Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Reason to be Outraged

I understand why protesters chanting “Not My President” are upset, worried and angry. On the other hand it’s an unproductive exercise in that it won’t change behavior of our elected officials. That’s not to say they should “get over it” as Trump supporters would have it. Instead their actions should be directed at accomplishing specific goals.

One of those goals could be preventing the worst of Trump’s cabinet appointments from being confirmed by the Senate. Of those named so far his nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama for Attorney General certainly qualifies as one of the worst he’s likely to select.

The Attorney General is responsible for many areas of law and one is prosecuting Civil Rights cases. Sen. Sessions, once US Attorney in Alabama, has a history of racist behavior that is so bad he was once rejected by the Republican controlled Senate when nominated by Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship. Thomas Figures, a black assistant US Attorney in Mobile, said that Sessions had repeatedly referred to him as “boy.” Sessions admitted to calling the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.” Gerry Hebert, a former Department of Justice employee who worked in the Voting Section, told Congress that Sessions had called the NAACP and ACLU “Communist-inspired” and “un-American,” and labeled the white civil-rights lawyer Jim Blacksher “a disgrace to his race.”

Sessions was elected to the US Senate in 1996 and hasn’t shown any effort to reform. He frequently earned an “F” rating from civil-rights groups like the NAACP and praised the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013, saying, “if you go to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, people aren’t being denied the vote because of the color of their skin.” If ongoing voting discrimination wasn’t a problem in his home state of Alabama they wouldn’t have tried to close 31 DMV offices, mostly in majority-black counties, after instituting strict photo-ID requirements to vote. We don’t need a man who doesn’t believe in the goals of the Voting Rights Act in charge of enforcing civil rights.

So instead of lashing out and expending energy to no avail we should listen to former congressional staffers who agree that the best way to get our legislator’s attention and cause them to act as you wish is to call their local offices and speak to the local staff member about your concern. That means we should all be calling our own US Senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, urging them to reject Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. They both have offices in San Antonio. Sen. Cruz’s office number is (210) 340-2885 and Sen. Cornyn’s number is (210) 224-7485.

If you truly want to make a difference, calling those offices and getting your like minded family and friends to do the same is the most likely way to accomplish this worthy goal. Keep those numbers handy because Donald Trump is likely to offer other poor choices for important cabinet posts and you’ll want to call our Senators about them too.

Published in the Seguin Gazette November 25, 2016

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