright’s medal, too
In the aftermath of the latest Bill Cosby revelations, it has been proposed that the fallen icon be stripped of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to him by George W. Bush in 2002. A petition, being championed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), says Cosby “does not deserve to be on the list of distinguished recipients.” Well, if we’re going to hold the honorees to that standard, we also need to take back the award from the late Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.
Imagine if Cosby had been awarded something called the Presidential Medal of Respectful Treatment of Women. Suppose also that Bush and everyone else had already known about the accusations against Cosby, and the apparent admission contained in his recently released 2005 deposition. That’s how inappropriate it was for Bill Clinton to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Sen. Fulbright.
One would think that being a segregationist would automatically eliminate someone from consideration for such an award, but Fulbright was one of the seven senators (all Democrats) who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He voted against the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and was one of 99 federal legislators (97 of them Democrats) who signed the Southern Manifesto in protest of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
To be fair, Fulbright didn’t want to deny freedom only to black Americans. If he’d gotten his way, the United States would have abandoned its Constitution, morphed into a European-style parliamentary system, and rendered itself subservient to the United Nations. Heaven knows which of our rights he would have bargained away in the process.
An inveterate Communist sympathizer, Fulbright essentially proposed the construction of the Berlin Wall two weeks before it became a reality. “I don’t understand why the East Germans don’t just close their border, because I think they have a right to close it,” he said on July 30, 1961. The people of East Germany had no say in the matter, of course. By “the East Germans,” he meant the Communist government of a Soviet-dominated prison state. What he was really advocating was that the inhabitants of that country be prevented from escaping to the Free World.
A decade earlier, Fulbright had led the charge to censure Sen. Joseph McCarthy, driven in part by McCarthy’s having correctly identified pro-Communist diplomat Philip Jessup as a security risk. For committing the offense of overzealousness in defense of his country, McCarthy is relentlessly smeared as one of the worst villains in American history. Meanwhile Fulbright, an enemy of freedom both at home and abroad, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other entirely unjustified honors.
Fulbright served for 15 years as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a curious position for a man who so loathed his own country that he would often mock those who loved it, sarcastically referring to them as “super-patriots.” In 1961, this animosity manifested itself in the Fulbright Memorandum, in which he proposed that military officers be forbidden from speaking publicly about Communism.
Unsurprisingly, he began undermining the American effort in Vietnam from almost the very beginning. It was his committee that invited John Kerry to testify in 1971, for the purpose, as the Fulbright himself explained, of prodding Congress to “end American participation of the war.” Kerry famously leveled slanderous accusations against his fellow soldiers, with the chairman’s tacit approval. Never during the McCarthy era was the Senate chamber turned into such a circus as it became that day.
Nobody who was trapped in occupied East Berlin, subjected to Jim Crow laws, or imprisoned in Ho Chi Minh’s “reeducation camps” could have possibly associated Sen. Fulbright with the cause of freedom, but Bill Clinton did, and no wonder. It was Fulbright who had arranged for his 23-year-old protege – who had already been drafted – to obtain a deferment in exchange for his insincere promise to join the ROTC upon returning from Oxford. That’s the kind of perverted concept of freedom we should expect from Clinton. After all, it was he who eagerly complied with Cuban officials when they came to our country to demand the return of their government property, in the form of a six-year-old boy.
At least we can be pretty sure that Cosby, whether he keeps his award or not, will ultimately get whatever reputation he deserves. The same cannot be said of Fulbright, whose wickedness had been a matter of public record all along, but whose name has never suffered for it in the least.
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