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The Washington snake pit and Cynthia McKinney
by Larry Chin    Online Journal
Entered into the database on Friday, April 07th, 2006 @ 15:27:53 MST


Untitled Document

There is no question that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is the target of persistent and ongoing efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to prevent her from doing her elected duties. One of the very few honorable representatives in a hopelessly corrupt and venal US government, McKinney---a longtime critic of covert operations and the CIA, US foreign policy, and the only member of Congress to address 9/11---has been singled out for intimidation, repeated police harassment (“security”), racial profiling, and a special brand of national mass media character assassination. And now, even the threat of jail.

McKinney gave a powerful defense in her original statement about the incident [my emphasis in italics - LC]:

“I have served as a Member of Congress for more than 11 years. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I seem to evoke memory loss, especially from certain police officers who claim not to be able to recognize my face while I go to work everyday, representing the people of Georgia's 4th Congressional District . . .

“Why my face is continually unrecognizable can only be answered by these offending police officers. Capitol Hill Police are given face recognition instructions as a part of their official training. Capitol Hill Police are required to recognize, greet, and distinguish Members of Congress as a part of their official role and responsibilities. In fact, according to the US Capitol Police, their mission is to protect and support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. The US Capitol Police mission statement makes no distinction about selective application of its mission depending upon whether a Member of Congress is black, woman, or has a new hairstyle.

“But, honestly, this incident is not about wearing a congressional pin or changing my hairstyle.

“It is true that I have changed my hairstyle. It is true that at the time I was not wearing my pin. But many Members of Congress aren't wearing their pins today. Just in the last hour, at least eight Members of Congress have been spotted speaking from the well of the House without their pins and even more have been seen on the Hill today not wearing their Congressional pin. How many of them were stopped by Capitol Hill Police? Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers?

“This morning at approximately 8:57 a.m., I was going to a Budget Committee meeting due to start at 9 a.m. I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, body-blocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the police officer resumed his duties.”

Anybody who knows military/police brutality understands what McKinney has endured. Anyone who understands provocation and setup knows the drill. Ask any African-American who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, anywhere in America. Ask any Palestinian who is in the crosshairs of Israeli “security” forces. Ask any Iraqi, under the yoke of US occupation. Ask any Hurricane Katrina victim in New Orleans, who watched Blackwater Security mercenaries take over their neighborhood.

Ask anybody on the wrong end of things in Bush’s post-9/11 abyss.

The idea that McKinney is now under grand jury investigation, for assaulting the cop who manhandled her, is beyond absurd.

Nevertheless, McKinney, the daughter of a police officer, immediately made amends:

“I have counseled with the Sergeant-at-Arms and Acting Assistant Chief Thompson several times before and counseled with them again on today's incident. I offered also to counsel with the offending police officer. I have agreed to try to remember to wear my pin and to notify Capitol Hill police every time I change my hairstyle.”

To no avail. The McKinney “slapping incident” has become 24-hour fodder for Fox News and other right-wing Bush psychopaths. Right-wing talk show host Neal Boortz called McKinney “ghetto trash.” The worthless Dennis Hastert rambled about McKinney being a “security” risk. The supremely criminal Tom DeLay, on his way out in disgrace, could not help calling McKinney an “arrogant racist” in his parting shot. Virtually every mainstream news broadcast, from national to local, have repeated the Republican sound bites, exclusively.

More telling is the fact that a day after the incident, not one Democrat came to McKinney’s defense. Not one.

This worthless and brutally corrupt neoliberal faction, led by the shameless Nancy Pelosi (no friend of McKinney’s) and the power-mongering Democratic Leadership Council, want McKinney muzzled as badly as the Bush forces do. They spent the better part of the days accusing McKinney of creating a distraction.

Is the targeted intimidation of a sitting member of Congress a distraction? Or is the shameless deception of the Democrats in this “election” year the real distraction from the truly brutal realities of the “war on terrorism” (which the Democrats enthusiastically support), and a planetary Peak Oil/natural resource crisis, the real distraction? As the Democrats shamelessly claw, shill and collude for their seats on this sinking Titanic called the American empire, they are more than happy to toss an outspoken outsider and maverick to the wolves. It is these Democrats who deserve a good slapping.

Today, McKinney issued an apology, even though she has nothing to apologize for. The African-American community knows it.

As Wilbert Tatum wrote in a blistering editorial in the New York Amsterdam News, titled "Cynthia McKinney as role model":

“Is this country fair? You'd better bet your ass it isn't. Must Blacks do something out of the normal political process to express their rage, anger and resentment? Once more, you had better bet your ass we should because we are faced with the most hostile government in recent memory, not only a government that is rabid and greedy in the worst kind of sense but a government exploiting a leader who is little short of crazy.

“Cynthia McKinney and Maxine Waters and the other Black women in Congress had better watch out. If they have been targeted, as many of us believe that they have, there must come a defense for them. It must not necessarily come from the Black Caucus or the Black men in the Black Caucus, but it must come from somewhere.

“The Black men are afraid for their political lives. The Black women are afraid that their constituents will lose their lives if they are not protected by those who are supposed to represent them -- two different agendas made necessary by this peculiar institution of slavery which we have inherited.

“Retaliation . . . though foolish it may be, is the only way that is going to give us immediate satisfaction. And don't we really need satisfaction now? We have lost in every quarter, and the current administration is taking out the losses in the other quarters that remain in this administration. Think about the fate available to us in America now and decide which way you are going to go between now and Election Day 2006. As Edward R. Murrow would have said, ‘Good night and good luck.’”