Obviously, I recognize the joy that naturally surrounds the election of the first black president. In 1860, a system of bondage debased the humanity of nearly four million souls in America. Even after hundreds of thousands gave their lives in places like Gettysburg, Stones River, and Battery Wagner, new but still evil ways were devised to oppress a race.
I’ve stood alone in the driveway where Medgar Evers fell in Jackson, Mississippi, and considered the sad heroism that characterizes some of the last martyrs to a cause. How close he came to seeing a sort of Promised Land on Earth, where Mississippi now boasts more minority elected officials per capita than any other state.
I’ve scoured the back streets of Philadelphia, Mississippi, hunting down the half-hidden memorial to James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, three champions of the right to vote. They were slaughtered after being pulled over by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. I wondered why the memorial was not at the jail where they were detained with sinister intent. It would make a more noble witness to what an unrestrained government is capable of doing to humans.
These places moved me to my core. I cannot even imagine how profound the election of Barack Obama would be to me if I experienced the evil injustice of segregation as a target. I deeply respect the overwhelming joy following the election, even if I cannot understand it in the same way.
But foul history does not excuse foul impropriety.
Electoral euphoria does not justify a racially tinged announcement by a superior, in the presence of the United States attorney general, to her subordinates.
Imagine if in March 2013, the new political leadership of the Civil Rights Division were to introduce Attorney General Jeff Sessions, refer to the portrait of President Mitch Daniels, and say: “What a relief it is to come to work every day and see we once again have two white men running the country.” Not only would the story be blasted on the front pages of the Washington Post, and rightfully so, but the person who made the statement would probably lose their job. At the very least, the attorney general would be sure to take the underling aside afterwards and make it unequivocally clear that such racially tinged comments are completely unacceptable.
Had this occurred at private business, the same Civil Rights Division would probably open an employment discrimination investigation into the conduct.
What are the chances that Attorney General Holder had that discussion with Loretta King?
I’ll bet next to none. But it is certainly something that now-Senator Sessions might ask Attorney General Holder next time an oversight hearing occurs. One thing is for sure — King’s power in the Civil Rights Division did not diminish after her comment. She was held out as the fair, unbiased, and competent civil servant who gave careful consideration to the New Black Panther case.
Despite the defendants waving a baton and yelling “you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker,” Loretta King decided that a dismissal of nearly all of the case was the only available course of action. Alas, the worm has turned.
I stated on Fox News that it was clear to me that no cases against national racial minorities would issue from the Voting Section during this administration. Let’s hope they change their mind. I testified under oath today, because I had no choice, that those instructions were given by Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) Julie Fernandes.