The Rangel/Waters ethics case, a sign of racial progress?

Posted: August 3, 2010 by datechguy in congress, opinion/news
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve always remembered a particular episode of Gilligan’s Island (Gilligan vs. Gilligan available online here) that had a particular exchange between Mr. Howell and the Russian spy posing as Gilligan. Mr. Howell puts his chess piece on an illegal square. Mr. Howell reacts indignantly:

Mr. Howell: Young man are you accusing a Howell of cheating? I’ll have you know I’m far too wealthy.

Spy Gilligan: To cheat?

Mr. Howell: No, to be accused!

It reminds me that there once was a time when our icons such as JFK were far too important to have their dirty laundry aired in public.

How does that relate to The Rangel/Waters issues? Consider this; as Black America gradually progressed in rights and influence, they also gradually took the places at the seats of power that their growing influence and the slow progress toward legal equality demanded.

Like all men and woman those people who attained power and office were individuals with their own strengths, weaknesses and foibles. However those foibles while they might be known in their own communities were not aired to the general pubic. Not because the community approved but because you didn’t tear down your own when it took so long to get to the mountaintop (this is of course not unique to the Black community). As blacks migrated to the democratic party and as the party became more dependent on their vote, it became a priority for the party as well to keep any problems in house with a tact cloak of silence. Thus any such suggestion became a racial issue and the proponent of such questions a racist.

Now however things are different, the digital age forces light on things that were once hidden (read Rev Wright) and with our first black president (sorry Bill Clinton) it is impossible to pretend that African American’s place in American society is defined primarily by the sins of the past.

James Clyburn not withstanding, Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters ethics issues have nothing to do with race and everything to do with actions. The actions against them are not signs of the return of the Jim Crow past meant to keep Black America underfoot. It also shows we have progressed beyond the equally offensive but less violent era of tokenism.

This is the sign of a new era where we can look at a member of congress of any race and see…a member of congress. This means we can judge said member not on the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I think that’s progress and America in general and the Black community in particular are better off for it.

Update: Morgan Freeman knew what he was talking about.

As does Col Allen West:

Comments are closed.