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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

A Heck of a Job On Civil Rights Enforcement

I’m all for office costume parties, but Julie Myers won't need to send me an invitation to any of her future parties.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director nominee actually thought a subordinate attending the ICE Halloween party in ‘blackface’ and a dreadlocked wig merited agency award. Then she actually grew frustrated by a subsequently tough Senate confirmation hearing where those concepts of 'good fashion' came up for serious debate. Somebody who is unable to understand how damaging racial stereotypes are clearly cannot perform a job requiring cultural sensitivity.

Both this and the “Jena Six Case” encouraged civil rights groups to hold a national rally. Participants want solid enforcement of existing hate crimes laws — and expansion of these statues. They are angry that the Bush administration does not seriously pursue the civil rights cases which are being brought before it. Essentially, it is business as usual for an administration which has never really committed to ensuring equal opportunity and fair justice.

Sure, President Bush appointed two African Americans as Secretary of State. But the state of this nation then gets severely compromised by not proactively and assertively enforcing the Civil Rights Act and other statutes that are already on the books. Equality under the law needs to remain the real measure of success in maintaining a democracy.

However, the Bush administration ultimately isn’t bothered by discrimination, and they’ve successfully convinced themselves that we’re duped by the ‘modern’ window dressing — which attempts to cover up the most hateful and reactionary politics imaginable, despite the everyday confirmation that it still exists.

Republican Presidential candidate and Congressman Tom Tancredo would not hesitate to ban the Congressional Black Caucus and other similar voluntary organizations for being ‘racially exclusive’ with membership requirements. Never mind that their charters require the advancement of legislative priorities which he passionately opposes. Or inside an institution essentially remaining welded to tradition, such groups provide the necessary social and organizing space for still-underrepresented communities.

Even assuming that he was invited in, would Tancredo then shift gears and suddenly back voter registration drives, alternative energy research, or coalition building with civil rights organizations? This is the same guy who thinks aligning himself with remnants of White Citizens Councils is reasonable!

Such incidents make the selling of democracy literally impossible to other nations: we are incapable of recognizing and peacefully supporting diversity with our own borders. Why should other countries be encouraged to trade in one broken system of government for another?

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