15 MARCH 1975, Page 12

American letter

Liberal bigots

Al Capp

We, here, are being told that it will strengthen our souls to be deprived of the comforts we have grown accustomed to. Those who tell us that are mainly those who are well-off enough to survive any inconvenience — such as the President, who has never had it so good, with his salary going up four times,.a rent-free town house, a rent-free country retreat, a rent-free ski-lodge, all staffed with rent-free personnel, plus rent-free limousines and planes. Vice-President Rockefeller, too, exudes confidence that we will keep a stiff upper lip, and we are all sure that he will, too.

It is, of course, those inhuman Arabs in their at-long-last discovery of free enterprise, who are causing the trouble for all of us, except for one gallant group of Americans, our oil companies, whose profits have gone up several hundred per cent.

But, aside from the tottering of our economy, and the frightful rise in street crime (when a plane-load of elderly Americans, arriving at the Tel Aviv airport the other day were asked by a TV interviewer if they weren't afraid of Palestinian terrorists, an elderly lady on a cane chuckled and said, "I am from New York. Here, at least, I can take a walk, without being mugged"), the big news here is that the Washington Post has revealed that the CIA is full of spies. And that they aren't playing fair, which is like accusing pickpockets of being sneaky. The CIA, you see, is supposed to ferret out plots against our national security, on foreign shores, but on foreign shores alone. They have, thunders the Post, been extending their investigations to suspects in the US. Suspects in the US are strictly the business of the FBI. And the FBI alone. Now the Post knows as well as any Washington cabdriver that the CIA and the FBI loathe each other. Any collaboration, or even civility, between them has become, over the years, impossible. Now if the Post wanted to make sense, instead of a mess, they might have suggested that they be made into one organisation. But they didn't suggest that and the Congressmen who take their commands from Mrs Graham, the Post's publisher, have launched several full-dress investigations of the CIA and the FBI, which will, of course, shatter the effectiveness of both, and bring joy only to those who wish us ill.

However, to the American in the street, who in the past, was thrilled by spy stories and who would have boisterously overturned the government if the late Senator Joe McCarthy had been any better at telling them, all that CIA-FBI stuff is a bore, and the Congressmen who are spearheading the investigations are apt to get no more thanks from him than a "what the hell is he mucking about with all that James Bond stuff when we've got something real to worry about?" And there is something real: Food; rent; petrol to get us to work; work itself. After decades of being told that we are the richest people on earth, and that we must share our bounty with everyone, everywhere, we are stunned to find that we mos y ar three paydays ahead of utter disaster. W fin that we don't give a damn whether hdochina needs 300 million dollars more of our ammunition; we need the money ourselves. We're sorry about the famines in India and Africa, but if they've managed their affairs as crazily as we have, let them solve it themselves, as we must. And we've grown grumpy about having brotherhood forced down our throats. None of us wants to deprive our black brethren of all the rights we have, except some white sorehead,

who sues a university for barring him and • letting in a black with inferior grades. There are, there always will be, those who are warm-hearted enough, and thick-headed enough to urge us to accept that because, after all, we owe it to them. Without realising that in granting special rights on the basis of race or colour, we are claiming they are not up to the competition, which is the most contemptible racism.

The forced bussing of children, blacks into white schools, whites into black schools, was, when times were better, tolerated, with surliness, but tolerated. Well, times are not so good now and Boston, where the latest bussing news comes from, has been shaken by two events; an elderly white man, fishing, was set upon and stoned to death by some thirty black children; a young white social worker was set .upon by four black youths, set afire, and died. Even Boston's liberal press could not deny that the lynchings were racist. Following this, buses began to roll between Boston's black neighbourhoods and its Irish Catholic neighbourhoods. Although the point of it all is claimed to be 'quality education', the sad truth is that the schools in both neighbourhoods are inferior. Eighteen million dollars has thus far been spent on this lunacy; special drivers, special buses, special police on the buses: special police outside the schools, special police inside the schools. Without a shred of evidence that any of it has contributed to 'quality education' but instead, to make haters of children. The cries of "Niggers, go home!'' mingled with the cries of "You Irish bastards!" As time goes on, it gets no better, but worse. We could have learned from New York City, where bussing has gone on longer. Its educators, those who have not yet fled the city, say publicly conditions are bound to get better. Privately they say conditions couldn't get worse.

Forced bussing in Atlanta, Georgia, once the shining new jewel of the South, has driven all but 45 per cent of its whites to the suburbs, and many of its middle-class blacks as well. Is the white reaction to forced bussing bigotry? Is the middle-class black reaction snobbery? Only the most shameless demogogue will tell you it is. It is simply the fear of black parents as well as white, of sending their children half across the town, instead of down the block, to unfamiliar locales, to face unfamiliar situations, to be out of reach if a crisis occurs.

We are a nation that weeps for mice in an experimental laboratory, placed in a labyrinth, bewildered, frantic, while the experimenters beam down upon them from above. The social experimenters have had their chance. We are taking our kids away from them. Once, it was all the public man's career was worth to say a word against forced bussing. Remember those grand old 'brotherhood' daYs when Sammy Davis was married to a Nordic beauty, and David Frost was on the verge of marrying a beautiful black singer. SamMY Davis is now married to a beautiful black model, and David Frost isn't married to anybody. Brotherhood didn't have to be forced on those levels. It came easily, luxuriouslY, there were lots of precious photographs and interviews. It was down below that the old suspicions lurked, that the races were uneasy about each other. Forced bussing was, of course, the ideal way to create murderous hostility from suspicion and uneasiness. It has set back integration a decade. Today braver politicians, from the President on down, speak out against bussing. There is no bigotry in what they're saying, but cautious good sense. They are for open neighbourhoods where all Amer cans can live. They are for spending the bussing millions on better schools, better equipment. We all laughed at fuzzy old Dwight Eisenhower when he said, "Proceed, but with deliberate speed." That, we now know, is the only waY integration will come, and not by herding kids into buses at the point of a nightstick. Al Capp, the creator of Lil' Abner, write regularly for The Spectator from Americas