<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

No'm. Killed a Nigger 

In case you were wondering exactly how the Senate anti-lynching resolution came to be scheduled for a late-night voice vote when only a handful of Senators would be present:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.

And there was disagreement Tuesday over whether Saxby Chambliss, one of Georgia's two Republican senators, had supported the measure when it was approved Monday night.

As dozens of descendants of lynching victims watched from the Senate gallery, the resolution was adopted Monday evening under a voice vote procedure that did not require any senator's presence.

Eighty senators, however, had signed as co-sponsors, putting themselves on record as supporting the resolution. By the time the Senate recessed Tuesday evening, five other senators had added their names as co-sponsors, leaving 15 Republicans who had not . . . .

[T]he group that was the driving force behind the resolution had asked Frist for a formal procedure that would have required all 100 senators to vote. And the group had asked that the debate take place during "business hours" during the week, instead of Monday evening, when most senators were traveling back to the capital.

Frist declined both requests, the group's chief counsel, Mark Planning, said Tuesday evening.

Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was "requested by the sponsors."

The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), disputed that assertion . . . .

Jan Cohen, the wife of former Defense Secretary William Cohen and one of the key figures in the Committee for a Formal Apology, expressed outrage over the lack of a roll call vote.

"America is home of the brave, but I'm afraid there may be a few cowards who have to cower to their very narrow-minded and backward, hateful constituency," Cohen told ABC News. "They're hiding out, and it's reminiscent of a pattern of hiding out under a hood, in the night, riding past, scaring people."
Mr. Frist, as you know, has designs on the White House, and undoubtedly means to expand his primarily fundamentalist constituency by reaching out to racists as well. Does he know something we don't? Can the presidency be won here in 21st-century America by pandering to voters who believe that the victims of lynching and their families deserve no more sympathy than Mr. Frist has historically shown to kittens?

"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

"No'm. Killed a nigger."

"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. Two years ago last Christmas your uncle Silas was coming up from Newrleans on the old
Lally Rook, and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man. And I think he died afterwards. He was a Baptist . . . . "
--Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us