I’m sure you’ve all read the articles, seen a bit of the video footage, or caught a blog or two on the linkage between racism and reform on the heels of the passage of the Health Care Bill last week. The shift from accusing President Obama of not being a U.S. citizen and forcing Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor to publicly apologize for describing herself as a “wise Latina” to spitting on Representative Emanuel Cleaver and screaming the ‘n-word’ at Representative John Lewis was seamless and to be expected. This hatred has been fostered and fomented by leaders in the Republican party, encouraged by the non-stop media coverage from all ends of the political spectrum, and driven by a fearful white mass who is nervous about the changing demographics in their communities.
Along with these clear links between Racism & Political Reform, this moment is also a clear example of the difference between the Law and Justice. I urge you to consider the following questions:
- What would happen if it were Black, Latino, Arab, Native American or Asian protesters waving guns at political events, spitting on elected officials, or yelling slurs at Representatives?
- What would happen if it were Black, Latino, Arab, Native American, or Asian elected officials screaming “No You Can’t”, “Liar”, or “Baby Killer” to their colleagues in public debate?
- What would happen if it were a Black, Latino, Arab, Native American, or Asian publicly stating their desire to kill the president?
You could be assured if any of the above scenarios was the case, the perpetrators would be incarcerated, ostracized, and placed on the fridge of public debate as opposed to the center. The law in the above cases would work to it’s fullest extent, but as the perpetrators of the crimes are white the threats and acts of extreme violence are transformed from ‘terrorist’ to ‘minor threats’. For example, the longest charge for plotting and publicly threatening to kill President Obama was one month. Justice would insure equal protection and punishment, but this debate about race and reform reveals that the Law is far from anything equal.