On Tuesday, United States lawmakers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by holding hands and singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Are you kidding? The occasion is certainly a day worthy of remembrance but the line up of congressional leaders holding hands was enough to make just about any independent minded American queezy. From Rep. Nancy Pelosi holding hands with Sen. Mitch McConnell holding hands with Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid holding hands with a yes, crying Speaker of the House John Boehner, this video may be the best representation of people who do not embody the principles of Dr. King and have consistently voted against civil rights.
After all, which of these members of Congress actually support the violation of American civil and constitutional rights on a consistent basis? ALL OF THEM!
It was Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner who joined forces voting against the Amash/Conyers Amendment in 2013 that would have stopped illegal monitoring of hundreds of millions of American citizens by the NSA. Is unlawful spying and the collection of metadata on every citizen regardless of whether they have been charged with a crime not a violation of civil liberties?
Don’t worry, We Shall Overcome.
Also in the video, Sen. Carl Levin who along with Sen. John McCain authored the indefinite detention clause of the National Defense Authorization Act. The clause, which allows any U.S. citizen to be arrested and detained without trial until the end of the endless war on terror has been repeatedly supported by Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Don’t worry, We Shall Overcome.
One civil-rights icon, House Democrat John Lewis, also holding hands in the video with Sen. Carl Levin said, “Through their actions, their speeches and their writings, (Dr. King and other civil rights leaders) created the climate for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
In reference to the Civil Rights Act, House Speaker John Boehner said, “Congress completed what may be the most fundamental, the most consequential legislation of our long history.”
Of course what was never discussed here is the fact that due to the work of grassroots activists and civil rights leaders, many would argue that the Civil Rights Act whether needed or not, was not an act of bravery by Congress. In fact, the nation was moving toward civil rights without Congress. The truth about members of Congress regardless of the era, is that rarely are politicians brave or courageous.
The Civil Rights Act was only voted for when most politicians saw that the nation had already moved far enough that the legislation would not garner political consequences. Congress voted for the Act when they saw the political opinion of the majority of the country had moved in favor of civil rights, then ran out in front of the crowd as if they had been leading the way the entire time.
Indeed today protection from NSA spying, government over-reach, personal rights to one’s body, freedom for individuals to live without government controlling what it deems “useless or harmful freedoms”, and indefinite detention are THE civil rights issues of today. None of these career politicians standing on stage, holding hands and singing together, have demonstrated any bravery on these issues. Rather, they have consistently voted to restrict and deny millions of Americans civil and Constitutional rights.
The true leaders in this battle, as with the civil rights battle of the 1960’s are activists on the streets and the minority in Congress such as Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Justin Amash and Sen. Rand Paul. They are not on stage holding hands and singing, perhaps because they are too busy actually fighting the battle. The good news is, it is a battle that those who believe in liberty are each day winning little by little.
Liberty is Rising and We Shall Overcome!