I think people are missing a large, important point when they dismiss Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) playing the race card over the ethics charges leveled against them by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s super-duper “drain the swamp” ethics committee.
Their arguments are perceived to be (and may actually be) that the committee is singling out African-American members of Congress, and is therefore racist. No one is entitled to a “free pass” from having to be accountable for their misdeeds just because there aren’t X number of similar prosecutions against folks who aren’t members of his or her politically protected minority group. It is possible (though in Congress, not likely) that the only offenders are members of minority groups. A minority is not entitled to immunity for his or her misdeeds just because all of those who are caught committing the misdeeds are minorities. Authorities can only charge those who have committed misdeeds of which they have evidence. I totally get that.
But there’s more to this story. African Americans are not the only offenders. Case in point: Rep. Waters is charged with steering stimulus funds to a business (in this case a bank) in which a family member (specifically Waters’ husband) has a financial interest. But Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) steered stimuls funds to a business (in this case a wind farm) in which a family member (specifically Carnahan’s brother) has a financial interest. Queen Nancy’s “drain the swamp” crowd clamped down on Waters, but is giving Prince Russ a free pass.
Waters is black, while Prince Russ is white. Also, while both Waters and Carnahan are Democrats, Waters is elected by an overwhelmingly Democrat district (Cook Partisan Voting Index D+31) that Pelosi’s party has no realistic chance of losing, regardless of scandal, but Prince Russ’ district, though Democrat (D+7), is not so Democrat that scandal couldn’t shove it over the edge in a Republican wave election like 2010. Pelosi’s minions are protecting a potentially vulnerable incumbent who is facing a credible, well financed Republican opponent, Ed Martin.
Charging African Americans with misconduct for which there is evidence that they committed is not racism. But doing so while refraining from charging whites engaged in the same misconduct is. Since all but one African-American representative is elected by districts that are more safely Democrat than Carnahan’s district, even the brazenly political act of protecting vulnerable party members has a “disparate impact” on African Americans, which Democrats accept as evidence of racism when applied to the private sector.
The solution is not to dismiss the charges against the minorities, but to bring charges against everyone who appears guilty of the same misconduct, regardless of race or how “safe” or “marginal” their district is for any political party. The Democrats’ selective swamp draining does in fact reek of racism.