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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Barr Promises to End Washington’s “Racial Spoils System”

“It took us many years to confront the problems of racism and discrimination in America, but we have come a long way in recent years,” notes Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. “The fact that a leading candidate for president is an African-American speaks volumes about America’s amazing ability to transform itself. This transformation is a testament to the activists involved in the Civil Rights movement four decades ago. But one unfortunate legacy of that era lives on—government racial preferences and quotas in contracting and hiring,” adds Barr.

“Equal opportunity is the essence of the American experience. That is one of many reasons racism and discrimination are so odious: they deny Americans the opportunities that naturally come with citizenship in this great nation. But programs which discriminate against non-minorities are no less unfair,” insists Barr. He points to Small Business Administration Section 8a preferences, Department of Transportation set-asides for minority- (and women-) owned firms, Federal Communications Commission licensing preferences for minorities, federal affirmative action programs and prosecutions that act as de facto quotas, and more.

“The collective impact of these measures is to create a racial spoils system, in which well-connected political operators, under both Republican and Democratic administrations are able to manipulate federal laws, regulations and policies on racial preferences in order gain advantage over competitors. These programs hinder rather than advance genuine racial equality and economic opportunity,” says Barr.

States have been taking the lead in passing constitutional amendments guaranteeing real equality under the law. “Two years ago, for example, Michigan voters approved the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative despite the opposition of virtually the entire political establishment,” notes Barr. “Similar measures are on the ballot this year in Arizona and Colorado, and one has been proposed in Nebraska. I commend activists like Ward Connerly and the citizens of these states for their willingness to fight for equality before the law. But while they can challenge state law, the many abusive federal programs remain unchanged.”

Unfortunately, “both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain represent the status quo in Washington. Sen. Obama has denounced the state votes as ‘designed to drive a wedge between people.’ This year, while running for president, Sen. McCain says he supports the Arizona vote. But ten years ago he opposed a similar effort, sounding like Sen. Obama in calling it ‘divisive’. In contrast, I am truly committed to creating a colorblind society,” says Barr.

“If elected, I will insist that all of my appointees treat everyone— job applicants, program beneficiaries, interested citizens—equally. The government must value diversity, while at the same time emphasizing merit and guaranteeing equality. Toward that end I will dismantle discriminatory programs created by prior presidents, and I will send legislation to Congress to eliminate the statutory basis for today’s racial spoils system,” he adds.

“There is much to regret in America’s past treatment of minorities,” admits Barr. “But Americans have worked hard to overcome their mistakes. We should not compound the problems of the past by institutionalizing ‘reverse’ racial discrimination today. Now, more than ever before, we have a chance to build a society in which all Americans, in Dr. Martin Luther King’s eloquent words, ‘will not be
judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character’.”

Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA.

Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizen’s right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.

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