Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Strange Fruit

I try to refrain from calling people names, but Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma is an ass. It seems that he is racist as well. One third of our government is supposed to be devoted to justice and another third to laws. It seems that Senator Coburn does not think that laws and justice are important. At least when they pertain to black people.

From New evidence collected in 1946 lynching case by Doug Gross:

State and federal investigators said Tuesday that they spent the past two days gathering evidence in the last documented mass lynching in the United States: a grisly slaying of four people that has remained unsolved for more than six decades.
Read the rest here.

Six decades? Whatever happened to the swiftness of justice?

This is the part that pertains to Senator Coburn:
Investigations like the one into the Georgia slayings may have gotten another boost in the past week. A U.S. senator agreed to unlock a bill that would create a "cold case unit" at the U.S. Justice Department.

The legislation is sponsored by Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and passed 422-2 in the House. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, used an obscure Senate rule to freeze the bill, just as he routinely does on efforts that require government spending.

The plan would authorize $10 million a year for the next 10 years for the Justice Department to create a unit prosecuting pre-1970 civil rights cases. Another $3.5 million would go annually toward the department's cooperative efforts with local law enforcement.

But last week, a spokesman said Coburn would lift the hold in exchange for a vote on cutting Justice Department spending in other areas.
In what is essentially blackmail, Senator Coburn seems to think that it is completely ethical to exchange some justice here for some justice there. How does this help the cause of justice?

Why was Senator Coburn trying to freeze a bill that would help to give us the truth? The cost of the truth should be worth a few tax dollars. If we can spend countless billions on the war in Iraq, can’t we spend ten million a year for the next 10 years to help the United States try to heal from slavery, lynching, forced black labor after the Emancipation Proclamation, and other forms of racism? To his credit Coburn has voted against funding the war, a war he initially supported.

Time is an important factor here, as some of the people involved in pre-1970 civil rights cases are still alive. Did Coburn want to wait until they had all died off?

With Barack Obama running for president we are at a remarkable point in our history. I do not share the fear that some have of an African-American president. I do not sense that Barack Obama wants to punish white people; I sense that he wants to help us heal and move forward. Along with people like Douglas A. Blackmon, the author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, Barack Obama and all the rest of us have an opportunity for a little healing to take place.

From Douglas Blackmon’s blog:
The discussions I've been had over the weeks since the book appeared have been powerful and moving. And with all due respect, they have forcefully contradicted the assertions of a few readers and posters on this blog that it is a mistake to bring forth these terrible aspects of our past.

The reality is that again and again I have experienced marvelously honest conversations in which African-Americans often appeared slightly astonished that whites in the room were able to discuss this past without defensiveness or anger, and in which whites found it remarkable that their black counterparts weren't hammering them with historic crimes, but expressing thanks that it was finally being honestly discussed.

All of these things convince me that America has arrived at a remarkable moment, when a frank and full accounting of the past is possible for the first time, without the recriminations and denial that have characterized so much of our national discourse on race in the past. It has been thrilling to see that conversation unfold in so many venues over the past two months. Thank you all for being part of it.
It seems to me that Senator Coburn is not too enthusiastic for this healing to take place. It seems to me that Senator Coburn does not believe that “the truth shall set us free.”

How can you put a price on justice, Senator Coburn?

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