August 24, 2007

Civil rights issue of the century?

Race, not citizenship, informs Watson's Cherokee billWatson embarked on a publicity tour to promote the bill's virtues with town hall meetings co-sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Congressional Black Caucus. At a Tulsa library, Watson characterized the controversy as the "most significant civil rights movement of this century." Not to diminish the freedmen's plight, but most Americans would probably point to the Bush administration's domestic spying program as the biggest threat to civil rights in this 7-year-old 21st century.

The hyperbole didn't end there. Watson was accompanied--at the library--by U.S. Capitol police officers and proceeded to admonish an Indian nation for allegedly violating treaty obligations. "The law says we can't use U.S. dollars to violate the law," she said in Tulsa. "American money can't be used to discriminate." Watson was likely alluding to the outdated stereotype of the non-taxpaying, ward-of-the-state Indian. It is both disconcerting and comforting to know that hypocrisy is the basis of Watson's misguided crusade.
Comment:  I'd say gay rights (e.g., gay marriage) are more likely to be this century's greatest civil rights issue.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Although the issue of race nowhere near is as passe` in the new millennium as too many now believe (Free, white, and 21st Century!), writerfella both is astounded and pleased to find himself mostly in agreement with Rob Schmidt. National legislation is in place that provides for penalties that punish discrimination on bases of race, gender, age, handicap, religion, creed, economic status, and national origin, but not on basis of sexual orientation. Thus it became easy to target gays, Lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered with such prohibited hatreds, as these groups cut across all lines of race, gender, age, handicap, religion, creed, economic status, and national origin. What better than such Americans to be the subject of and recipient to hate and bias, as they are all of those categories above but are allowed by state and national authorities to slip through the fissures of law, culture, society, and civilization?
The debacles will continue on toward the middle years of this century, with the perpetrators not realizing their merry madnesses will result in such abuses being targeted by new and sweeping rounds of civil rights legislation.
While it is true that one cannot legislate behavior, still legislation at least serves well enough both to give pause and reflection before more such hatreds so easily find expression, implementation, and perpetuation...
All Best
Russ Bates