Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz posted some nice words about Nelson Mandela on his website. He also reposted them to his Facebook page. Here’s what he said:
Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe. He stood firm for decades on the principle that until all South Africans enjoyed equal liberties he would not leave prison himself, declaring in his autobiography, ‘Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.’ Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free.
We mourn his loss and offer our condolences to his family and the people of South Africa.
Unfortunately, some of Cruz’s followers on Facebook didn’t agree with him and responded with hateful vitriol. Here are a few comments, picked at random:
- Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, and FDR are also dead. They don’t deserve a positive Eulogy either.
- He was a no-good, murdering communist. No wonder obummer likes him so much. He burned alive people who did not agree with him. No sadness here.
- You’re eulogized the inventor of necklacing and the head of a KGB marxist, terrorist organization?
- He was a murderer, plain and simple.
- Mandela is ant-White. [sic]
- This what you get when people are spoon fed lies from the American press. Mandela was a killer, history is a lie.
- I’d like to take this moment to pay my respects to the fallen Boers, now is the time to fight back! Let’s restore South Africa as a Boer nation!
- Ted im ashamed of you . Touting a known communist as a great person. I don’t know if I can vote for you now.
Then people supporting Cruz’s comments about Mandela jumped into the fray. And things got even more bizarre. Right now, there are over 900 comments on the post.
The most common complaints against Mandela are that he was a communist (um, so why didn’t he nationalize anything or do anything else remotely communist when he became president?), and that he was a terrorist because he was involved with groups that killed people during the revolution in South Africa (by that measure, so were the founding fathers of our nation).
They don’t seem to understand that Mandela’s greatness is that he used his time in prison to overcome bitterness and hatred, and managed to largely unite South Africa, both white and black, at a time when both sides were calling for terrible violence and retribution against the other side. Mandela turned sworn enemies into lifelong friends and admirers, including his jailers and the white president he ousted from office.
So, if this is too much for you to read, The Onion has an interesting counterpoint: “Nelson Mandela Becomes First Politician To Be Missed”.
UPDATE: Rick Santorum invokes Mandela to compare Apartheid to Obamacare. Seriously:
Nelson Mandela stood up against a great injustice and was willing to pay a huge price for that. That’s the reason he’s mourned today, because of that struggle that he performed. But you’re right, I mean, what he was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer, but he was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that.
What’s doubly ironic about this is that he slips in his claim that what Mandela “was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer”. Was that a Freudian slip about the Republicans, who are advocating for the repeal of health care reform?