But civil rights in their most pristine form are those unalienable rights that our founders talked about so many years ago that belong to all of us.
It is important for us to redefine our thinking with regard to that term, “civil rights,” and to understand that indeed civil rights are individual rights for every citizen. And until we do. . . our nation is in for a long, long period of very rough sledding.
The last few weeks have been some of the most important in our nation’s history.
First, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand Proposition 209 — a measure which says that the state (of California) shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color or ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
California (is now) the first state in the nation to truly say that we want to live out the true meaning of our creed, which is equality under the law for every citizen of this state.
Second … was the election in Houston. (An) initiative … was placed on the ballot by over 20,000 Houstonians who said that they wanted their city to also embrace policies that treat all of their citizens equally.
Houston has a number of contracting programs that set aside up to 20% of the contract dollars for people on the basis of race and gender and ethnic background. The program is available to those who earn up to $16 million per year. Only about five contractors have benefited from the programs in the area of professional services. So it is a racial spoils system that benefits very few people.
The language of the Houston Civil Rights Initiative, Proposition A, is almost identical to the language of Proposition 209. Nowhere in that language do you (see) the words affirmative action. And yet the mayor of the city, a liberal mayor, succeeded in convincing the City Council to place on the ballot the following language: “Shall the city of Houston prohibit affirmative action for women and minorities now and forever in the city of Houston?”
No place in the original language of Proposition A did you have any reference to affirmative action. It’s a term that has no specific meaning. It is not the intention of Proposition 209 and it was not the intention of Proposition A to ban all affirmative action.