Courage II

by Richard Macintosh

August 2, 2004   


"The action is in the reaction."
—Saul Alinsky

(Swans - August 2, 2004)  On July 15, 2004, Congresswoman Corinne Brown (D-FL) threw down a challenge to the House of Representatives. Speaking on the floor of the House, she challenged the Representatives to guarantee honest elections, so that the presidential election would not be "stolen" again.
I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'état. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said, 'Get over it.' No, we're not going to get over it. And we want verification from the world.

—Corrine Brown
For this statement, Representative Brown was censured and her words were stricken from the record. She made the Republicans angry and uneasy. The truth, it seems, is hard to face. No, it is worst than that. The truth has been ignored for some time now. It seems there are those who think they can manufacture their own.

The disgraceful Republican attack on Brown was the action of cowards and bullies -- fearful of the truth -- overreacting to a provocative, but honest, entreaty. But rather than shutting Brown up, their action showed what they are truly made of.

On the face of it, Saul Alinsky was right. The action is in the reaction. In censuring Brown and removing her remarks from the official record, the majority party shone the light on Corinne Brown and also on their own character. Blinded by power -- or dreams of it -- they exposed a disinterest in dialogue and fear of open debate.

Were Brown lying or making unfounded statements, they would be easy to expose in a floor debate. The Republicans chose to use bullyboy tactics instead. The reasons should be obvious. They are wrong and they are vulnerable on this issue -- and they at least sense that. They are also in the majority -- if ever so temporarily -- so they chose to exercise their power. The wise would have listened. But they are not wise.


Lies have a way of festering and coming to a head. This issue will not go away, regardless of how much the Republican Party may wish it to. Far from disappearing following a presumed defeat, the words and actions of Representative Corinne Brown will rebound and be magnified.

One's character -- or lack of it -- is most obvious when one is either in the depths, or at the height of power. Both the House leadership and Representative Brown demonstrated theirs.

Another outspoken person is former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). She was targeted for defeat by right wing groups after criticizing the president for his rush to war against Iraq. She was defeated by a large GOP crossover vote in the 2002 Democratic primary, but McKinney never quit. In a speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, NY, she said:
Beware the Land of Oz. For it is only in the Land of Oz that a handful of vainglorious men could send hundreds of thousands of young soldiers off to fight in an illegal war. And only in the Land of Oz can The Grand Wizard erode basic civil rights and call it enhanced security. And where but in Oz could a felon, convicted of lying in public, be put in charge of Total Information Awareness? 75 million Americans had no health insurance in 2001 or 2002. Unemployment is at an 8-year high. Meanwhile, at the Wizard's court, men of dubious reputation gorge themselves at the people's expense. Expose the Grand Wizard; this is our America, not Oz.

—Cynthia McKinney, Speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, NY, July 31, 2003.
The bad news for the GOP is that McKinney is back. She handily won her party's primary in 2004 and is an odds-on favorite to defeat the Republican candidate in November. I remember an old axiom from my coaching days: "Once you have a team down, never let them get back up. If you do, they will defeat you." The Georgia GOP broke this rule.

On the West Coast, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA -- Oakland) carries the same torch. Like Corinne Brown, she's still in office. Outspoken and unrepentant, Lee continues to scourge the Bush administration and their accomplices of both parties. Before the war against Iraq she warned:
The desire to rush to war glides over the tremendous costs and risks involved, including the dangers for American servicemen and women and for Iraqi civilians, as well as the potential destabilization of the Middle East. War would likely derail any chance at a Palestinian-Israeli agreement, while trampling international law and U.N. principles and setting a terrible international precedent. It would also sidetrack efforts to prevent terrorism. Moreover, it would divert some $200 billion from our own profound domestic needs, including health care, prescription drugs, education and homeland security.

—Barbara Lee, September 27, 2002
Fortunately, Oakland, CA is not a place where right wing dirty tricks work. Surely there have been (and are) attempts to smear her as a "loony," or a "bad American," but outside right wing focus groups, these attacks fall on deaf ears.

But beyond the Right, why is it that these three brave women are so alone? Why is it that members of their own party distanced themselves? Why haven't more Democrats and Progressives risen to their defense? Who, whom and what are they afraid of? What could possibly explain such poltroonish behavior?

A question: Cui bono fuisset?


Could the answer be in Congresswoman Lee's statement above?

Ah! Of course!

You do know, don't you?

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Courage - by Richard Macintosh

America the 'beautiful' on Swans


Richard Macintosh on Swans (with bio).

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Published August 2, 2004
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