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Marin, Sonoma County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Affirmative Action: Still a Vital Necessity for Peoples of Color

By Michael Halliwell

Candidate for United States Representative; District 6

This information is provided by the candidate
The Action Coalition for People of Color was kind enough to sponsor an April 10, 2006 joint appearance for 6th district congressional candidates. In response to their preliminary questions I prepared this position paper and sent it to them and the local newspapers in my Press Release of April 10.
Stereotypes are unfair, even when they are statistically valid. I didn't like it when as a teen-aged male automobile driver my insurance rates were driven up by hot-rodders who tried to impress their girl friends by playing a game called "chicken" (veering off from a head-on collision at the last moment). As a middle-aged man I avoided reduced employment opportunity that could have been justified by the greater vulnerability to heart attacks of men may age compared to women, and groups less powerful than men in the "command generation" deserve the same consideration. College-aged people of color who are actively involved in their communities can perform the vital function of being role models, that is simply impossible for anyone else. Without images of success for members of disadvantaged groups, society never benefits from the talents of many who simply give up. The sheer tenacity of imagining oneself as being able to become the "first ever" in one's social environment to achieve unexampled success is a very steep mental hill for anyone to climb.

In 1970 being a Republican nominee for the State Senate (along with Peter Behr I supported the Reform Coalition against the mostly Democrat Old Guard Coalition which controlled the upper house of our State Legislature) made it possible to work with Marin County Republican Assemblyman Bill Bagley in writing a Civil Rights plank for our State Party Platform which defended affirmative action in college and the business world. During my 36 years as a college professor in the CSU system, I have seen how important education can be as an engine of upward mobility. I generally support Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's position on affirmative action, but I would shift the burden from white students displaced by these programs to society at large, by giving such students large reductions in their future tuition in exchange for delaying the start of their college education by one year. I oppose the form of affirmative action which treats illegal aliens the same as American citizens living in California (in terms of tuition charged by our State universities), while charging much higher fees to American citizens from other states. Along with 60% of California voters, I supported Prop 187's denial of State services to illegal aliens, and I considered Governor Gray Davis' sabotage of Prop 187 (by withdrawing an appeal of a Ninth Circuit decision against it) sufficient grounds for his recall and replacement by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.

The heart and soul of the Republican Party is small business, and we will never achieve our political potential in the ghettoes and barrios where most members of ethnic minorities still live, until we revive the small business sector in such communities. I support somewhat lower rates for small business loans to encourage minority business startups, and I don't think there is anything wrong with set-asides of a modest portion of work under State contracts for minority businesses which are struggling to get on their feet. However, I oppose the sort of affirmative-action scam whereby a few token members of a minority group serve as a "front" in businesses where most of the profits go to members of non-disadvantaged groups.

I am only 1/16 Cherokee Indian, but since our tribe requires no "blood quantum" for membership, this part of my heritage is my reference group. I have the same Type A blood that made our people especially vulnerable to the small pox virus (which is structurally similar to Type A hemoglobin and harder for our antibodies to recognize), so I can never forgive the genocidal tactic of distributing small-pox infested blankets as a way of depleting the Cherokee population on valuable land in Georgia. My niece is only 1/32 Cherokee, but she knows enough about the alphabet Chief Sequoia devised for our language to inform me that its sound symbols can't be used to represent the English sounds in the phrase "Custer had it coming" (that I wanted to use as a bumper sticker). She is a newly minted physician who told me about the significance of Type A blood (since I am also Rh-positive, and skipped a grade in grammar school, I used to like to joke "I'm A+, I thought you could tell" to everyone who was a year or two older in my classes.) Neither she nor I have any intention of "passing" as we could on the basis of our skin color, since this would be a way of admitting that the bastards who distributed the small-pox infected blankets had won. Not only did Chief Sequoia adapt the European invention of the alphabet to the Cherokee language, he learned enough about the American legal system to win a Supreme Court case upholding treaties which gave Cherokee's clear legal title to their land in Georgia. President Andrew Jackson responded to this decision by declaring "The Court has made its decision, now let them enforce it" and rousting the Cherokees in Georgia into a forced march to Oklahoma (the Trail of Tears) on which thousands perished. President Jackson also appointed Roger Taney as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who handed down the Dredd Scott Decision (which proclaimed that Americans of African ancestry had no rights which those of European ancestry need respect). Some day I hope that American Indians will be able to renew our historic cooperation with Black people to the extent of forming a coalition to remove Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill and replacing his with Theodore Roosevelt. In the meantime I rejoice that I as a Republican I never have to attend a Jackson Day dinner.

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