Q I want to ask a question that I asked yesterday. How is civil rights the cornerstone of this administration?Wow! Thoughts?
MR. SNOW: The President has always talked about civil rights as a cornerstone in a number of ways. It is clear that in this nation, there have been people who have been left behind, that there was long history of discrimination in this nation that has been a stain, that American people have to work together to figure out not merely how to blot the stain, but how to heal the wounds. And the President has tried to reach out with faith-based initiatives. He's tried to do it by talking about not only No Child Left Behind, but also initiatives to allow people the choice to go to the best available schools.
And I think the way you try to deal with civil rights is to try to create an atmosphere in which people can lay aside old prejudices and also try to remove that debris, because that is debris that stands between us and a better future. And you do that in a number of ways. You do that by building a stronger economy that can offer jobs to more. You do it by trying to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to be educated and trained in such a way as to take full advantage of it. You try to do that by doing family initiatives, because in many poor neighborhoods in this country there is one feature that stands out, and that is single-parent households where people toil heroically, but there is a difference -- and to try to rebuild families safe and whole.
It's important, when you talk about crime, that somebody can walk the streets without having to worry about random acts of violence and shooting. In other words, civil rights is an extension of common sense, which is, in common sense, what you want to do is to build a society where young men and women have the opportunity to grow up in safe neighborhoods, attend good schools, be embraced by parents who love them and whose love they can count upon, and to do it in a way to know that they are not going to be victimized because of their race, because of their skin color, and because of their background.
Civil rights is built around a whole series of programs, and they extend those same benefits to everybody. But for those who have never had them before, it is the hope that that is going to help transform their lives. If you talk about -- there are job training programs. There are reconstruction programs. There are business grant programs. There are attempts to do targeted grants. We're going to be seeing some of this, as well. And that's how you build civil rights.
In many ways, the infrastructure that says bigotry is illegal has been constructed. But now comes the business of removing the barriers that still remain in the way, so the American Dream can be accessible to all.
Q Did Hurricane Katrina divert the laying of that cornerstone of civil rights?
MR. SNOW: No, I think what Hurricane Katrina did was to expose some ways -- to wake everybody up to the difficulty, not only of dealing with natural disasters, but their aftermath.
Got to go, guys. Thank you very much.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Civil Rights Lost: "The Debris That Stands Between Us And A Better Future"
Try not to get your underwear in a twist if you can when you read this statement from the President's spokesmodel...It's a doosy: