Tag Archives: civil rights

Pedestrian. Equivocating. Backward looking. Full of cliches.

My review of the speech given by President Obama at the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

The end.

On an anniversary 2

I just listened to John Lewis being interviewed in his Congressional office by Gwen Ifil for The News Hour. Lewis is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March; he was also the youngest – just 22 years old. It was a moving interview, well  worth seeking out at pbs.org.

On an anniversary

This was the anthem. Then – and always.

Two (and a half) out of three ain’t bad

I think I did pretty well with my SCOTUS predictions, which means everyone must “bow to my majesty” (much preferable to being “mocked without mercy”).

  • DOMA – The Supremes knock it down as unconstitutional.  NAILED IT!
  • California Prop 8 – Unconstitutional. NAILED IT! (Sheepish Update: Turns out this one is limited to CA and is based on standing. So maybe only half for me here. Can I count the two ‘halfs’ as ‘one’. I say yes. So still Two Out of Three. So there.)
  • Affirmative Action – limited decision, but basically will say the program has – in some instances – run its course. They side for the Plaintiff. ALMOST HALF RIGHT? They held back for sure by sending it back and hinted at future favorable rulings if a Plaintiff has ‘standing’.

(Here’s something from back when this lad had a voice, a beautiful one):

So, the local hair salon fires all its straight employees

WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is touted as a top GOP presidential prospect in 2016, thinks it should be legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation.

So sayeth the boy-faced pretend immigrant.

He’s not giving up.

Ever.

Anti-choice Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) just filed an anti-choice amendment to a bill related to agriculture, transportation, housing, and other programs. The DeMint amendment could bar discussion of abortion over the Internet and through videoconferencing, even if a woman’s health is at risk and if this kind of communication with her doctor is her best option to receive care.

Under this amendment, women would need a separate, segregated Internet just for talking about abortion care with their doctors.

Here’s why

So Argentina has made gay marriage fully legal in the country. Well, good for them. Here’s a video Ed sent me – says it all really.

The 20th century man

Robert Byrd was a man of his times and as the times changed so did he. Byrd experienced and contributed to the entire canvas that was 20th century America.

As a young man he was a member of the Klu Klux Klan and carried his Southern racism into the Senate. In 1964 he voted against the Civil Rights Act. That was Robert Byrd.

But he moved on; he grew with the century and with the country (his attitude toward race parallels a journey taken by my own father).

Here is Robert Byrd’s journey from 1944 to 2003:

1944:

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
 
— Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944, [8][12

2004: 

In the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People‘s (NAACP)[59] Congressional Report Card for the 108th Congress (spanning the 2003–2004 congressional session), Byrd was awarded with an approval rating of 100 percent for favoring the NAACP’s position in all 33 bills presented to the United States Senate regarding issues of their concern.

He served way too long in the Senate of course but that guaranteed his place in the history books by virtue of longevity alone.

Byrd was known as the parliamentarian of the Senate, an unofficial title conferred because no one knew the arcane convoluted rules of that body better than he did. And long before Newt Gingrich turned it into a political gimmick, Byrd carried his copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket and consulted it often while on the floor of the Senate.

He gave one of the most honorable speeches of his career in 2003 – a very underreported speech. His voice echoed around a nearly empty chamber as he – a man who’d lived through two world wars  – appealed to President Bush to tamp down his zeal for a war of aggression.

He’d overstayed his time certainly and we still need his voice.

The 2003 speech:

I know, but

Gay activists, according to this article in the leading gay publication The Advocate, are ‘desperate’ for Obama to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I absolutely understand; they must continue the pressure until it happens, else – in the nature of things – it’ll be pushed down the road forever.

Here’s the ‘but’:  politics matters and unless Obama plays the politics right and chooses his time carefully, I don’t think the repeal will happen at all in this administration. And if he is followed by a Republican, progress could be delayed for a decade or more.

Think the Clinton 1993 health care disaster. Choosing the right time is part of the art of the possible.