Saturday, June 20, 2009

GOP Misses Great Opportunity

You probably missed this, but last Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to formally apologize for slavery.

There are a few things very wrong with this apology Bill and Republicans missed a great opportunity here. This also highlights the gutlessness of the GOP leadership in Congress on the issue of race. Republicans should have refused to sign onto this Bill unless language was inserted making clear that in the 211 years between 1854 and 1965 the Republican Party fought the Democrats tooth and nail for emancipation and against Jim Crow.

The 1964 Civil rights act was after all just a revival of the 1957 Civil rights Act, proposed by then Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A law that most Democrats, including JFK, voted against. When the 1964 revived law did pass under LBJ, it was by the hard work of Republican Senator Everett Dirksen, and the majority of Republicans voting for its passage while the preponderance of Democrats, including Al Gore Sr. resisted it.

Furthermore, in that same period, Republicans tried 200 times to pass anti lynching laws and were voted down 200 times by Democrats.

The GOP could also have made a great statement in demanding that Democrats apologize, and that they consider paying reparations per the Law suit initiated by Rev. Wayne Perryman which the Democrats have not refuted, rather only challenged Rev. Perryman's "standing" as the representative in this class action suit.

As I said, Republicans missed a great opportunity here. There is another opportunity coming up though. The House has to approve the measure as well. Maybe we can challenge our Representatives in the House to take a different stance and make the Democrats answer for the 200 years of abuse inflicted as well as clearing the record on the GOP’s role throughout that same period.

Eddie Huff
Executive Director
Booker T. Washington Inspirational Network (BTWIN)