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June 15, 2005


The missing senators:
* Alexander, Lamar- (R - TN)
* Bennett, Robert- (R - UT)
* Cochran, Thad- (R - MS)
* Cornyn, John- (R - TX)
* Crapo, Michael- (R - ID)
* Enzi, Michael- (R - WY)
* Grassley, Chuck- (R - IA)
* Gregg, Judd- (R - NH)
* Hatch, Orrin- (R - UT)
* Hutchison, Kay- (R - TX)
* Kyl, Jon- (R - AZ)
* Landrieu, Mary- (D - LA)
* Lott, Trent- (R - MS)
* Shelby, Richard- (R - AL)
* Smith, Gordon- (R - OR)
* Sununu, John- (R - NH)
* Thomas, Craig- (R - WY)

Bill? huh? Appology? what?

What was the verdict in the Michael Jackson Case?

(I think the big problem here is that 99.9% of Americans have lost sight of the fact that Government isn't us and them... (as you pointed out). Instead we're too interested in Bread and Circuses (and there's no greater circus than the MJ case).)

I'm writing my Senator today.

Oh please. You and the Canadian passenger are historically illiterate. Have a look here:

Note how lynchings dropped from a high level to isolated incidents by about 1935? Now, who's the longest serving senator? That would be Robert Byrd, of West Virginia. First elected? 1955.

Meaning, this Senate is apologizing for the acts of past senates (primarily, those of 1882-1930).

As of 1930, some 65+ senators favored an anti-lynching law. Want to guess why it didn't pass? The Filibuster, that hallowed tradition that folks like Byrd want to preserve. But never mind that; the current senate simply cannot apologize for the acts of people long dead.

You might as well ask the inhabitants of the parts of France to apologize for the bad acts of Charles of Navarre during the 14th century - it would have every bit as much meaning.

If you or the Canadian passenger think that a non-vote or disapproval of meaningless gestures like this indicate racism, you are sadly mistaken and - to be blunt - completely unaware of history. Do you know what you are advocating here? Inheritance of guilt. Do you really want to go there? How many Jews have died over "blood libel" over the centures? Shall we perpetuate that stupid idea, or toss it in the trash can where it belongs.

We can regret the past, and we can learn from it. We can realize that it was the abandonment of the occupation of the south in 1877 that caused nearly a century of pain for blacks in the south - but we can't apologize for it. All we can do is make sure that we don't abandon other people who rely on our protection for their survival, now and in the future.

A lot of us oppose these kinds of symbolic chest thumping "apologies". It is an issue that reasonable people can disagree on.

I'm still waiting for the Queen of England to apologize for burning down Washington D.C., and don't get me started on the Germans and Italians.

"Well, there you go, 25% of those Americans are official racists."

What a sickeningly stereotyping comment to make. Thinking that she knows anything about what 25% of americans believe based on how the US senate is voting.

Minor point but its 84 senators who co-sponsored, not 75. The stroy went to press before everyone had attached there name to the bill. It still should be 100 but wanted to point out the accurate number. And to David's comment Mary Landrieu introduced the bill.

The VOTE was 100%

Maybe I'm missing something but isn't the idea of "outlawing" lynching kind of like outlawing beheading or outlawing suffocation.

If the perpatrators of these henious crimes were already committing murder is making the method of murder also crime going to make them think twice?

Before you get too ashamed about being an American, please read this ladies opinion on the whole subject:

The reasons why a Senator may or may not sponsor a bill mean nothing. Heck, the reasons why a Senator may or may not vote for a bill are just as meaningless, especially on a bill that is in no danger of passing.

The Senators, and any legislating body for that matter, communicate not only through their time on the floor or behind closed doors in committees, but also through their votes. While someone may not vote as you'd expect them to or even want them to, it is sometimes important to go against the grain on key votes to ruffle a few feathers and make your own views about something else known.

I can't believe I'm actually saying something that would support Kerry's "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it" stance, but there is truth in his arguement. He should have chosen a better way of phrasing that, considering how it later came back to haunt him.

What I find even more amazing, is how important something like this is to another country. I'll admit that I've watched C-Span's coverage of the "British House of Commons" from time to time, but I couldn't tell you what was going on in Canada. For that matter, how many French could do the same, but I bet they all know the outcome of the Michael Jackson verdict.

The fact is, America is under a microscope. I am blessed and fully believe that I live in the greatest country on Earth, but I can understand the dual treament of resentment and the honor that we receive.

America in the eyes of many is a product of our own media and popular culture. It is for the same reason that a celebrity like Michael Jackson can be celebrated in the '80s as the king of pop and then reduced to a freak show in the tabloids. We are in many ways, a victim of our own success. When we shine, we shine brightly. When we are tarnished ever so slightly, we make for an easy mark.

At times, you might find it hard to carry your passport, but always carry it proudly.

Poor baby. How long should we play the violin for you dude? The great thing about democracy is that the door always swings freely to the outside. If it get's too tough being inside the red, white and blue you can always trade that passport in for another country's passport...If they'll take you that is.

Western is right -- stereotyping 25% of Americans as racists based on this vote is ridiculous.....

I'm betting you were sitting in first class, downing your 3rd Martini when you wrote this...isn't that how all VC's travel (or at least 25% of them)?

Yeah rick, it's tough being an American. You get all kinds of crap from the world's ankle biters. So, suck it up and get tough. Buy a clue from a Marine if you have to.

Maybe it's just me, but many of the comments seem to miss the point of Rick's post.
It is not about the lynching; it is about the fact, as he says, that:
"the flag on my uniform and later on my laptop bag meant something. Today it's hard to carry this passport."

I am a foreigner living in the US. I love this country, but it's amazing how many of my friends outside of the US are hostile now. It was WAY different 20 years ago.

Rick says also:
"When you have to build the equivalent of Fort Knox around our embassies, consulates, and other American interests abroad, it's clearly not a good trend."
It gets worse. One of the things that made the US the great nation they are is that they accepted people from every culture. The door was open for everyone, as long as they wanted to contribute and assimilate.
Today the atmosphere is changing, and this doesn't bode well. Closing to the outside world makes the US weaker, not stronger in the long run.

Ask yourself why those countries are more hostile. Mostly it's envy. So long as there was a USSR, they didn't mind having the US around, and bit their tongues. Now the resentment flows easily.

(James, you just know we're gonna disagree on this ;-)

I have a UK passport, and can echo the same sentiment. In particular I feel personal hostility to the UK government for their role in starting a war on false pretences. I wish folks in the UK and US were more willing to see the faults of their nations - there's be more chance of fixing them. Talk of "victim of our own success" or of foreigner's "envy" isn't all that removed from the kind of amoral arrogance that led white folks to think lynching was ok.

Aside from the moral issues, the aggressive foreign policies of the US and UK have engendered extreme hostility amongst a lot of people that might not have been interested before. US and UK citizens are in considerably more danger now than they were 5 years go thanks to those policies.

If Mr. Cameron is the intelligent man that I generally assume anyone I've never heard of before (and thus have no contradictory evidence about) to be, then he'd see right through the 100-senators-shaking-his-hand-and-apologizing stunt exactly the way I'm assuming he saw through both the resolution stunt and Sen. Kerry's even cheaper "everyone who didn't cosponsor it must be a racist" stunt.

It disappoints me that you seemingly haven't.

BTW, I'm not sure a lynching survivor would be all that anxious to shake hands with a former KKK recruiter like (co-sponsor) Robert Byrd (D-WV). One assumes that anybody who's life was ever literally on the line over racial tension in America would understand the relative significance of historical actions vs. empty rhetorical gestures.

About this:

"Aside from the moral issues, the aggressive foreign policies of the US and UK have engendered extreme hostility amongst a lot of people that might not have been interested before. US and UK citizens are in considerably more danger now than they were 5 years go thanks to those policies."

Well. To be blunt, tell that to the dead from 9/11, who did absolutely nothing to deserve what they got. That was not the first Islamic terror incident to hit the US, either - we tried the "ignore it and move on" policy. It's the one we ran from 1978 (Iran embassy) through 2001 (USS Cole). That policy didn't work, period.

Post 9/11, the administration changed our terrorism response from one of passivity (crime response) to one of active engagement (change the rules on the ground). The main reason we went to Iraq was to effect change in the mid-east - WMD was merely one of the stated reasons, and had more to do with UN resolutions than with anything else. Read the War resolution:

and you'll see that - the UN resolutions regarding WMD were one of many justifications given. The actual reason was to fight the war "over there" rather than "over here". Since we started, there have been thousands of jihadis pouring into Iraq. And that's fine - because that means that they aren't pouring in here. Better that they fight trained soldiers than stockbrokers, IMHO.

To get back to the original author's supposed point - if the Senate can appropriately apologize for lynchings (which took place many, many years before any of them were in the Senate), then that implies current guilt. That guilt must have been inherited from those earlier senates.

As I said in my earlier comment: Congratulations, you just justified "blood libel". Who else do we want to line up? There's a long and tragic history of pogroms (and worse) against Jews based on this horrible notion of blood guilt - shall we add:

Italians (Roman actions leading to Masada)
Turks (Armenian Massacre)
Germans (never mind WWII, we can use 1914 Belgium)
Americans and Canadians (American Indians)
Russians (various tribes wiped out during the spread of the old Russian Empire)

I think you get my point. The author (and those who agree with him) are arguing in favor of a truly evil end result. As such, I will show nothing but disdain for this argument, and will consider those who make it to be historically illitrate at best.

I recoginze that much of the happenings which go on inside the beltway are 'stunts' and are tainted by politics. I also recognize that taking this issue, slavery, women's right to vote, or any 'wrong' you'd want to 'right' is going to fuel the problem.

There is, in my view, a higher level issue and that is what the country stands for; what the people stand for. You could take out lynching and insert education if it meant we as a people were going to ensure every single kid was able to read by a certain age or we as a people demanded/insisted that all kids got a good breakfast/lunch so they could learn properly.

The issue doesn't matter so much as the country, the culture and what the people stand for.

Long before I ever went to New Zealand, people told me over and over again how friendly the people were and how much they would go overboard for guests. You could meet somebody for ten minutes and they'd loan you their car, kind of thing. And, for the most part, it was true on many levels.

Bad example, perhaps, but the point is that what's happened with my country is the bad/negative views have become the norm not the exception which, in my opinion, is not good for the long term health of the country. As you wander the comment here, you can somewhat see the point.

There is a symbolic gesture and a stunt, to be sure. Finding the balance is a tough problem.

Thanks for stopping by.

This is a non-issue and I can't believe someone would waste the time to even post on it. If this is something that makes you ashamed to be an American, you really need to get a grip on reality.

As others have pointed out, no one voted against the resolution, just some elected not to sponsor it. Maybe they didn't sponsor it because they thought it had enough sponsors. Maybe they didn't like the wording. Maybe they were realistic and thought it was stupid to sponsor a resolution condemning something that happened quite a long time ago that they weren't involved in and happened to be ILLEGAL at the time anyway.

The ridiculous thing isn't that 25 Senators didn't sponsor this resolution, but that 75 DID.

I'm not being racist. I'm just refusing to be an apologist. Something I will never be, nor hope this country ever is.

No one voted against his bill. I fail to see the big deal. If you want to get upset about something the Senate has failed to do get upset about them not doing enough to stop the horror of abortion!

The senator's vote is interesting, but your historical guilt point is a good one. It is more important to look at the current situation. For instance, if I was a US national I might find the idea that there's a former KKK recruiter in the senate a little worrying...

I would accept your point about taking the war to the Middle East, the only problem is that Iraq wasn't implicated in 9/11 (according to a US commission*. But you can be sure plenty of Iraqis are keen on jihad now.

It has got much harder to carry this passport. Literally. Being of European descent, if I was visiting an Islamic country I'd be looking over my shoulder half the time.


Please; how easy is it to be North Korean...
How many incidents have you apologized for that you did not have anything to do with???

Stunt or not, the hand of conciliation holds no blade. That my Senator was not there to hold out that hand shames me because I was born and raised in a state that is still synonymous with racism even after many years of reform. The past does not die with its victims. The evil of racism lives on in their children and their children's children because we believe the law that changes the sentence changes the will to commit the crime. Racism is an ugly habit and it dies hard like many habits. Every gesture to change this habit is worth making and worth acknowledging.

My children play with openly with children from different cultures and races, something that was impossible when I was their age without being beaten. I am Caucasian. I was beaten. If you think this isn't worth changing, then you should be taken to the church in Birmingham, the bridge in Selma, or just to my old neighborhood.

Race is an equal opportunity to hate or tolerate. People are the opportunity to ignore or embrace. Get that right or get out of my neighborhood. We can't afford any longer to live with ignorance or intolerance. And we won't live with racists.

If you dig down into my blogs, you'll find a post entitled, The Value of Our Values. It is a long read, but it is my viewpoint on these times of intolerance, misplaced patriotism, and what the past teaches about them.

The sound of freedom is heard in dissent. Wrap yourselves in a flag to defend racism and you have destroyed everything it means to be a citizen of the country it represents.

Note that only 20% of Americans have Passports - and most of them are probably immigrants. So the concept that there are other countries and that they have thoughts on our behavior is fairly irrelevant to most Americans. Much like the collapse of the US dollar isn't understood.

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