Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

Congressional Black CaucusA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The advent of America's first Black president has resulted in Black congresspeople voting for wars that their constituents overwhelmingly oppose, which could lead to the conclusion that Obama is “a morally corrupting influence on some Black lawmakers.” More than half the Congressional Black Caucus sided with Obama – and war – last week. Three-fourths of all House Democrats did the same. George Bush should be green with envy.

 

 

Half of Black Caucus Votes for More Afghan War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“When Obama surges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Black lawmakers who purport to be for peace, retreat.”

Slightly less than half of the Congressional Black Caucus, 46 percent, broke with the Obama administration last week to vote for a bill to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. Given that the nation’s first Black president has made the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater of war his own – depicting the ever-expanding aggression as a “good war” – getting 18 Black votes for peace was probably as much as could have been expected. Black Democrats certainly behaved with more decency and sanity than Democrats as a whole, three out of four of whom voted with their war mongering commander-in-chief. Some progressive lawmakers felt it was a victory simply to have been permitted to hold a three-hour debate on the merits of war and peace, at this time of global imperial offensive, and disarray on the Left.

Nevertheless, the Black Caucus’s near-even split on Obama’s wars reveals the gross perversion of African American politics as it is filtered through a Democratic Party lurching steadily rightward under the weight of corporate money and the guidance of a president who is, if anything, more militarily aggressive in the region than his predecessor, George Bush. When Obama surges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Black lawmakers who purport to be for peace, retreat.

The 18 Caucus members that voted “Yes” for withdrawal from Afghanistan reflect the overwhelming sentiments of a people that polls have for generations shown to be the most pro-peace demographic group in the nation. That 19 members of the Congressional Black Caucus would support U.S. wars against poor people half a world away, is evidence of deep moral and political corruption among the Black leadership class. (See breakdown of CBC vote, below.)

“The Black Caucus’s near-even split on Obama’s wars reveals the gross perversion of African American politics as it is filtered through a Democratic Party lurching steadily rightward.”

We are shocked that reliably progressive congresspersons like Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, and Bobby Scott, of Virginia, cast their votes for war, as did a number of other Caucus members who, if Obama were not the president, would surely have been counted on the side of peace. Obama’s very presence in the White House can be viewed as a morally corrupting influence on some Black lawmakers, leading them to give a “pass” to policies they would otherwise oppose.

We note that Congressman John Conyers, the Dean of the Black Caucus and usually a dependable progressive, failed to vote, as did Artur Davis, the most right-wing Caucus member, who aspires to be a senator from Alabama.

We have not singled out for praise any of the 18 members that voted “Yes” for withdrawal from Afghanistan. They were doing their moral duty and expressing the political sentiments of their constituents; therefore, no accolades are in order. There is no significant war constituency in Black America – even the advent of a Black president cannot change that fact.

The peace constituency is obligated to turn out this Saturday, in Washington and San Francisco and other locations in between, to register our outrage at America’s wars – which are now Obama’s wars. That outrage should also extend to the three out of four Democrats and half of the Black Caucus members that cast their votes for mass murder of our fellow human beings, last week. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Breakdown of Congressional Black Caucus vote on HR 248, a bill to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by end of 2010:

 

Yes (18)

Yvette Clarke (NY)
William Clay (MO)

Emanuel Cleaver (MO)
Danny Davis (IL)

Donna Edwards (MD)
Keith Ellison (MN)

Alcee Hastings (FL)
Jesse Jackson (IL)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson, E. B. (TX)
Barbara Lee (CA)
John Lewis (GA)

Donald Payne (NJ)
Charles Rangel (NY)
Laura Richardson (CA)

Edolphus Towns (NY)
Maxine Waters (CA)
Diane Watson (CA)

 

No (19)

Sanford Bishop (GA)

Corrine Brown (FL)
G.K. Butterfield (NC)

Andre Carson (IN)

Elijah Cummings (MD)

Chaka Fattah (PA)

Marcia Fudge (OH)
Al Green (TX)

Hank Johnson (GA)
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI)
Kendrick Meek (FL)

Gregory Meeks (NY)

Gwen Moore (WI)

Bobby Rush (IL)

David Scott (GA)
Bobby Scott (VA)

Bennie Thompson (MS)

Melvin Watt (NC)

 

Not Voting (2)

John Conyers (MI)

Artur Davis (AL)

Direct download: 20100317_gf_AntiWarVote.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:43pm EDT