Friday, January 21, 2011

Political Reform Revisited

The dynamics leading up to repeal of the new Healthcare Reform bill have been interesting to observe. Being one who is fascinated by the lessons we can learn from history, it wasn't difficult to see many parallels between Reconstruction Congress and the destructiveness of the current and last one.

In case something was being misinterpreted and twisted from reality, I decided to review some of my Black History materials and compare them with what can be found on the web in regard to the U.S. Congress from the 1860s, also known as the Reconstruction Congress.

The focus is on the newly-installed Black members of this august body. My recollection is that while all 31 Representatives and two Senators were very well educated and capable men, they faced inordinate obstacles to doing their actual work because their challenges were sometimes not so subtle maneuverings to unseat them due to their race. Not to trust memory to this very important issue, I went to Google which pointed me to Wikipedia. My recollection was correct.

There was only one member of the Congress who was also a non-slave electee who seems to have avoided the vitriol. Otherwise, all suffered some type of distraction from their stated duties that essentially tore them away from their jobs, led to Jim Crow, and made them less effective than we (as the country of electors) would have wanted. How similar this state of affairs seems to be to our current Congress and the last session as bi-partisan politics fueled getting Black representatives' having aspersions cast their way to discredit their character and therefore diminish legislation and representation that they backed.

The saying is, "History repeats itself." Perhaps that is why the Healthcare Reform Bill is being dismantled by both parts of the Congress and I struggle to preserve these thoughts. Does this act of destruction (under the guise of insufficiency) portend the removal of Obama and the restoration of a Reganesque/Bush-like administration? And does this mean it will take yet another 100 years to gain any meaningful inroads for those who are American, whether naturalized or natural, to receive any of the fruits of the American Promise?


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