Friday, February 10, 2017


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When I described what it felt like to be silenced by school district officials because of my research findings showing accurate dropout numbers in our schools, I could not have imaged that the next silencing to capture our national attention would be the exclusion of our civil rights history on, of all places, the floor of the US Senate.   Seeing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially tell Senator Elizabeth Warren to sit down and shut up was stunning.  Even more stunning was the reason:  Jeff Sessions, conservative senator from Alabama, would be confirmed as Attorney General unless enough senators took seriously his documented history of active opposition to civil rights, voting rights, women's rights -- basically the body of law it would be his duty to enforce.  

Elizabeth Warren chose to make that history known by reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King opposing Sessions for a federal judgeship because of his racist treatment of African Americans trying to vote in Alabama in the 1980's when Sessions was not a US senator but the state's attorney general.   The letter is eloquent, detailed, and credible.   By reading it, Elizabeth Warren would unmask the silence of Sessions' racist past, exposing any senator who voted to confirm him as complicit with an agenda not compatible with the duties of the attorney general or the rights enshrined in the US Constitution and in hard-fought laws and landmark court rulings.

Instead, Senator Warren was silenced.  "Rule 19," which sounds like something out of a children's game, was the weapon.  Mitch McConnell was the silencer.  His demeaning treatment of Senator Warren is now legendary:  "She was warned!" 

Telling Senator Warren she could not speak about Sessions was demeaning, embarrassing to our country and our Senate, and frankly childish.  But thanks to Mitch McConnell, a whole new generation now knows Coretta Scott King as not just the beautiful supportive presence beside Martin Luther King, Jr., but as a force for justice in her own right.  By silencing one powerful woman, Mitch McConnell gave voice to another.  And he quite inadvertently but very effectively showed the nation that his effusive praise of Jeff Sessions cannot hide Sessions' personal racism and his undeniable history of a willingness to use the full force of his public office in its service.

We need an attorney general who will enforce our most just laws and work to improve our justice system for everyone.  Jeff Sessions is not that person. And now, thanks to Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King, we all know to watch every move he makes, speak up when he fails to uphold the law, and stay vigilant on behalf of those least likely to be well served while he holds this office.

Thank you, Senator Warren, for shedding light on Mr. Sessions' role in one of the darkest moments in our history and for bringing into the light another powerful moment of resistance!

 comment on my post here

1 comment:

SOS-Save Our Society said...

I agree whole-heartedly! "sit down and shut-up" to Senator Warren and to reporter from a Jewish magazine.

Trump has : 1. attempted to censor civil servants - even to Congress
2. Divide this nation by religion, race, taking advantage of poorly educated, out-of-work citizens, encouraging white supremists and militia types and holding out old fears of "Russia" (His real monetary advantages are from China - His great debts were written off and monies deposited off-shore when he withdrew from the Pacific Trade Agreements.)
3. plans to remove health care from poorest citizens
4. plans to build a stupid wall when America's infrastructures, dams, bridges, roads, school buildings, etc. are deteriorating.
5. plans to privatize Medicare (private insurance companies pay higher salaries by far - especially to management) (have you ever had to argue with ins. co. about coverage to your home or car? With medical care time is often essential and you don't have time to argue. Patient X in state Y with plan Z might get coverage denied to the same type of covered expense elsewhere. Divide and conquer!!
6. PLANS TO PRIVATIZE SCHOOLS (see arguments above) "Public" schools will be reduced to minimum wage "monitors" instead of teachers and the students will only watch videos and computer-based programs and tests.
7. dismantling EPA so that we might not be able to trust water supplies, or the air we breathe. If regulations are not in place, there can be no remedy for harmed citizens.
8. attempts to discredit news media

What is the difference of state-owned institutions and those given over by the government to those who would happily profit to the determent of American citizens.
My grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, neighbors, countrymen did not fight and endure injuries and deaths to enable Trump and these Republicans (read "for the rich") to "buy" this sorry state of affairs.

We must hold these elected officials to PROTECT and SERVE, not to DISTORT and TAKE!

Thank you.