COLUMN:Finally a cover-up worth talking about

Tim Paluch

There sure are plenty of hard core Christian conservatives in politics these days. You’ve got your Dubyas and your Cheneys, your Jesse Helmses and your Phil Gramms, your Trent Lotts and your Tom DeLays. Not to mention the ageless Strom Thurmond, who actually served on the Senate subcommittee that founded Christianity. But there’s one man in Washington in a league of his own – Attorney General John Ashcroft. You’ve heard of the Bible Belt. Well, Ashcroft wears one. He makes Helms look like Nietzsche.

Unfortunately for Ashcroft, a lot of the time he is seen as racist and sexist; a closed-minded old-time conservative. That’s just not true. Sure, he may consider the WNBA soft-core porn, but that doesn’t make him a bigot. Allow me to set the record straight:

Myth: John Ashcroft is a racist.

Fact: Ashcroft is not a racist. Now gay minorities? That’s a whole different story.

Myth: John Ashcroft is against any form of gun-control.

Fact: Ashcroft does support some forms of gun control. For example, he does not think gay minorities should be allowed to carry guns.

Myth: John Ashcroft is


Fact: Ashcroft is in no way sexist. And as long as you keep your mouth shut, little missy, he won’t have to tell you that again.

Ashcroft’s actions in the past may have a small part in reinforcing that image. He opposed voluntary school segregation plans in his home state of Missouri as attorney general there. He praised Southern Civil War heroes. He opposed the appointment of Ronnie White, a black Missouri judge, to a federal court position.

He also received an honorary degree from Bob Jones University, where you need parental permission to date interracially.

And just recently, Ashcroft was involved in a controversial move that has his critics screaming “cover-up.”

Monday the Justice Deparment announced that over $8,000 – of taxpayer money – would be spent for curtains to conceal two 1930s Art Deco statues of semi-nude figures in the building’s Great Hall.

One statue – the “Spirit of Justice” – wears a toga, but has one breast exposed. Another statue – the “Majesty of Justice,” has a cloth draped over his waist. The curtains cost $8,650 – approximately $8,625 more than the couple of Wal-Mart sheets that could have done the job just fine.

Ashcroft reportedly was getting sick and tired of being photographed with an exposed breast over his shoulder, and ordered the statues covered.

Talk about nit picky. If every politician in D.C. threw a fit every time they got

photographed with someone else’s bare breasts, half the Clinton administration would have left town before the end of the first term.

Since Monday’s announcement, Ashcroft has also ordered the very phallic and well-endowed Washington Monument be torn down, told the Statue of Liberty to stop showing so much skin, and began cluster-bombing Larry Flynt’s estate.

So what was it that offended Ashcroft about the statues? Was it the nipple? Had to be the nipple. I’m willing to assume if this “Spirit of Justice” was merely sporting cleavage there’d be no such debate. Maybe Mr. Ashcroft was never breast-fed as a child. Or maybe he was breastfed as a child and the experience traumatized him to the point where any exposed nipple on the premises makes him uncomfortable.

To completely understand Ashcroft, you have to understand his religious upbringing.

He grew up in Springfield, Mo., the son of the town minister. In his book, “Lessons from a Father to his Son,” Ashcroft tells of how he woke up every morning hearing “the magisterial wake-up call” of his father’s prayers.

Imagine “the talk” in that house.

John: You wanted to talk, Dad?

Father Ashcroft: Yea . Son, there comes a time . you see, when a man and a woman . ugh . if you’re in love . hmmm . son, you’re not gay, are ya?

John: No, Dad.

Father Ashcroft: Atta boy.

So you can’t really blame Ashcroft for being a prude. Blame his family. Blame his religion. Or, do as he does and blame it on the nipple hanging over your right shoulder.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.