As I read an article about Charles Rangel, once the premier political powerhouse of New York politics and his thoughts about retiring I realized that he along with many other Civil Rights Stalwarts are all in the twilight of their years. Their influence had been waning after all this time and those that are replacing them don’t have the same gravitas of being there during the movement; they are just hanging on trying to remain relevant in out changing society.
Congressman Rangel is a perfect example, the last two elections have not been easy. In 2010 he had 5 challengers and barely got 50% of the vote. In 2012 things got even harder as the District was redrawn to include parts of the North Bronx, over his loudest complaints. His district is now over 45% Hispanic, yet he manage to eke out a victory by little over thousand votes, the next election might be his last.
All of these is happening at time when he trying to live down several scandals, the Dominican villa that he failed to pay taxes on, the use of rent-stabilized apartment as his office, the use of Congressional stationary to fund raise, leading to censure by Congress and losing his Chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee one of the most powerful in Congress.
Congressman Rangel and others in the Congressional Black Caucus were once fierce opponents to any Amnesty Bill, as they correctly pointed out those that would be amnestied would be in direct competition with blacks, but that stance has been replaced by actively seeking it. Whether this change is out of political expediency, I don’t know, but many of the CBC members are now in districts that have large Hispanic populations and their support is essential for re-election like Karen Bass CA 37th, Al Green TX-09th, Steven Horsford NV-04th, Sheila Jackson Lee, TX-18, Eddie Bernice Johnson, TX-30th among others.
One thing that has not changed is the utter dislike for republicans and White people. quoting from the article:
House Republicans? Have done more damage to American competitiveness than al Qaeda ever could. “What is happening is sabotage. Terrorists couldn’t do a better job than the Republicans are doing.”
“The Tea Party? Defeat them the same way segregation was beaten. “It is the same group we faced in the South with those whitecrackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. ‘I don’t want to see it and I am not a part of it.’ What the hell! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break.”
To Rangel and others of that era, fighting against he Tea Party and Republicans is tantamount to opposing the segregationist 50 years ago. If immigration amnesty is opposed by Republicans then he is going to do the opposite, is about fighting the fight. Is the South over again.
Another civil rights era leader that is still living in the past is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal observes that the Rev. Jackson is calling Florida the new “Selma of our time”. This is to compare Florida to Selma, Alabama and the marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama the state’s capital. But it appears that this is a common refrain for Rev. Jackson as he called Florida Selma back in 2000, when the state was the deciding vote in the Presidential Election. He also called Houston the new Selma in March to protest the ending of two racial preference programs and few months earlier as was reported by the NY Times he said the same thing about the Decatur, Illinois school system when he was protesting to win more lenient treatment for black students.
Taranto has other examples of Rev. Jackson evoking Selma to make a point, but all it accomplishes is demeaning the accomplishment of those of the era, and demonstrating how fall they have fallen. From fighting a righteous fight for equality to throwing temper tantrums all around the country if they don’t agree with something.
Listening to the NAACP, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the charlatan Sharpton the impression is that we are still in the 60’s but as the 1st Black President, 2nd in count Bill Clinton, things are better. A survey of High School blacks students last year 84% of the students thought that race was not a problem, (I have lost the link will post when I find it).
The adoption of the NAACP, Jackson, Sharpton and many others of the Zimmerman Case to raise issues of race, racial profiling, discrimination in the Justice System and the rabidly persecution after the non-guilty verdict have caused more people to question their relevancy today. Not only that but the united front that the movement had achieved, primarily has begun to show cracks, more and more black voices are not toying the line.
CNN’s Don Lemon agreed with Bill O’Reilly about some of the issues in the black community in this video, for which he was called a turncoat MOFO
Russell Simmons a man who has become a multimillionaire by promoting the Urban Culture, selling music, magazines and fashion objected to Lemon and wrote a letter
I got a chance to see what you said over the weekend about black America. At first I thought it was Fox News, but then I remembered you’re a CNN dude. I have nothing against Fox News, as Roger Ailes is my man, but the gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings. Thank goodness my political director, Michael Skolnik, was on the show to stand up for African-Americans, because conservatives love when we blame ourselves for the conditions that have destroyed the fabric of the black community. I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands. Read the rest here:
To Simmons the issues that Lemon talked about were just fashion statements, like bell bottoms and dashikis were in the 70’s and for some kids that is all that it will be, but for too many there are other aspects of the Culture, that promote violence and misogynistic behavior. He points out that many of those rebellious youths became quite successful as adults, forgetting to mention that at lot of that behavior was conducted in the schools and colleges, today because of the bad behavior they are not finishing HS much less going on to college, comparing the two eras only damages the community.
Ann Althouse had a conversation with Glenn Loury the black progressive professor in Brown University regarding the case and whether it was the right case to become a racial cause celebre? To which he admitted that it was not, though he hedged when asked whether it was proper for the NAACP and Sharpton to adopt cases to make political points.
Other black voices have also spoken to express their agreement with the verdict in the case, people like Charles Barkley, hall of fame basketball player and TNT announcer and Stephen A. Smith ESPN commentator. Smith expressed his dismay at the utter failure of the Media to portray the case fairly, which led to his original amazement at the verdict.
This of course has not stopped the NAACP, Rev. Jackson or Al Sharpton from their stance regarding the verdict or their attack on Stand Your Ground laws that were not involved in the case to begin with. The same law that is used disproportionately by blacks in Florida and that had the support of both President Obama, when he was a State Legislator in Illinois or Congresswoman Wilson who voted for the law when it was passed in Florida in 2005. After all the black community suffer disproportionately by the violence in their communities.
So what is going on by all this fuss, it appears that the old dinosaurs are trying to demonstrate their relevancy. The have failed their community and the community is noticing. The attention on SYG grounds distracts from other areas that are more important and have a higher impact on the community. Crime, unwed motherhood, drop-out rates all of these issues will have a larger and more lasting effect on the community. A law that has been used on average 28 times a year, almost half of which have been invoked by black defendants in Florida, will not make long-lasting effects on the community, but it sure looks like they are doing something.
Rev. Jackson used to say: “Take a moment and turn it into a cause” but this cause is not getting the attention that they commanded and that is a good sign. Maybe now we can focus on things that will make a difference in the Black community for the betterment of the whole country.