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Monday, December 7, 2009

Harry Reid's Slavery Folly

Speaking as a Jew, there's rarely anything as offensive as when the Holocaust is minimized in any manner. Last month, that's exactly what Florida Congressman Alan Grayson tried to do when he compared our country's health care struggles to the Holocaust. The Anti Defamation League immediately condemned the comparison and well they should have. The death of 6 million people should never be minimized. When that event is used to score cheap points of any kind, it's an affront to each and every person that died at the hands of the Nazis. I don't want to speak for the African American population but I suspect there's a similarly visceral reaction to similar comparisons to slavery. That's exactly what Senator Reid attempted to do today.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.

The Nevada Democrat, in a sweeping set of accusations on the Senate floor, also compared health care foes to those who opposed women's suffrage and the civil rights movement -- even though it was Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, who unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and it was Republicans who led the charge against slavery.

I don't know if Reid was trying to be cute or attempting to frame this as an epic struggle on the scale of slavery. Either way, the entire thing is unbelievably inappropriate and offensive. If he was trying to paint Republicans as obstructionists on the wrong side of history, this wasn't the tact. It's exactly this sort of rhetoric that makes us so cynical about politics.

It's perverse how often politicians will use tragedy in an attempt to score cheap political points. It's certainly not exclusive to Democrats like Reid. This is only the latest example and I hope the last.


AG said...

He didn't compare it to support for slavery, he compared it to opposition to civil rights.

It seems pretty clear that he was trying to denounce the Republicans for opposing the idea of Health Care as a civil right.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it the Democratic Party that supported slavery and the Republican Party that was against it? In fact, wasn't the Republican Party founded on an anti-slavery platform? Regarding the Civil Rights Act, a higher percentage of Democrats voted against it than Republicans, as well. His remarks seem an attempt to rewrite the history of the most evil and immoral legacy of our nation. Slavery and Jim Crow were both supported by the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party.

Imagine a Republican trying to cite the McCarthy era as an example of Democratic oppression of the right to freely associate.

I think that is what is the most outrageous about his remarks. You make a good point about minimizing slavery, but you left out the worst of his offense.

Mike Jackson