August 29, 2013 /

How The Right Is Using Tim Scott

While the nation celebrated a milestone in civil rights history, the right has decided to turn that celebration into a false call of discrimination while using the only African American currently serving in the Senate.

How The Right Is Using Tim Scott

If you haven’t heard, there’s a new outrage going on in the right. The outrage is over who didn’t get a chance to speak at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington celebration yesterday. The wingnuts are up in arms because the only black Senator, Tim Scott, wasn’t invited to speak. Mediaite points out that many on the right are claiming this is because Scott is a conservative:

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was appointed to replace the recently-retired Jim DeMint, thus leading to pundits like USA Today’s DeWayne Wickham to conclude that he was rightfully excluded due to his “appointed” status, rather than being an officially “elected” senator. Conservative critics have countered that he was excluded due to his conservative politics; which would have been presented in stark contrast to the vast majority of liberal speakers.

However that point has been proven false. Numerous Republicans were invited to speak, including John Boehner, Eric Cantor and John McCain. All three of them declined, citing prior engagements. Michael Steele, the former head of the RNC, even chided Republican leadership for this:

Michael Steele, the first black Republican lieutenant governor of Maryland and a former Republican National Committee chairman, said event organizers told him that they were having difficulty attracting Republican speakers. He faulted GOP leaders for not making time to attend.

“It’s part of a continuing narrative that the party finds itself in with these big deals for minority communities around the country and how they perceive our response to them,” he said.

I should mention that both former President Bushs were invited, but had to decline due to recent health concerns. That is a perfectly acceptable excuse. As for John Boehner, the leader of the people’s house, and his excuse:

Read on

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): The top Republican in the House declined his invitation because of a scheduling conflict. He is currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and had no public events scheduled for Wednesday.

Well that seems rather weak, but not as weak as the excuse of the Republican leader in the people’s house:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): According to the Grand Forks Herald, Cantor spent Wednesday touring oilfields in North Dakota with Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and meeting with the North Dakota Petroleum Council lobbying group.

But I’m straying into that pesky areas of facts. This post is about Fox News and they just won’t have any of that fact stuff happening here! So this morning they went ahead and still questioned the absence of one Tim Scott:

Perhaps they missed the memo that we already know that invited conservative leaders declined, or maybe they only listen to Bill O’Reilly and totally missed it. Either way, they still got a very sensible explanation from one guest on the segment:

Progressive radio host Richard Fowler told Fox host Martha MacCallum that Scott was likely not invited because the march was “about more than race.” He asserted that “this is about jobs and justice” and because the black Republican’s “voting records both in the House and Senate don’t speak to jobs or justice… he didn’t get an invite.”

Still, that’s not good enough for Fox. They are still outraged that the “only black man in the United States Senate” wasn’t invited. Then in comes an old familiar of the conservative media to explain why it is so wrong that Scott wasn’t invited:

Appalled at such a notion, National Review Rich Lowry countered that the event was “supposed to be a national commemoration of a great national event, and the reason why we remember the march is not because you had a lot of people there talking about more government activism or more jobs programs, it’s because you had an effort to return the country to its founding ideals to achieve basic justice when it came to civil rights.”

Ahh civil rights. Forget the fact that all the actual leadership of the congressional Republicans that were invited declined. Instead Tim Scott, a man who has served one term in the House and 8 months in the Senate, should have been invited.

So what makes Scott the voice of the conservative movement? It certainly isn’t his experience in the United States Congress or the national stage. Outside of Scott’s appointment in January, what have we really heard about the guy before yesterday? Unless you are a political junky, chances are you had no idea who this man was.

Let’s look at the makeup of the Senate. Yes Tim Scott is the only African American Senator. He has been since last month, when Mo Cowan’s appointed term, filling in for John Kerry, was up. And technically the swearing in of Mo Cowan on February 1 of this year marked the first time since the Senate first convened in 1789 that we had two African Americans serving simultaneously. But is that some great milestone in civil rights? Absolutely not. Both Cowan and Scott were appointed to their seats. It was the will of two people, instead of “the people”. To call that an achievement would be an insult to African Americans, the civil rights movements and especially Dr. King.

Currently we have 43 African Americans serving in Congress. Tim Scott is the only one in the Senate, with the other 42 serving in the House. Of those 42 in the House, 0 of them are Republicans. Now let’s look at the speakers from yesterday. Of those 42 African American members of the House, here are the ones that spoke yesterday:

U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards

Rep. Edwards was the executive director for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a group dedicated to helping women who were the victims of domestic violence. She also worked to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Then there is this:

On April 27, 2009, Rep. Donna Edwards was arrested outside the Sudan embassy during a protest against genocide in Darfur.[6] The Representative and five other US Congressional Representatives were protesting the blocking of aid to victims. They were arrested after ignoring warnings issued by police maintaining a police line to protect the embassy in Washington D.C.

If that does not exemplify the legacy of Dr. King, I don’t know what does.

U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge

Rep. Fudge is the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman. This group is not limited by party affiliation. There was a Republican member until the first of this year, Allen West. It just so happens that the only African American Republican in Congress right now decided not to join. What does the CBC do? Let me show you:

Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and to address their legislativeconcerns.For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently been the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the Government of the United States of America to ensure that everyone in the United States has an opportunity to achieve their version of the American Dream.

The legislative agenda of universal empowerment that Members of the Congressional Black Caucus collectively pursue include but are not limited to: the creation of universal access to a world-class education from birth through post secondary level; the creation of universal access to quality, affordable health care and the elimination of racially based health disparities; the creation of universal access to modern technology, capital and full, fairly-compensated employment; the creation and or expansion of U.S. foreign policy initiatives that will contribute to the survival, health, education and general welfare of all peoples of the world in a manner consistent with universal human dignity, tolerance and respect and such other legislative action as a majority of the entire CBC Membership may support.

Again, something very much reminiscent of Dr. King.

U.S. Congressman John Lewis

Really? Do I need to explain why Lewis is an appropriate speaker? Well maybe everyone doesn’t know. I know I am getting older and also a history buff.

Rep. Lewis helped organize the original March on Washington 50 years ago with Dr. King. He was the youngest speaker that day and the only one remaining today.

And that’s it!

Out of 43 African Americans in Congress, only 3 spoke. One who continues the kind of fight today that Dr. King started over half a century ago. One that represents all the African American’s in Congress, despite one not wanting to be associated with them, and another, well who has more reason than anyone to be there.

I’m sorry ,Republicans, if Tim Scott doesn’t fit that mold. It’s obvious you are trying to make him into some champion of civil rights in the form of Dr. King, but the fact is that he isn’t. There could have been conservatives on that stage yesterday, but every single one opted not to show up. Now you are wanting to act like everyone that worked their asses off to commemorate the late Dr. King colluded against you, when the evidence suggests otherwise. Not only that, but when one of the voices of the right wing media is making it sound like yesterday was about a bunch of lazy blacks looking for a handout. Remember, here’s Rich Lowry in that video clip:

“supposed to be a national commemoration of a great national event, and the reason why we remember the march is not because you had a lot of people there talking about more government activism or more jobs programs, it’s because you had an effort to return the country to its founding ideals to achieve basic justice when it came to civil rights.” – Rich Lowry

Or when you have your host on Fox News questioning the presence of cultural icon for African Americans:

Fox host Martha MacCallum: “I’m not sure what he’s (Jamie Foxx) done to create jobs in the country either, but let’s listen to what he says.”

Yeah. And remember, this was two white people telling the African American on the panel what was happening. How dare him thing something else! Just like Rush Limbaugh will tell African American’s what is offensive and what isn’t, their feelings be dammed!

But back to my original point. When the GOP is trying to hijack the celebration of our nation moving beyond the designation of people based upon the color of the skin and the man who got us here, and doing it for reasons that are factually incorrect (conservative speakers were invited, they declined to show up!), then it is about as obvious as you can get that you’re only reason for outrage today is to either try and destroy the celebration that happened yesterday or to say that Tim Scott should have been invited to speak simply because of the color of his skin. Whatever the reason, it is nothing but a total insult to the legacy of Dr. King and every single person that stood beside him to get us where we are today. You should all be ashamed!

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