U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JULIA CARSON 1938-2007
As I am sure you’ve heard, Indiana Congresswoman Julia Carson, 69, passed over the weekend after a short bout with lung cancer. The Congressional Black Caucus lost another trail blazer and progressive stalwart. Mrs. Carson’s career in public service was long and distinguished by her grace, wit, determination, and compassion. Holding public office for 35 years, she is the first African American woman to be elected to both Houses of the Indiana legislature, local elective office, and the U.S. Congress.
The second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana, and the first to be re-elected, Julia Carson stands alone in a class by herself. In 35 years in elective office, Miss Julia never lost a race. Her devotion to the down and out was legendary and so was their affection for her. On Friday, Miss Julia will break down one last barrier when she becomes the first African American woman to lie in state at the Indiana State Capitol. Well Done, Sistah. Well Done.
Also this weekend, the endorsements of the major papers in the first caucus and primary states came out. In a surprise move, the Des Moines Register endorsed the Hillary Clinton, a.k.a the Borg Queen. It was just what she needed to right her listing ship of inevitability. I was expecting them them to either re-endorse Edwards or to endorse Obama. Not to be left out, Obama picked up the endorsement of the Boston Globe, a major coup because New Hampshire has long been considered a bedroom community to Massachusetts.
Finally, Mitt Romney appeared on Meet the Press yesterday to have his chesnuts roasted over an open fire. He and Tim Russert had this interesting exchange.
MR. RUSSERT: You, you raise the issue of color of skin. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools. In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn’t till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. Here was the headlines in the papers in June of ’78. “Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias. Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites.” You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn’t you think, “What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?”
GOV. ROMNEY: I’m very proud of my faith, and it’s the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith–well, it’s true and I love my faith. And I’m not going to distance myself in any way from my faith. But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mm was a tireless crusader for civil rights.
You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights. So my dad’s reputation, my mom’s and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else. And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.
I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept.
(Romney becomes teary-eyed) Even at this day it’s emotional, and so it’s very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God. My faith has always told me that. My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.
MR. RUSSERT: But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.
GOV. ROMNEY: I’ve told you exactly where I stand. My view is that there–there’s, there’s no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.
I am so “moved” that a grown man wept about his church embracing the twentieth century, 10 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and deigning to allow black folk to participate fully in the church’s ministerial ranks. But the unanswered question is what did Mitt Romney and his parents do before then to make this change occur? The answer is probably nothing. Because if Mama and Daddy or Mitt had done anything, we’d have heard about it before now and he certainly woulda said so yesterday. Whatcha’ll think?