Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I call bullshit
Senator Alexander on the Senate floor Monday:
There are different ways to acknowledge those times when Americans have failed to live up to our lofty goals. The Senators from Louisiana and Virginia, who are also co-sponsors of our Black History Month resolution, have chosen to apologize for the actions of some earlier Senators as a way of expressing their revulsion to lynching. I also condemn lynching, and this Black History Month resolution condemns lynching. But, rather than begin to catalog and apologize for all those times that some Americans have failed to reach our goals, I prefer to look ahead. I prefer to look to correct current injustices rather than to look to the past. Maya Angelou once wrote, ``History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." {Me: How the hell is celebrating black history more an example of "looking ahead" than a present-day apology is?}

There is no resolution of apology that we can pass today that will teach one more child to read, prevent one more case of AIDS, or stop one more violent crime. The best way for the United States Senate to condemn lynching is to get to work on legislation that would offer African Americans and other Americans better access to good schools, quality health care and decent jobs. By joining together in our Black History Month resolution, 35 members of this body commit ourselves to do just that, to find more ways to look to the future, and to continue to contribute to this work in progress that is the United States of America.

I don't know what my friend Alex Haley would say about this Senate resolution or that Senate resolution. But I do know how he celebrated Black History Month. He told wonderful stories about African Americans and other Americans who believed in the struggle for freedom and the struggle for equality; he minced no words in describing the terrible injustices they overcame. He said to children that they were living in a wonderful country of great goals, and that while many in the past often had failed to reach those goals, that we Americans always recommit ourselves to keep trying.
Doesn't really support this resolution, does he? If he thinks it's a bad idea, he should just have voted against it.

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