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A Friend in Need Among the positions advocated by Richard Armey, the conservative Republican professor from Denton, are the phasing out of the Social Security system in favor of private retirement plans, the curtailing of student loans, of government legal services, and of anti-trust regulation, and the replacement of welfare and food stamps with a negative income tax. In June, Arrney joined Sen. Jesse Helms in welcoming the contra guerrilla leader Eden Pastora to Washington. Then there is Army’s position on humanitarian aid to Africa and military aid to Nicaraguan guerrillas. During a February 28 debate on emergency aid to Africa, Armey emerged on the House floor to speak against sending the aid. “This nation has always responded, and we reach out with the compassion in our hearts to starving people, but we must temper that` with discipline of the mind. The people of Ethiopia are suffering from an oppressive drought, but they are also suffering from an oppressive regime, a Marxist regime. I am confident that if we extend this aid, it will be used by the regime to solidify its efforts. . . . “We have only limited resources that we can use to relieve suffering in the world, and we can use those resources . . . better to help those people who are fighting for their freedom in other parts of the world.” On March 6, Arrney continued his discussion of the political uses of humanitarian aid in a Special Order, “Rethinking America’s Foreign Policy.” ” . . throughout the debate over this emergency appropriation [aid to Africa] there was little attention given to long-term foreign assistance goals as they relate to foreign policy objectives. . . . Perpetuating the present. Marxist regime in Ethiopia is for all practical purposes condemning them to chronic economic and agricultural shortfalls. In the long run the famine relief bill runs counter to the purpose of American foreign policy. “. . even though it may be repugnant . . . to extend aid on political grounds, the point I am making is that we have so many, people across the nation who have already committed themselves to the fight for freedom that we have the option to give that aid as assistance to the fight. . . Now why then would we desert that option and exercise instead the option to extend aid into thee hands of a man like Mengistu [of Ethiopia],” On June 5, Armey spoke on the floor of the House in favor of assisting the contras: “We are not dealing with a legitimate government in Nicaragua. . “Assistance to the freedom fighters is consistent with the traditional American concern for self-determination. Actions taken to defend against forceful imposition of totalitarian systems are actions consistent with our national heritage. In fact, no action in the face of totalitarian control is a betrayal of our own revolution. “So clearly the continued funding of the freedom fighters is not only consistent with traditional American values, but a necessary response to totalitarian oppression. .. We should also be proud of our lonely stand for freedom and self-determina tion in Nicaragua. Sandinista Com munists have betrayed their own revolution. Let us not betray ours.” V. T. “overzealous . . . unfair, and do indeed put people in jeopardy of their civil rights,” are run by men like William Bradford Reynolds, who is more often accused of undermining, rather than enforcing, civil rights laws. But the bugaboo of an overgrown federal bureaucracy is a time-worn ploy in the fight against civil rights legislation. Twenty-one years ago, when Congress debated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination against minorities in employment, public accommodations, education, and in any other “program or activity” receiving federal funds another Texan rose on the floor of the Senate to argue it down. Senator John Tower contended that the act contained “rather sinister aspects and implications which go beyond the mere enforcement of the constitutional rights of minorities. I believe that in connection with the enforcement of this measure and in its application we can look forward to harassment of businesses and individuals.” Prior to reconstruction John Tower claimed, “we were not segregated in the South.” Republican Tower joined Southern conservative Democrats in opposing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Like Armey, Tower was in need of a history lesson. Defending his position against the act, he claimed that prior to Reconstruction “we were not segregated in the South.” In a breathtaking apologia for the Southern whites, Tower contended that “those of us in the South are victims of circumstances not of our own making, nor of our own choosing. . . . The Southern people are good-hearted people. They are not cruel people. They are a kind, warm, and hospitable people.” Twenty years later, Republican Dick Armey has taken up where Tower left off, as the spokesman for the “many, many good and true people who are well-mannered, very considerate and wouldn’t think of discriminating.” The debate on the Restoration Act is whether, as Mary Berry put it, “you should receive federal taxpayers’ money that all taxpayers who don’t avoid or evade taxes pay . . . while you are, in fact, engaging in excluding others” through illegal discriminatory practices. Armey turned that question into a discussion of a federal government thug’s taking advantage of the good nature of the American people. Armey, of course, speaks in favor of “civil rights” but only when he can manipulate the term to apply to a pet cause. An adamant opponent of abortion, Armey is a cosponsor of the “Preborn Civil Rights Act of 1985.” When his committee took up the Restoration Act, Armey attempted to attach a right-to-life amendment, guaranteeing the civil rights granted in existing statutes to fetuses. His amendment was defeated without discussion, 22 to 8. When’the House Education and Labor Committee approved the bill Armey and his Texas Republican colleague, Steve Bartlett of Dallas, were the sole dissenting votes. They are Reagan Republicans to the core vigilant night riders on a mission to protect Americans \(their civil rights legislation. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15