Republican Rep. Steve King has a history of off-color remarks. His latest vow—to hold Congressional hearings on both ACORN and USDA “reparations” for black and American Indian farmers—will bring his taint to Capitol Hill.
“I think that you will see investigations of ACORN, for one. You’ll hear a lot more in the news about ACORN, and about the insidious nature of them—about how the national organization of ACORN now has been fractured, but they’re reforming in the states with the same people, the same players, the same intentions,” said King of the controversial community organizers many conservative say prefers minorities over white people.
The Iowa Republican then moved onto the $4.5 billion settlements for Pigford and Cobell farms, which Congress approved earlier this month on grounds that the Agriculture Department had unfairly discriminated against minority farmers when awarding loans.
“And there’ll be other investigations looking into the Pigford farms issue, which I think is full of fraud, that what amounts to is paying reparations to black farmers in America. We don’t do reparations in America.” Well, no we don’t. Nor are these reparations. It’s the government acknowledging its past sins and making amends. As Rep. James Clyburn said, “Today we removed the stain on our country’s history and rectified these injustices. What happened to our nation’s African American farmers and Native Americans was wrong, and we have made it right.”
King’s calls for Congressional hearings should come as no surprise: The 61-year old has been one of the most vocal opponents of the settlements, which he blames on President Obama’s preferential treatment of black people.
“We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he’s going to run for president, and what does he do? He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.” Later, when asked to explain the clearly biased “urban” remark, King feigned ignorance, insisting he didn’t mean to be offensive.
“He comes from a very urban area,” said King. “It is not something that would ever occur to anybody in my background that that would be something that could be some kind of a racial pejorative. It’s just simply, he comes from the city, that’s urban. You come from the country, you’re rural.” If King didn’t have such a despicable track record of racist remarks, perhaps I would be inclined to believe him, but that’s not the case.
In 2008, King claimed Obama’s presidential win would be a boon for terrorists abroad. “I don’t want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name — whatever their religion their father might have been” I’ll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States — I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?” asked King.
“If he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror.” And now King wants to inject his hate into the Congressional record.
Republicans have been floating the idea of myriad Congressional hearings for months. Rep. Peter King, no relation to Steve, wants to discuss “Muslim radicalization,” while others have championed hearings on Presidential birth certificates, an evolution of the idea that Obama’s not an American citizen. While those examples are insidious, they are nowhere near as dangerous as King’s proposal.
“We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,” King said last month, at the height of his anti-settlement rage. “That war’s been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially.”
The war may be over, but the wounds of racism still run deep. As our nation moves into the future, we’d be better served discussing how to rectify the States’ ongoing wrongs, rather than using divisive politics to stoke race-based animosity that has been bubbling since Obama’s election.