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A Tale Of Two Resolutions

   

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

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Five years ago Congress blasted a speech by Nation of Islam national spokesperson Khalid Muhammad as "false, anti-Semitic, racist, divisive, repugnant and a disservice to all Americans." The censorship resolution was in direct response to the speech Muhammad gave at Kean College four months earlier. The resolution rocketed through both the House and Senate in 20 days with virtually no dissent.

Five years later the House refuses to bring to a floor vote and the Senate refuses to introduce an almost identical resolution that condemns the equally racist, anti-Semitic, divisive, and repugnant Council of Conservative Citizens. Georgia House Republican Bob Barr and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott have good reasons to be stone silent on the resolution. They gave speeches to national and local CCC conferences. They have written for, and been frequently praised, in its newspaper the Citizens Informer and on its internet web site. Only after mass public and media outrage about their CCC involvement did they make the weakest of weak disclaimers of the group. While both should be condemned for their past ties to the group, it is understandable why they keep silent. But why do more than 400 Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate balk at the resolution? There are three reasons why they do.

The first is that the hands of some Congress members are dirty with the CCC imprint. A slew of Republicans and Democrats have spoken to or participated in CCC conferences, meetings, and activities and received funds and political endorsements from the group.

CCC officials have given some Congress members the second reason to say nothing against them. They claim that they are a group that does not advocate violence, whereas Muhammad was an individual who did advocate violence. They also argue that censorship will chill the right of members in an organization to express their views. Their reasons are phony, self-serving, and plainly wrong.

  • The CCC has 15,000 members and thousands more sympathizers nationally. It has money, clout, and media savvy. It has dozens of supporters in Congress, and among state and local officials. Its members and supporters are well aware that the CCC routinely bashes minorities, Jews, gays, abortion, women rights, and immigrants. The group's obsessive, unvarnished white supremacist verbal assaults make it far more dangerous and destructive than one individual could ever be.

  • Its bellicose views complete with an emblazoned Confederate flag are boldly stately in a manifesto, "Our War" by Frank Conner on its website. It practically implores its members to carry out "revolutionary deeds," "preserve our heritage," "wage war against our enemies" "defend our symbols," and make "our ideological moves very swiftly" on those groups and individuals named on its "enemies list." This comes borderline close to inviting physical attacks on those "enemies."

  • It is not a violation of free speech issue to condemn the group. Muhammad's rant crossed way over the line between free speech and a hate-filled call to violence, and deserved public rebuke. Yet the CCC's hysterical attacks on minorities, its blame of the media, blacks and liberals for whipping up the hysteria over the Texas auto lynching of James Byrd, and the sharp escalation in hate murders and assaults against minorities and gays nationally is dangerous proof that it's more urgent then ever to immediately and forcefully denounce the CCC.

But the biggest reason why many Congressional Republicans refuse to denounce the CCC is that many of them are Southern, conservative, and agree with much if not all of the group's philosophy. They are just as determined as CCC members to roll back civil rights, further gut social programs, wage their cultural war for a nativist, know-nothing America, and try to seize the White House in 2000. If cavorting with segregationists and race baiters such as the CCC furthers that goal then they are more than happy to keep their hands off of them. This is all the more reason why Congress should be reminded that if it can condemn Muhammad for preaching hate and violence, then it must condemn the CCC for doing the same.

Tell your congressperson that!

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a Los Angeles based writer and the author of The Crisis in Black and Black. email:ehutchi344@aol.com
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