Just Words Powerful Words – UPDATED

There is an art to good politics

This, however, is artless. And cynical.

First Lady Michelle Obama brought renewed energy to the NAACP today . . .one day before the nation’s largest civil rights group is expected to condemn what it calls racist elements in the Tea Party movement.

Tea Party members have used “racial epithets,” have verbally abused black members of Congress and threatened them, and protestors have engaged in “explicitly racist behavior” and “displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically,” according to the proposed resolution.

“We’re deeply concerned about elements that are trying to move the country back, trying to reverse progress that we’ve made,” NAACP spokeswoman Leila McDowell told ABC News. “We are asking that the law-abiding members of the Tea Party repudiate those racist elements, that they recognize the historic and present racist elements that are within the Tea Party movement.”

Emphasis mine.
Does it matter at all to Ms. McDowell et al. that the rare racist behavior exhibited at any conservative/libertarian gathering is explicitly condemned by the vast majority of tea partiers, and so the repudiation she seeks is already a reality?

Here’s another perspective the NAACP could have offered, had they wished:

“…while there is still work to be done in America, it is heartening to see that when racist behavior is exhibited it is quickly condemned by people of good will in all spheres of society; we work toward the day when racism will exist no more, and the fact that it cannot grab a foothold even among those whose concerns we do not share gives real hope too us, that the dream of Martin Luther King and of so many anonymous, tireless workers for social justice can and will be realized for all God’s children.”

That would be a statement everyone can get behind, because all reasonable people want that. If people really do want to see continuing progress made in converting distrustful hearts and minds, a positive statement like that would be much more effective than the one they’re using.

This country needs someone in authority, somewhere, to acknowledge something good about its people, and to mean it. Lacking that–and we are–such a statement from the NAACP would be something good. And it would have the added benefit of being true.

If they are committed to their statement, then perhaps while the NAACP is condemning “racist elements” in the Tea Party, it can spare a line or two in condemnation of a civil-rights case whose outcome threatens to foment distrust and to re-open wounds that have been healing.

Have people meant what they’ve been saying for the last 50 years, or has it all been just words?

I don’t believe it was all “just words.” I don’t believe that Martin Luther King, whose soaring rhetoric galvanized the nation and motivated all sorts of people to work for equality and justice, died for “just words.”

If it has all been “just words,” then how can we ever move forward?

Sometimes, I feel like a motherless child.

If you missed it last week, Mr. Dalrymple talks about the tea party and racism, here

UPDATE: St. Louis Tea Party (I thought these things were loosely organized?) condemns racism of the NAACP. I don’t see this as being helpful.

Related: Did the DOJ take orders from the White House?
RFK/MLK, Oakland and Us

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Doc: Justice had the civil case already won, when Holder’s crew ordered the charges dropped.

    That is simply incorrect.

    Asst. Atty. Gen. Perez: After reviewing the matter, the Civil Rights Division determined that the facts did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the criminal statutes. The Department did, however, file a civil action on January 7th, 2009, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief under 11(b) against four defendants.

    Based on the careful review of the evidence, the Department concluded that the evidence collected supported the allegations in the complaint against Minister King Samir Shabazz. The Department,therefore, obtained an injunction against defendant King Samir Shabazz

    The Bush Administration decision about the criminal charges preceded the civil action. Then the Obama Administration obtained a civil injunction against Shabazz.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    And just to clarify further, the reason there was no criminal prosecution is because there were no voters who claimed to have been intimidated.

    Civil Rights Commissioner Arlan Melendez: Citizens should be able to vote without intimidation, and it is our Commission’s duty to investigate complaints from citizens that their voting rights have been infringed.

    In this case, however, no citizen has even alleged that he or she was intimidated from voting at the Fairmount Avenue Polling Station in 2008.

  • Marka in the Keys

    These guys are union/leftist plants. I’ve seen them at Tea Parties. The best response is humor, as in following them with signs which read: Liberal Plant or Union Thug. They are obnoxious and I actually watched one of them try to goad a tea partier with “Go ahead, hit me.” I call the police, who then followed him quietly. Their presence made the guy back off. Bottom line: Tea Parties are basically what I call the March of the Grannie Nerds – tame, even lame. The most emotional we get is when we sing the National Anthem or recite the Pledge.
    As Dan Rather used to say (sorta): Humor!

  • Doc

    Well, Zach, I clicked on the pdf and went to page 18…didn’t see anything very interesting there, but the following 25 pages or so showed Perez dancing like Sugar Ray Leonard. I thought I was looking at a replay of Bill Clinton redefining the word “is”. What a farce. Perez wouldn’t directly answer a single question.

    And, Zack, white voters at the Philly polling station were observed approaching the polling place and leaving without voting after seeing the Panthers and their hostile posture and intimidating threats.

    Who were these voters going to complain to, the same Philly Democratic machine that permitted these thugs to station themselves at the polling place in the first place?

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Doc: Perez wouldn’t directly answer a single question.

    Perez made very specific statements. Career professionals, each with decades of experience in the Division, made the judgment. It was determined that a criminal prosecution was unlikely to succeed due to lack of evidence, and a civil injunction was won against the man carrying the baton.

  • KarenT

    The controversy concerning the New Black Panthers was NEVER over a criminal case, despite a couple of mistaken references in the media.

    Maybe this commentary will clarify things a little. Read the whole thing. The quote below is just a summary of the Left’s insistence on making the issue a criminal vs. civil case:

    Yes, the latest claim, according to Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and others, is that the “charges against the New Black Panthers were downgraded by the Bush Department of Justice [inasmuch as] the decision not to file a criminal case occurred before Obama was even in office.” This “downgrade” talking point is apparently supposed to excuse the Obama administration’s decision to dismiss virtually the entire civil voter intimidation case and to neuter the injunction sought against the one remaining defendant so substantially that what was left was little more than a minor annoyance.

    The allegation is that the new people in charge downgraded the CIVIL CASE after winning a default judgment, over the objections of several career attorneys.

    And they downgraded their injunction against the man carrying the baton AFTER winning the default judgment – in the civil case. As I understand the downgrade, NOW he is prohibited from similarly intimidating voters ONLY in Philadelphia, and ONLY during the next election cycle. So he can go taunt and intimidate “crackers” in some other city, apparently.

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