“Totally disrespectful. No place for it in that setting or in any other and he should apologize for it immediately,” said John McCain to Larry King less than an hour after the Joe Wilson incident. Here is my question: Why can the conservative former opponent of President Obama manage the above sentence full-throated to 3 million people on CNN but the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus can’t? Not even a press release the next day. Nothing.
I like Michael Jackson and always have. I was sad when he died. My iPod has at least twenty MJ songs in it but ladies and gentlemen: There are issues and then there are ISSUES.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. The next day, June 26, 2009, CBC Chair Barbara Lee released the following statement: “A Statement on Passing of Michael Jackson. (Washington, D.C.)- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement today on the passing of musician Michael Jackson: “Michael Jackson was an icon who inspired generations around the world through song and dance. His contributions to American music are innumerable and the genius of his talent will endure…
and so on…
On September 9, 2009, Joe Wilson shouted “you lie” at the President during a joint session of Congress on healthcare. What did the Chair of the CBC put out on that? Nothing. Last week Max Baucus put out the Senate version of the healthcare reform bill with no public option in it. What did the Chair of the CBC put out on that? Nothing. What did the CBC say to a radio reporter from WHUR reporter George Wilson asking for her opinion on the Baucus bill? Nothing (George Wilson ended up talking with defacto Chair Jim Clyburn). On September 16, former President Jimmy Carter said regarding attacks on President Obama: “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.” What did the Chair of the CBC say? Nothing.
Earlier that same day, Rep. Hank Johnson and Lacy Clay said much the same thing Carter did. President Obama is only eight months into his term. What do we have so far? We have people questioning his birthright, we have “take back our country,” we have images depicting President Obama as a clown-sambo, we have charges he’s a socialist, we have two people carrying firearms outside healthcare rallies Pres. Obama was at, and finally, we have Joe Wilson. Where is the Chair of the CBC on these issues and why the silence? Why can’t the CBC Chairperson talk comprehensively on these issues? Why can’t a press release emerge on these issues with the same speed as injustices in Darfur and Cuba?
If Jim Clyburn, Hank Johnson, Diane Watson, Lacy Clay and Jimmy Carter can speak on these issues why can’t Barbara Lee? If any random CBC member I chat with in the hall or, for that matter, any randome member of the 111th Congress (examples: John McCain, Olympia Snowe and Louise Slaughter) can make strong statements on race and American and Joe Wilson apologizing why can’t the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus?