Note to Republicans: On Race, Actions Speak Louder Than Words
The scandal over Steve Scalise raises a very difficult challenge for Republicans. On the one hand, the party now has a lock on the white vote throughout the South but they bristle at the suggestion that they endorse racism. The strongest way to communicate the message that they do not endorse racism would be in deeds not words.
Unfortunately, Scalise is not the only Republican in Congress with ties to white supremacist or who have openly opposed civil rights legislation. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) are prominent examples of this fact as outlined below.
Legislation to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act enforcement mechanisms in light of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision was introduced with bi-partisan support.. It was last reauthorized in 2006 without a single Senate vote in opposition but has gone nowhere. If the party wants to be credible on race, it can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by restoring its full authority.
If, however, the Republicans refuse to act and continues to wink and turn the other way at actions of its members like Scalise, the message will be clear that the GOP embraces both the sinner and the sin.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA) – House Majority Whip
- 1999: Campaigned stating he was like former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke but without the bagge.
- 2002: Spoke at White Supremacist Meeting
- 2004: When the Louisiana House passed legislation making Martin Luther King Day a mandatory holiday 90-6, Scalise was one of the six voting against.
- 2014: Refuses to rule out possible impeachment of President Obama.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY)
- 2009: Campaign aide Christopher Hightower forced to resign after his Martin Luther King day post showing a photo a lynching and saying “Happy Nigger Day”
- 2010: Stated that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- 2010: Gets strong support from Stormfront and other White Power groups that had supported his father and refuses to return contributions.
- 2011: Co-authored book with staffer Jack Hunter a neo-Confederate and pro-secession activist former radio personality known as the “Southern Avenger”. Among other things he claims he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday” and said a non-white America would cease to be America.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL)
- 1984: As a U.S. Attorney sought to prosecute civil rights activists trying to register voters in under represented areas of Alabama.
- 1986: During his confirmation hearings to be a federal judge it was revealed he called the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation PUSH and the National Council of were Churches “un-American organizations teaching anti-American values; said that he used to like the KKK until he learned they smoke pot and opposed the Voting Rights Act. His nomination was rejected, but he was later elected to the Senate and now chairs the Subcommittee that rejected his nomination.
REP. JOE WILSON (R-SC)
- A member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, which “as the Southern Poverty Law Center has detailed assiduously, has been taken over in the past decade by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution.
- 2000: One of only seven to vote against taking down the confederate battle flag from the South Carolina capitol.
- 2003 – Attempted to smear African-Ameircan Essie Mae Washington when she came forward as the daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond
- 2009: Interrupts Obama’s health care speech to Congress by calling him a Liar.