Cow­er­ing GOP Congress makes Dems proud

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

Hats off to Florida Repub­li­can Reps. Ron De­San­tis, Matt Gaetz and nine of their GOP House col­leagues who sent a let­ter to U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions ask­ing for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of eight Trump pro­tag­o­nists and Clin­ton sup­port­ers.

This is es­pe­cially timely since it is be­ing re­ported today that the in­spec­tor gen­eral of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) has sent a crim­i­nal re­fer­ral of for­mer FBI of­fi­cial An­drew McCabe to the U.S. At­tor­ney's of­fice in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

In ad­di­tion to McCabe, those tar­geted in the let­ter in­clude for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch, for­mer sec­re­tary of state and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, and for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey.

My ques­tion: Why did only 11 Repub­li­cans sign the let­ter? Where were the other 237 and es­pe­cially the nearly 40 who are not run­ning for re­elec­tion? What’s their ex­cuse for not join­ing in the let­ter? What are they afraid of? They have noth­ing to lose. Once upon a time, blacks and whites thought that hav­ing a black mayor, po­lice chief, or su­per­in­ten­dent of schools would have an im­pact on re­duc­ing crime, rais­ing black grad­u­a­tion rates, low­er­ing black school sus­pen­sion rates, and im­prov­ing race re­la­tions.

Hav­ing a black, lib­eral Demo­cratic pres­i­dent of the United States would of course bring an end to all of those prob­lems.

His­tory shows that all such thoughts were to­tal fal­la­cies — es­pe­cially hav­ing a black pres­i­dent.

In a sim­i­lar vein, Repub­li­cans and con­ser­va­tives have ar­gued that all the coun­try needs to solve its prob­lems is a Repub­li­can Congress with a Repub­li­can pres­i­dent.

So how much of a dif­fer­ence has it made that Repub­li­cans con­trol the Congress and the White House in terms of poli­cies? As to Congress — not much at all. We have seen that the GOP’s own DOJ has no re­spect for its own GOP Congress’s author­ity. Just this week, the DOJ missed the dead­line and re­fused to pro­vide key GOP Com­mit­tee chairs copies of memos writ­ten by for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey re­gard­ing dis­cus­sions with Pres­i­dent Trump. Play­ing these com­mit­tees like a yoyo, Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein — who many con­sider to be a Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller clone — has sought an ex­ten­sion. Of course, they buck­led. It’s the same at­ti­tude Obama’s DOJ and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder had for the GOP Congress. Holder be­came the first cabi­net mem­ber in his­tory to be cited for con­tempt of Congress.

Will the GOP Congress de­clare its own at­tor­ney gen­eral, deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral and FBI di­rec­tor in con­tempt of Congress?

If you re­ally look at the sit­u­a­tion, one could ar­gue that the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral, and per­haps Trump’s FBI di­rec­tor, might be more com­fort­able with a Demo­cratic Congress which would not seek any in­for­ma­tion which would shed a neg­a­tive light on for­mer Obama DOJ of­fi­cials.

A Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. House and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Se­nate would make sure any vi­o­la­tions of law by Comey, Clin­ton, or Lynch would be buried and in­ves­ti­ga­tions into any crimes ended — with the full com­plic­ity and ap­proval of their main­stream me­dia al­lies.

As of this writ­ing, the GOP’s own at­tor­ney gen­eral, his deputy and the FBI lead­er­ship are giv­ing a huge mid­dle fin­ger to their own party’s Congress — with no con­se­quences.

And what are the GOP con­gres­sional wimps do­ing about it? As of yet — noth­ing!

Do you think for one minute that a Demo­cratic Congress would tol­er­ate that dis­re­spect for the over­sight man­date by a Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion? The prob­lem in Wash­ing­ton is that no one re­spects — or fears — the Repub­li­can Congress and its lead­er­ship. At least not all is lost. While most Repub­li­cans in the House and Se­nate act like cow­er­ing sheep to ap­pease the "get Trump" Wash­ing­ton swamp, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky. has stood up and said no to his GOP and Demo­cratic an­tiTrump col­leagues want­ing to shield Spe­cial Coun­sel Mueller from be­ing fired by Trump.

McCon­nell said such leg­is­la­tion, even if passed by a GOP con­trolled Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and chair­man, would not get to the Se­nate floor.

A sim­i­lar ef­fort in the House is led by Rep. Char­lie Dent, R-Pa. and, un­for­tu­nately, has the sup­port of many of his fel­low Repub­li­cans.

The ques­tion is whether Amer­i­cans — Repub­li­cans in par­tic­u­lar — should give the GOP an­other chance at lead­er­ship. Why have a GOP Congress that Democrats are proud of?

Clarence V. McKee is pres­i­dent of McKee Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Inc., a govern­ment, po­lit­i­cal, and me­dia re­la­tions con­sult­ing firm in Florida. He held sev­eral po­si­tions in the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion as well as in the Rea­gan pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns. He is a for­mer co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and for­mer pres­i­dent of the Florida As­so­ci­a­tion of Broad­cast­ers.

In case you missed it, a me­mo­rial to honor lynch­ing vic­tims has opened in Mont­gomery, Alabama. Ku­dos to Bryan Steven­son, founder of the Equal Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive (EJI), for his re­lent­less pur­suit of jus­tice for black folk, and for bring­ing pub­lic at­ten­tion to this im­por­tant is­sue.

The Na­tional Me­mo­rial for Peace and Jus­tice is gain­ing at­ten­tion be­cause of its in-your­face-im­pact from the weight (lit­er­ally) of the de­pic­tions of the 4000 men and women whose lives were bru­tally taken be­tween 1877-1950.

The vic­tims’ names, some­times those of whole fam­i­lies, are etched into 800 steel col­umns which hang sus­pended - like so many bod­ies- in the open air mu­seum. The me­tal col­umns iden­tify spe­cific places where the tor­tures were com­mit­ted against cit­i­zens of this na­tion; from ev­ery quar­ter where lynch­ing in­ci­dents took place- across the South, and near-South.

The legacy of lynch­ing is dif­fi­cult to fathom. It re­mains one of the hard­est his­tor­i­cal facts to swal­low about this coun­try, facts rel­e­gated to ob­scure his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments; ac­counts kept in old jour­nals; hid­den sto­ries, swept un­der the prover­bial rug of our con­scious­ness.

So many fam­i­lies of the vic­tims have been ren­dered silent by the sheer hor­ror of the bru­tal­ity vis­ited upon them- un­speak­able acts of pub­lic killings- of­ten cel­e­brated in open-air fes­ti­val-like en­vi­ron­ments where chil­dren were brought to see and hear the mur­ders of mostly men - a few women - and where adults took pho­tos of them­selves en­joy­ing the spec­ta­cle of black bod­ies swing­ing from trees/gal­lows.

Of­ten, lynch­ing was treated as sport, or en­ter­tain­ment: post cards were made with images of the car­nage, and sent through the US mail, and penned with up­beat notes to friends or rel­a­tives!

That is why the large pub­lic view­ing of the me­mo­rial is so im­por­tant: lynch­ing was of­ten a pub­lic event, to which folk were some­times in­vited to pic­nic.

That such a ter­ror was vis­ited on so many, it re­mains stamped on the psy­ches of ev­ery black per­son. I be­lieve that as a re­sult, we have de­vel­oped- or in­her­ited- a nat­u­ral hard­wiring that warns us, in ad­vance, of any/all threats to our per­sons.

Some of us are more keenly aware of this ex­tra sense, than oth­ers.

In fact, I be­lieve that much of our hy­per-vig­i­lance to­ward real/per­ceived threats to our bod­ies is a di­rect re­sult of the cu­mu­la­tive ter­rors ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing slave cap­tures/sales, the bru­tal­ity of the chat­tel slave sys­tem, and lynch­ing, e.g., the black lives mat­ter move­ment, sys­temic mis­trust of po­lice, near-uni­ver­sal over-pro­tec­tive­ness of our ado­les­cent males, to name a few.

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