One key measurement of a president’s commitment to democracy is his (or her) commitment to civil rights. The following is a brief review of George W. Bush’s poor civil rights record.
* Nominated and appointed judges hostile to civil rights.
* Stopped providing information on the race, ethnicity, gender, and job classification of employees at the nation’s largest companies.
* Requested less civil rights enforcement funding than previous administrations.
* Remained virtually silent on voting rights, African American disenfranchisement, election reform and funding.
* Inhibited equal education opportunity with deeply flawed No Child Left Behind law.
* Opposed, in a brief to the Supreme Court, University of Michigan’s affirmative action program.
* Underfunded fair housing opportunities and continued redlining by lending institutions. Cut Section 8 vouchers.
* In wake of Sept. 11, 2001, detained more than 1,000 Arab American, Middle Eastern and South Asian men, who had no connection to terrorism.
* Failed to support hate crime legislation strengthening protections for women, gay men and lesbians, and persons with disabilities.
* Ignored high levels of pollution and toxins in predominantly Black, Native American and Latino communities as a civil right issue.
* Promoted unequal and unfair immigration policies with Mexican, Haitian, Arab and Muslim immigrants bearing the burden.
* “Faith-Based and Community Initiative” allows discrimination against individuals based on religion.
Source: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights draft staff report, “Redefining Rights in America. The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration, 2001-2004.”