Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Carson's Incendiary Comments Disappoint
I'm sure many of you have already heard about his comments by now. Right wing radio and the blogosphere are blowing up about the comments, and the crazies are also out distorting and passing half truths about the Congressman and the Carson family. Then again, the incendiary comments of Congressman Carson truly beat on that hornets' nest.
In Miami last week, Carson was addressing a group at the Congressional Black Caucus event. He was caught on audio talking about the Tea Party movement. Carson said that some in the Tea Party movement wished that African-Americans were “second class citizens” and would love to see the Congressman and other African-Americans “hanging on a tree.”
Here is audio of the event with a little video. It begins at about the 24 second mark.
Before we go any further, I think Congressman Carson was expressing a sentiment that many in his audience shared. You can tell by the response to his comments on the audio. That still doesn't make it right for polite conversation in this hypercharged political world that we all live in.
We need legislators and leaders that can rise above all of this rancor and craziness that is spewed from both sides. Unfortunately, my Congressman did not rise above it. He stuck his foot right in it.I didn't like that. I have shared my thoughts with the Congressman directly who thanked me for my candor.
We simply don't need these over-the-top comments. They invite and increase the retaliation on the other side, and that was already happening. On the syndicated Dana Show on WIBC, a local resident called in with the "truth" about Andre Carson. First of all, she said he "changed his name" to run for Congress to Andre Carson. She talked about how the seat was simply handed off to Carson and how he had "just gotten out of college" and had "no experience" to serve in Congress. The fact is that, even briefly, Congressman Carson was a sitting City-County Councillor when he was elected to Congress. Carson never, to my knowledge, changed his name to Carson simply to run for Congress. Carson's college was completed well before he entered politics, and, most importantly, Carson won a contested caucus, a tough special election, a seven-way primary, and a General Election fight to earn his seat. Nothing was handed to him. He won fair and square.
That's exactly what I'm talking about, though. Sometimes when people say things that are controversial, it's all you hear, and the story becomes all about the messenger rather than the message. You don't hear the message. Are there racists in the Tea Party? YES! There are, however, racists in EVERY political group. There are racists in every walk of life even some 50 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed. The message should be that racism exists everywhere. Let's root that out and change that.
Buried in the message as well is that Congress cannot get things done in this nasty place we live in rhetorically. Congressman Carson's opinions that he expressed here have done nothing to change that, but the Congressman didn't say anything that I have not heard before. It's just not an opinion I subscribe to, in general.
Some are calling for the Congressman's job, but I don't think the Congressman should resign. It's up to him whether he apologizes or not. I would hope that he does. Bottom line, though, it doesn't change my level of support for my Congressman nor does it change the way I feel about my friend, Andre Carson. I know his heart, and I've seen him in action. Regardless of this incident, he remains an active and responsible advocate for this community, and I don't want to be represented by anyone else.