Kengor Writes . . .
Paul Kengor is a professor of political science and the executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Paul Kengor is the author of God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life (2004), The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2007), The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007) and The Communist — Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor (Threshold Editions / Mercury Ink 2012).
Women Who Lied About Sexual Assault
Remember the Scottsboro boys?
Over the weekend, a throng of angry protesters gathered outside the Capitol Building with signs and t-shirts touting a new battle cry: BELIEVE WOMEN. It’s a slogan that took off with the #MeToo movement, but it’s in hyperdrive right now.
The left found this slogan useful in serving its latest political purpose: an attempted takedown of Brett Kavanaugh. According to the new mantra, women never lie about sexual abuse, and thus anything and everything that Christine Blasey Ford alleged of Brett Kavanaugh was, ipso facto, accurate. Every charge she leveled must be believed, because women do not lie about sexual assault.
Well, here I would like to interject to remind liberals of one of their favorite historical morality tales: What about the case of the Scottsboro boys? And therein, what about Victoria Price and Ruby Bates?
Recall, liberals, that this has been one of your sacred cows for many decades. As a public service, I herewith share the story:
On March 25, 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, claimed that they had been gang-raped by nine black teens along the railroad from Chattanooga to Memphis. The boys had hopped a train ride, as had the two girls, who were with two white boys. A fight broke out inside the train car, with the white boys tossed off, leaving the white girls and black boys together. The white boys informed the nearest stationmaster that they had been in a fight with the black boys. The stationmaster took quick action. At the next stop, a town called Paint Rock, Alabama, a militia/posse took the law into their hands and “arrested” the black boys, transporting them to jail cells in nearby Scottsboro. The charge was that they had raped the white girls.
As news spread, enraged whites gathered outside the jail, ready to form a lynch mob. The governor of Alabama called in the National Guard.
Local authorities promised the seething vigilantes that justice would be hastily served, guaranteeing quick trials and verdicts. On cue, five days later, on March 30, 1931, an all-white jury indicted the nine boys, and the trial began shortly thereafter.
Thus ensued a whirlwind of complications, from miscarriages of justice to incompetence to retractions. The attorneys who defended the boys were judged too old or too drunk. The boys themselves did not always help their cause: one alleged that everyone was guilty except for himself; two others confessed but later withdrew their admissions, saying they had confessed under physical duress; and the remaining six pleaded innocence.
Not calming the storm was a racist jury, eager to execute the boys. Even as the prosecution argued that the youngest should get life in prison rather than capital punishment, the whites pressed for the gallows for the entire group. All were convicted and sentenced to death.
The story was far from over. A mistrial was declared, appeals were rapidly set in motion, and newspapers began reporting that the two girls were not pure lambs but, rather, Tennessee prostitutes. Yes, prostitutes.
A second round of trials commenced in March 1933.
In the most sensational development of the second trial, Ruby Bates recanted her earlier testimony, claiming she and Victoria Price had not been raped, and had concocted their story out of fear they might be charged for a federal crime because they had crossed state lines while practicing an “immoral” form of business with the white boys; the prosecution contended that Bates was lying, and had been paid off. The jury again voted for conviction, but the judge vetoed.
The case of the Scottsboro boys became a crusade and cause célèbre for the left, especially the Communist left. Communists adopted the Scottsboro case as a major campaign to recruit blacks to Communist Party USA. In one particular instance, their success was sensational: CPUSA’s cynical Scottsboro campaign caught the attention and began drawing into the Communist Party a young journalist and editor in Atlanta named Frank Marshall Davis, who decades later would become a mentor to a Hawaiian adolescent named Barack Obama. Yes, Barack Obama, America’s first black president. (I address this in great detail in my biography of Davis, The Communist.)
The American left insisted on the innocence of the black boys accused of sexual assault. The left insisted that the two women had lied about the sexual assault. You could not believe the women.
So, how does this square with the left’s BELIEVE WOMEN movement today? What does a righteous progressive do with the Scottsboro case now, given the new refrain that women never lie about sexual assault? How to reconcile the Scottsboro boys with the Ford-Kavanaugh case?
Well, truth be told, with the ideological perversities and pathologies of the left, this one can be (partly) tidied up with some nifty identity-racial politics. Here you go: the Scottsboro boys were black men, whereas Brett Kavanaugh is a white man, and a pro-life white man, and a conservative Catholic, and seeking to fill a crucial Supreme Court seat that could threaten the left’s holy grail: Roe v. Wade. Thus, Kavanaugh is a complete reprobate, never to be believed. By contrast, on the left’s ideological totem pole, the Scottsboro boys assume, by nature of their skin color, an elevated victim status that compels them to be believed, just as Kavanaugh’s position at the bottom rung of the pole (near the slimy pond scum) demands a verdict of presumed guilt.
For the confused, or unanointed, just ask a Millennial college grad. This is what your children learn in our universities with your life savings. This is the price you pay for their indoctrination.
But while those curious mental gyrations help a liberal navigate how and why Brett Kavanaugh must be presumed guilty and the Scottsboro boys presumed innocent, it does leave the messy problem of what to do with the left’s new dogma that women never lie about sexual assault.
Again, what about Victoria Price and Ruby Bates?
Yes, yes, I know — they were white southerners. That’s a definite bottom-dweller on the totem pole. But still, they were women. And women, we are told, quite categorically, must always be believed. And one of these two women admitted to lying. Both, at one point, reportedly lied about being raped.
So, liberals, especially those of you dominating our universities, how will you reevaluate the Scottsboro case in light of your new-fangled political sloganeering in October 2018? I’d like to be in the Gender Theory classroom at Swarthmore or Yale when the gals take up that one. Then again, maybe not.
Brett Kavanaugh’s Abortion Critics and Hypocrites
It’s shocking what forms of violence Christine Blasey Ford’s backers will accept.
Something undeniably bad happened to Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. That seems clear. Whether the chief perpetrator was Brett Kavanaugh is something we may never know with absolute certainty, even as his alleged accomplice (named by Ford) likewise insists on Kavanaugh’s innocence. Still, Ford’s story, given in her compelling and emotional testimony, seemed heartfelt and believable. Likewise, Kavanaugh’s denial, given in his compelling and emotional testimony, seemed heartfelt and believable.
My earnest sympathies, at this point, are with both Ford and Kavanaugh, but they are not with the pro-choice Democrats and liberals reflexively backing Ford and reflexively excoriating Brett Kavanaugh as a presumed-guilty sex abuser.
The Senate Democrats and the abortion lobby opposing Kavanaugh vowed to oppose him long before Christine Blasey Ford came forward. Her allegations merely gave them ammunition for a character assassination (rightly or wrongly earned) to further back their pre-determined vote against Kavanaugh from the outset. Three weeks ago, before the public heard of Ford, nearly all Senate Democrats announced their intention to vote against him. And why? We all know the reason. There’s not a liberal or conservative in Washington who doesn’t know the reason.
Three words: abortion, abortion, abortion.
And therein lies something sick, perverse, wicked about the “pro-choice” left’s castigation of Brett Kavanaugh as an abuser. What Kavanaugh was accused by Ford of doing when they were teenagers — forcing himself upon her, covering her mouth, with her fearful of being raped — is an abusive act we all condemn and abhor. I’m the same age as Ford, and if I ever saw a guy doing that to a girl at a party, I would have been the first to pounce on the dirtbag. And I’d shudder to imagine him one day sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
But while such is a violent act that we all, conservatives and liberals alike, condemn and abhor, the same cannot be said about the thinking of conservatives and liberals toward unborn human life.
The pro-life position views unborn children as precious, innocent, and worthy of our intervention and protection. Pro-lifers defend the sanctity and dignity of each life in the womb. They seek to stop violence against unborn babies.
The pro-choice position, to the contrary, does not. It allows for — and, in fact, relentlessly fights for — the “right” of a mother and an abortionist to rip apart an unborn baby in the most destructive way imaginable, often into the third trimester.
A lot of people were crying when they listened to Christine Blasey Ford describe what she claimed happened to her: the pinning down on the bed, the escape from the clutches of her attackers, her “pinballing” (as she described it) down the stairwell, her dash outside, her never forgetting the cruel laughs of the attackers.
It’s indeed very sad. Well, here’s a newsflash: If a national audience of tens of millions of Americans sat and listened to a blow-by-blow description of what happens to an innocent child during an abortion, well, they would be more than weeping. They would be sobbing. They’d be in agony, asking how a supposedly humane country and culture could continue to permit such mass injustice. Why do you think liberal newspaper editors refuse to show even a cartoon rendering of a partial-birth abortion?
Both acts of violence are heart wrenching: against Ford, against some 60 million aborted babies in America since Roe v. Wade.
And yet, it is the latter — the feminist left’s holy grail, Roe v. Wade — that Ford’s most ardent defenders, and Kavanaugh’s most vociferous detractors, are seeking to protect and preserve at all costs. As they demand the protection of victims of sexual abuse, they also demand the preservation of abortion. They seek to undermine Kavanaugh in order to maintain Roe. To borrow from Nancy Pelosi, this is “sacred ground.” Abortion, abortion, abortion.
“The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” said Mother Teresa. “By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.” Abortion
“. . . is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? . . . Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use violence to get what they want.”
Sex abuse is violence. And abortion is violence, too.
And yet, and yet, that is ultimately what the political left and the Senate Democrats are battling for in resisting not just Brett Kavanaugh for the high court but each and every pro-lifer who will sit before the Judiciary Committee. They will continue to oppose all pro-life Supreme Court nominees, regardless of any alleged incidence of sex abuse in their background. And they will do so in the name of the single greatest abuse of unborn children in the history of America: Roe v. Wade.
Liberals, your opposition to violence in the ultimate cause of continuing the violence of abortion — long before and after Brett Kavanaugh — rings rather hypocritical.
George Cahill’s New Constellation
Editor’s Note: George Cahill was a much-appreciated long-time supporter of The St. Croix Review.
George Cahill was a man with a higher mission fixed to the skies.
He volunteered to fight in World War II at the earliest possible age: seventeen-and-a-half. Both parents signed off, and he headed to gunnery school in Las Vegas.
George met his crew in Lincoln, Nebraska. They flew to Newfoundland and then Iceland and England. And there, his mission would be a most daring one.
George flew on a B-17 with the Eighth Air Force. He was a togglier, a perilous position often alternately referred to as a “bombardier” or “nose-gunner” or “tail-gunner,” though George was a stickler for the differences. The togglier sat inside the cramped “nosecone” of the plane and released the bombs.
Earl Tilford, my retired colleague from Grove City College, who himself served in the Air Force, and who had George speak to his classes, told me this about toggliers:
“A B-17 togglier was responsible for arming and dropping the bombs in lieu of a bombardier. . . . The togglier had to flip a number of toggle switches to arm the bombs and activate the release mechanism and — above all — make sure your plane’s bombay doors were open, otherwise you’d blow yourself out of the sky. That happened on occasion.”
George flew 28 combat missions under intense fire, wedged into a tiny spot between two 50-caliber machine guns.
Over lunch one day in September 2015, I pushed George to describe what that was like. He wasn’t surrendering much. I got a few short sentences from him.
“Nothing but plastic between me and the atmosphere,” he told me of his vulnerability while bombing Nazi targets. I asked if the plastic could stop enemy bullets. “Oh, hell no!” he scoffed. “Bullets go right through it, and you hope they go out the other side!” Out the other side of the plane that is, not the other side of the togglier and crewmates.
I asked George if he had “any close calls.” He shot me a shocked look, with another, “Oh, hell!”
This time, the “Oh, hell” meant “Oh, hell yes,” though he didn’t care to elaborate. There were, I pried out of him, “at least a dozen” close calls.
I later learned that on one occasion George’s “Flying Fortress” was so shot up with holes that his crew of 10 had to do an emergency landing in Wales with only one of four engines still operating. As the plane coasted into a landing, the final engine stopped. They barely made it.
That was what George faced.
“Incidentally,” adds Earl Tilford, “more B-17 crewmen were killed in World War II than U.S. Marines. In 1943-1944, attrition rates were near 90 percent for 25-mission tour.”
For a visual, if you’ve seen the chaotic opening scene of the film “Unbroken,” about World War II bombardier and Olympian Louis Zamperini, that’s what George experienced.
“Oh, hell.” That’s about right.
But during our lunch, George wasn’t there to tell me about World War II. He had two other missions that day. First, he showed me around Flag Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh — his creation, pride, and joy. George was the founder and president of the National Flag Foundation, a terrific organization.
George was our flag-man at our American Founders luncheon events, held quarterly by the Center for Vision & Values, at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittsburgh. After saying grace, we would do the Pledge of Allegiance, which George always led, but first with an extemporaneous explanation of something about the American Founders’ understanding of their new flag as representing a kind of New Constellation.
And that brings me to the former togglier’s primary mission that day in September 2015. George took me to lunch to toggle my attention, to zero-in on a project close to his heart: something called The New Constellation.
An admirer of flags since his Boy Scouts days, George explained to me that the arrangement of the stars of the new flag envisioned by the American Founders represented a kind of New Constellation altogether. There was a divine Author to the heavens, who had set the stars in place. The men of the Founders’ era learned to navigate by the stars. Their country would be navigated by both a natural law and divine law — or, as Jefferson put it in the Declaration, by “the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
Nate Mills, a GCC alumnus and emerging expert on the topic, puts it this way: “The Founders believed that by structuring a government inspired by the laws of nature and nature’s God they could look to the night sky as a metaphor for their experiment in federalism.” In the Flag Act of 1776, the flag implemented a design of 13 stars “representing a new constellation.” The Founders saw each colony as a fixed star, set and living in harmony with one another and not interfering in the spheres of any other state’s place in the celestial order. “In understanding their experiment in self-government in terms of astronomy,” says Mills, “the Founders appealed to a powerful set of metaphors to help explain to the world the unique synthesis of ideas that the United States of America represented.”
The New Constellation was a stirring image grounded in the natural, the theological, the astronomical, the philosophical, and the political. The Founders did nothing without meaning, and their flag and New Constellation was no exception.
George loved this concept, and was anxious to convince the Center for Vision & Values to pick it up. He told me he was old and running out of time. It was the last best thing he wanted to do. Current and future generations needed to know. He wanted our group, the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College, to study it. One of my best students, Nate Mills, now with National Review Institute, jumped on it. He did not disappoint. We thrilled George with Nate’s paper and presentation on the topic at our American Founders event in March 2017.
Nate’s work and ours isn’t finished. We will continue to carry this flag for George, whose time has indeed now passed.
George Cahill passed away on July 2, at the age of 92. This unflagging champion of America’s New Constellation now joins the shining light of the brightest and best of all constellations — no doubt a heavenly one.
We salute you, George. *