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Joe Giardiello



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Did Bush Really Say "Civil Unrest"?

By Joseph M. Giardiello


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I admit my back was to the television when I heard it. So I suppose it is possible it was really Maxine Waters, the ultra-leftist Congressperson from Los Angeles, doing her best impersonation of George W.

But the Texas drawl was so distinctive it just wasn’t possible.

"Civil Unrest." It was him and that’s what he said. Civil unrest. It’s the code word used by the likes of Maxine Waters to attempt to justify the Los Angeles riots of 1992 following the acquittal of the police officers in the Rodney King arrest…er, beating.  They weren't riots - it was unrest brought about by the unequal distribution of wealth in the racist United States.  

You remember Maxine Waters. She’s the radical that is probably still attempting to track down those CIA agents the government sent to deal drugs in her district. And you probably thought it was black drug dealers that were responsible for all that crack cocaine flooding Maxine Waters’ ghetto in southeast Los Angeles. 

Now here was the Republican President of the United States using the same word. But this isn’t just any president – this is my president. Wasn’t he supposed to be different from the last one? Isn’t he supposed to be honest? So why not be honest about what really happened in 1992?

Remember this was the riot that claimed 54 lives. The scenes of truck driver Reginald Denny being dragged from his truck only to have rocks thrown at his head while others tried to stomp him to death are still vivid in many people's minds.

And who can forget the courageous Korean business owners atop their stores, rifles in hand, protecting what the American dream had allowed them to build.

There are still countless businesses that have failed to reopen their doors because of the riots. The property damage costs of the riots topped $1 billion and there no accounting for the costs in unrealized economic activity.

Maybe it's time to stop excusing such behavior and insist people take responsibility for their actions.  That's what we wanted Bill Clinton to do.  It's also what we would like to teach every kindergarten student in the nation.  So why can't we expect a bunch of criminals and thugs who took advantage of a bad situation to do the same?  Maybe it's time to say there will be no more "tolerance" for such "misbehavior."  

But then this is the same president who refused to force U.S. timber and steel companies and unions to take responsibility for their mismanagement and unrealistic labor demands.  So Bush, the free trader, slapped a tariff on imported wood and steel.  

And this is the president who seems to think those that break our immigration laws deserve special treatment over those that followed the proper procedures to get to this country.  

And where is "motorist" Rodney King now? He celebrated the 10th anniversary of the riots in a "rehabilitation" center for drug possession and indecent exposure. His latest arrest is unrelated to his previous run-ins with the law for beating his girlfriend, drunk driving and drug use.

A fitting postscript if there ever was one.

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© Joseph M. Giardiello, 2002, All rights reserved.

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