Jun 11 2005

Filibusters Don’t Lynch People

Published by at 6:41 pm under All General Discussions

After a day of soccer games and honoring a great man in our community, I sat down to catch up on the day’s political sites and ran across this post by Ed Morrissey (a blogger I read religuously) that was disturbing. [Sorry Capt, as I read this I see you are getting pounded, but it is an important topic). In it Morrisey discusses a Washington Post article that mentions the plans for the US Senate to apologize for lynchings that happened over 105 years ago. Apparently filibusters were used to block making lynchings a federal crime (like that somehow would have stopped the practice? – not immediately).

I think I understand where Morrissey is coming from. The idea of people who had nothing to do with these acts apologizing for them is a vacuous and empty gesture. I am disgusted with people, who have not been the victims of the acts, demanding apologies (and reparations) from people who were not the perpetrators of the acts. For example, if I apologize now for not being born decades earlier and stopping Hitler, what would that mean? Nothing.

But I think Morrissey was over the top and tried to stretch his point too far. He is claiming a Senate procedure is responsible for these despicable acts. When in fact they were acts taken by some very sick and evil people who had no respect for human beings. Here are some of Ed’s points:

the real, non-Hollywood Senate used the filibuster to ensure and to tacitly endorse the racial control that lynching provided. It isn’t too far of a stretch to call it Southern terrorism.

Thanks to racists like Byrd, that tradition of filibustering continues today.
This is the true legacy and historical purpose of the filibuster. Shame on those Senators who lined up next to Robert Byrd and proclaimed that protecting this rule from modification amounted to “saving the Republic”. That ghoulish statement offended the ghosts of the people who met death at the hands of mobs while the Senate found itself held hostage to racist sympathizers who used that procedure to stop a nation from putting an end to that outrageous and disgusting practice.

Mark Coffey at decision ’08 rightfully felt this was just not right. He correctly points out that a procedure isn’t responsible for the acts of people. His most potent comment was:

Is a gun responsible for a murder, or is a person? Gun rights advocates have said for decades that guns don’t kill people, but rather criminals do. How does that differ from the filibuster’s use for nefarious purposes in a certain instance? Taking the proposed principle to an absurd extreme, did college football kill Nicole Brown Simpson?

Touche’. The filibuster is a vote to end debate on an issue. It is designed to ensure majorities do not squelch the voice of minorities and ram rod things through Congress. But like anything, it can be used for good or bad. What happened in the South from the civil war to civil rights was a changing society that was going to end its inhumane treatment of a major component of its population, a treatment based on the race of the oppressed and ignorance of the oppressors. As these changes happen in any society, the old majority mentality slips into a minority mentality which leaves the fanatic dead-enders the last to change. The filibuster has nothing to do with the reality of societal changes.

OK, so Morrissey probably went too far, but then I read comments by the Commissar and I decided I had to join the fray.

Yes, I do. And I ask in return, “Is Captain Ed’s post Republican?” Is that what the GOP stands for? Waving the bloody shirt? Tarring anyone who disagrees with intransigence as a lyncher?

Some pedant will likely accuse me of taking Ed’s post “out of context.” Capt. Ed links to this WaPo story about the Senate’s proposed apology for its failure (THRU FILIBUSTERS!!!!!) in the 1930’s to condemn lynching. He then relates that to the recent compromise on judicial nomination filibusters, with lengthy excerpts about the horrors of lynching.

The Commissar is right as well. He and I are from the South, which for some reason people still think of as a bastion of racists and down beaten minorities (even though we have the largest populations of minorities). I am a native of Virginia, where the capitol of the South was. But we also had the first African American Governor, Douglas Wilder. I am not proud of the former, I am of the latter. When Morrissey called out “southern terrorism” and compared it to modern acts he did the same thing democrats do to republicans as a whole. Dems always insinuate the reps are racists in an all white male’s club, and they can’t help it – that is their culture by being from the south. Morrissey SEEMED to do the same thing about those who disagree about the need to remove the filibuster all together.

Morrissey is right to be outraged by that vacuous apology, and he may still be worked up over the filibustering of judicial nominees (which have been dismantled for now), but filibusters don’t lynch people. Which is why Chillin’s is not such a bad thing when dealing with silly news stories out of the Washington Post.

One response so far

One Response to “Filibusters Don’t Lynch People”

  1. Decision '08 says:

    Is the Filibuster an Artifact of Racism?

    That’s the implication of this post by Captain Ed. The good Captain reviews the use of the filibuster to sabotage anti-lynching legislation and to stall civil rights legislation. So far, so good; we can all use a history lesson. Then he goes further:…