Tag Archives: Selma

Scalise needed to be in Selma

If there was one member of the congressional leadership team who needed to be in Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, it was Louisiana U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.

He should have been there. He should have sought to make amends for a significant error in judgment some years ago, before he became a Republican member of the House of Representatives.


Scalise had the bad taste in 2006, prior to his election to Congress, to accept a speaking engagement before a group founded by noted Ku Klux Klan grand lizard David Duke.

Scalise, who’s now the House majority whip, has since expressed regret over attending the Duke-sponsored event.

Where was he the day of the Selma commemoration? He was in Sea Island, Ga., attending an American Enterprise Institute conference, along with some other key conservative thinkers and politicians.

One of them attending the AEI event was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who also took time to attend the rally on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

McCarthy was one of a handful of key Republican politicians to attend the Selma event; another key Republican in Selma was the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, who was there with his wife, Laura.

Scalise, who still has some damage to repair from the fallout from his David Duke speech all those years ago, missed a chance to demonstrate that he really doesn’t subscribe to the views held by the KKK.


Rep. Lewis still stands tall

If I had to cast a vote for the nation’s pre-eminent civil rights icon, it would have to be — without question — a gentleman from Georgia, U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

This great man spoke over the weekend at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. He was among a large crowd of Americans marking the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when marchers were attacked at that bridge by Alabama police officers.

Rep. Lewis was one of them. He was beaten within an inch of his life by policemen with clubs.

He was part of what was supposed to be a non-violent march in search of voting rights for all Americans, notably African-Americans.


Lewis spoke today, 50 years after that event, and presented himself as just one man who sought to bring justice for his fellow Americans.

He’s such a towering figure today that he totally belies his relatively short physical stature.

Lewis is the last known survivor of those who stood on the podium behind Martin Luther King Jr. during Rev. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He was at the forefront — even at such a young age — of non-violent protest marches.

He was beaten, but never defeated. And then, when it came time for him to seek public office, he launched his effort to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would help write the laws that affect all Americans.

I was proud for Rep. Lewis that he was able today to speak loudly and forcefully from the bridge where 50 years ago he was bloodied. This great man demonstrated the immense power of one’s principle and conviction.

There can be no greater testament to the cause for which this courageous man fought and bled.

Amazing turnaround on race

UPDATE: This just in … House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed late to commit to attending the Selma, Ala., rally commemorating the march that helped spark approval of the Voting Rights Act 50 years ago.


Virtually no Republican leaders will take part in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Ala., civil rights march?

How can that be?

The Party of Abraham Lincoln needs to have representation at this event. Doesn’t it?


The march helped produce the Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat who pushed it through Congress with help from his Republican allies. Indeed, the Democratic Party — particularly in the South — was well-known to resist civil-rights legislation. LBJ was warned by his Southern Democratic friends that the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act would cost the party dearly in terms of Southern support. It did.

Fifty years later, it’s now Republicans who are staying away from events to commemorate the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The GOP won’t be totally absent. An estimated 23 Republican members of the House and Senate will attend. Good for them.

Are the party leaders who should be there — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — all racists? I don’t believe that for a moment. One key GOP leader, though, really and truly needs to be there. That would be House Majority Whip Gary Scalise, who spoke to a David Duke-sponsored political event before being elected to the House; he’s since disavowed that appearance and has declared that he harbors no racial bias — but he needed to commit to this event.

The allegiances of the two major parties appear to have turned rather dramatically with regard to race relations.


'Selma' lays racism bare

“Selma” may be one of the more important films of the past decade.

It tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to rally a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. It’s gripping in the extreme.

But my wife and I took the same feeling away from the film as we drove home this evening from the theater. It was the presence of the Confederate flags being waved by counter protesters who did and said some nasty things aimed at the marchers.

Proud sons and daughters of the Confederacy keep saying — with all earnestness — that their pride rests in their heritage and that it has nothing to do with race. They contend, for example, that slavery was not the reason the Confederate State of America seceded from the Union.

But those Confederate flags waving at the Edmund Pettus Bridge and in Montgomery, where the marchers ended their trek tell a different story — at least to my wife and me.

This enduring symbol of the Confederacy often is displayed by those objecting to African-Americans’ calls for equality. Why is that? How is it that the Stars and Bars has become such a symbol of groups that remain dead set against equality for all Americans based solely on the color of their skin?

We watched the film tonight with our son and his girlfriend. Our son said the film is “tough to watch,” but said it is “worth the time.” We all liked the film very much.

For me, the toughest elements to watch in the movie were the brutality inflicted by law enforcement on the marchers seeking to cross the bridge — and the sight of those Confederate flags waving amid the hideous insults being hurled at Americans who were demanding the right to vote.

Yes, indeed. “Selma” is an important piece of moviemaking.