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June 21, 2005

Lynching apology excuses

As of July 19, all but 13 senators have cosigned Mary Landrieu's S.Res.39 for the Senate's record on lynching.

Declares that the Senate: (1) apologizes to the victims and survivors of lynching for its failure to enact anti-lynching legislation; (2) expresses its deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets to the descendants of such victims whose ancestors were deprived of life, human dignity, and the constitutional protections accorded all other U.S. citizens; and (3) remembers the history of lynching, to ensure that these personal tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated.

The passage of this is legislation is the culmination of several years of advocacy. Here is the website of a work that helped catalyze this effort: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, by James Allen, 2000.

Now, the 13 Republican holdouts tell their sob stories to CapitolBuzz.

My impressionistic highlights include:

  • Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.): Too busy working on the energy bill. If he had opposed the bill, he would have done so on the floor and forced a roll call vote.
  • John Cornyn (R-Texas): Blames the media. Resolution too trivial to cosponsor.
  • Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): Blame the help. Say it's so hard to get good help these days.
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas): Supported the idea of the bill, but doesn't feel need to co-sponsor everything she's in favor of.
  • Richard Shelby (R-Ala) See Bailey Hutchison, above.
  • Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn): Prefers to focus on current injustices.
  • Bob Bennett (R-Utah): Notes that Utah doesn't have a history of lynchings, blames filibuster.
  • Thad "Dead Hand" Cochran (Miss.) Doesn't feel he should have to apologize for the passage or non-passage any legislation by the U.S. Senate. Ever. Period. It's the principle of the thing.
  • Mike Enzi (R-Wyo): Congratulates self for allowing voice vote to take place, deems further involvement unnecessary.

Hat tip to DC Media Girl.


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» Anti-Lynching, Civil Rights and What Must Still be Done from jay sennett's blog
Of the good senator from Mississippi's response to Senate Resolution 39, in which the Senate officially apologized for its forceful contribution to supporting lynching as a standard feature of american behavior, Majikthise writes:Thad [Read More]


Someone should email this to Bob Bennett. How many lynchings in a state does it take for a state to have a "history of lynchings?"

The list should include Sens. Lott and Kyl, who decided that the question simply wasn't worth responding to.

Adore your awesome reasoning skills, LB. Never seen you fall for this sort of gooeyness.

Feel-good legislation of any stripe merely breeds more when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife time-wasters. Feel-good legislation is a political stunt so TV bobbleheads fill entire Sundays with their drone.

I can't defend my two Wyoming senators as they abet Bush's numerous, enormous world-destruction projects. But I defend my homies against bogus snipes. I have met sens Enzi & Thomas; decent folk. (Poor guys are trapped in world where . . . .)

Although I wish they had voted for the well-meaning gesture -- "lynching: bad!" -- they lose no points in my book. They don't golf in Scotland. They do secure plenty of fed-loot for pathways and similar modern improvements in our state.

They do secure plenty of fed-loot for pathways and similar modern improvements in our state.

And isn't that the true measure of moral standing, after all? I understand that Boss Tweed was also quite profitable.

With respect to the Honorable Mister Bennett, Senator from Utah, the only reason that state has no history of lynching is that their ancestors would shoot niggers at the border.

Dswift, feel good legislation is a legitimate tactic for an opposition party. Everyone expected Landrieu's resolution to pass unanimously with all senators co-signing. It wasn't expected to be a big deal--just a nice thing for her to do for her constituents. Then, to our great delight, a couple of real cretins were caught in the headlights. I say, play it to the hilt.

Free publicity. Free bobble-bobbing about whether the Republicans might be a white Christianist party after all.

You might want to change the date at the top of your post. While I believe that you have awesome powers, I did not think that time travel was one of them.

I wonder why you didnt mention that the filibusters against anti-lynching legislation were all DEMOCRATS? Why should Republicans apologize for Democrats?

Not co-sponsoring a resolution does not equate to being against it. If it did, that would mean:

-that 426 members of the House of Representatives were against the following resolution: "Recognizing the anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment and encouraging the American people to educate and instill pride and purpose into their communities and to observe the anniversary annually with appropriate programs and activities."

-that 65 Senators were against the Black History Month resolution

-that 99 Senators were against a bill to establish the "African Burial Ground National Historic Site and the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum in New York, New York."

Please, I beg you, check your facts before you disparage people

Lindsay, this apology is as valid as John Paul II's constant apologies for previous crimes of the Catholic Church. Wojtyla may have apologized for the Inquisition but he continued it in a way; similarly, the Senate may apologize for lynching, but it continues doing too little to address white racism in the United States.


I've tried to Trackback to your post, but the ping did not take.

I've blogged about your post here


Not co-sponsoring a resolution does not equate to being against it.

Actually, in this case, it does, because Frist wouldn't allow a proper vote on it. The only way to go on the record to express your support for it was to co-sponsor it.

Frist would not allow a vote because then it would be a part of a record to be used---this way sponsorship shows "support" but failing to sponsor the bill is "win-win" for some of these people. They can claim to one part of the constituency back home "I can't sponsor *every* good bill that comes down the pike!" and for the others the code is in place: "I didn't sponsor that damn PC bill!"
Without ever really saying a thing or really ever having much risk. Hey, my two senators did it and I can tell you for a fact I've heard both "factions" locally giving their agreement for what they see in the refusal to co-sponsor.

Everyone is happy except for the 8% of us in my county who did *not* vote for either "our" Senator or his president...

its slick! you have to give 'em that!

If all these people had been around 60-80 years ago they would have been wearing white hoods and robes doing their own lynching. then again, we don't know what they have hidden in the closet.

"I wonder why you didnt mention that the filibusters against anti-lynching legislation were all DEMOCRATS? Why should Republicans apologize for Democrats?"

Posted by: cyrus bear

Assuming that you can use a dictionary, please look up 'Dixiecrat'.

thank you.

nice. love "name & shame" tactics that put wingnuts on the defensive. but when will dems do the same to expose corporate malfeasance and war profiteering in iraq? where is the apology to taxpayers for that?

do we have to wait another 60 years to see that happen?

not to suggest or diminish the horrors of the lynchings as not significant. it was. this legislation was important and valuable for the debate it's stirred up. for reminding people to the fact that contrary to hollywood misconceptions, lynching was not a quick death. often victims were tortured for hours (such as having appendages chopped off) before being killed, and as the photo link you posted detailed, were set on fire while they were still alive. it's vital that this history be made known and not forgotten.

just that this has made me impatient for more calls of accountability.

Gimme a break.

"Not co-sponsoring a resolution does not equate to being against it."

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. The fact that failure to co-sponsor this will play well with a certain class [sic] of people (coincidentally, the same subhumans who would be offended if they DID co-sponsor) has nothing to do with the decisions made.

And please ... the political descendants of the Dixiecrats who filibustered against anti-lynching legislation were welcomed into the Republican party with open arms by the "Mitchell Plan" under Nixon, and the few holdouts fled to the party with the message sent by Reagan when he announced his candidacy at a notoriously racist Mississipie "picnic."

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