Representative Ron Gamble's speech on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives against legislation to divest Pennsylvania pension funds from South Africa:
I oppose this legislation wholeheartedly because state government has no business dealing with foreign policy. However, if we are going to initiate a foreign policy based on compassion for our fellow man, let's do it fairly and pass my amendment to do the same in every country whose practices are morally reprehensible to us. And that is what this amendment does. I believe legislation has been introduced in this House to address divestiture of companies doing business in Ireland. But I ask you, if we pass the bills before us today, how can we not pass this amendment to do the same in the Soviet Union, Poland, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Albania, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, or Angola, all countries where violations of human rights are everyday occurrences?
First off, we should not be dealing with moral issues thousands of miles away with Pennsylvania pension dollars, at the expense of Pennsylvanians, but rather through the Resolution process—memorializing Congress as we have in the past. South Africa is not an isolated case, nor is it the most inhumane country in the world.
The Washington Post reported in August of 1985 that the Vietnamese torture of Cambodians includes beatings, electrical shocks, and lye powder being thrown in victims' faces. The...