By Anonymous (not verified) on January 14, 2013

For all the talk of the increased diversity in the new Congress, you won’t find it on the Republican side.

For the first time in history, the majority of Democratic members in the House will not be white males. This is a good thing. Of the 200 Democrats in the House, 61 are women (including three nonvoting members), 43 African-American (including two nonvoting members), 23 Latino and 10 Asian.

The Democratic Caucus truly looks like America, circa 2013.

But not the Republican Caucus.

With the departure of Reps. Allen West (defeated) and Tim Scott (promoted), there will be no black GOP House members. And because there are very few other GOP women or men of color, as a consequence, the Republican Caucus is 89 percent white male.

In the Republican-controlled House, the chair of every legislative committee but one is a conservative white male. And it was only after coming under intense criticism and ridicule, especially following the massive defection of women voters in 2012 from the Republican Party, did the GOP belatedly appoint Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., to head the House Administration Committee.

The racial fretting of the GOP explains the cheering by Republicans for the selection of Scott to keep retired S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint’s seat warm until an election scheduled for 2014.

Overwhelming and growing black and Latino support for Democrats has terrified some in the GOP who believe there is no future for the party unless it can recruit support from communities of color. Like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Scott is the counter to charges that the Republican Party (and its tea party engine) is lily-white and cares little for people of color.

But what you see is not what you get.

Black and Latino support for black and Latino candidates is not simply based on color and ethnicity. What these voters want and support are candidates who reflect their consensus and promote their interests.

To the degree that Scott and Rubio maintain the Republican orthodoxy, they can expect to receive little more support among people of color than DeMint did — or Mitt Romney, for that matter.

Scott’s record is a case in point.

As a House member, he threatened President Obama with impeachment, vigorously opposed the Affordable Care Act, supported radical anti-union legislation, was against efforts to increase voter participation and even proposed a bill to cut off food stamps for whole families if one member happened to be on strike.

The last black Republican in the Senate was the moderate Ed Brooke of Massachusetts, a political species within the Republican Party that has virtually become extinct.

Scott is no moderate. He likely will be the first black senator whose every policy position will be in opposition to the agenda of the vast majority of blacks.

So Republicans can crow about diversity all they want. But to the extent that it exists at all, it’s just window-dressing.

Clarence Lusane is program director and associate professor of the Comparative and Regional Studies Program in the School of International Service at American University. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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