CBC brushes Allen West's threat to reconsider his membership aside

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) is in no hurry to disavow the outrageous aspersions Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson caustically cast at the Tea Party at a Florida townhall meeting during the August recess.

Florida Republican Rep. Allen West sent a letter to Cleaver Wednesday to warn he will reconsider his membership in the caucus if Cleaver fails to condemn the hate-filled comments of Carson and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who recently said “the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”

But CBC spokeswoman Stephanie Young today said the CBC is not likely to respond to West’s letter any time soon — because the caucus is too focused on jobs to disassociate itself from corrosive race-baiting.

“Members of the CBC are in the midst of the final event of the Congressional Black Caucus’s ‘For the People’ Jobs Initiative in Los Angeles,” Young said. “Throughout the month of August, over 20,000 people have attended a CBC Jobs Initiative event in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, and now Los Angeles. Real people are hurting, and the members of the CBC remain focused on getting Americans back to work.”

Meanwhile, as AP reported last night, Carson also refuses to apologize for saying that Tea Partiers in Congress would like to “see  you and me … hanging on a tree.” Guy Benson offers his commentary:

 Video of the full non-apology is HERE.  This guy is a nasty piece of work.  First, he refuses to apologize for a truly ugly racial remark.  Then, after lamely “clarifying” that he didn’t mean the entire Tea Party is a giant lynchmob, he doubles down and condemns nameless Tea Party “extremists” who cling to a dangerous Wallace-esque “mentality.”  Zero evidence or examples, of course.  Finally, just to prove what a shameless hack he is, Carson laments the country’s “vitriolic political environment” (!) and frets that it’s leading to increased attacks on minority groups.  Again, no evidence offered — and certainly no mention of the recent flash mobs and race riots that have made headlines across the country in recent weeks.   And remember, Carson isn’t the only Congressional Black Caucus member who made totally unacceptable racial remarks during the recess.

A very real part of me hasn’t wanted to touch this story. I question the efficacy of repeating Carson’s disgusting remarks even to censure them. But Carson’s utter unwillingness to apologize coupled with his apparent readiness to agitate further compels me to weigh in to say only — to Cleaver, to Carson, to West, to Waters, to all those involved: Enough is enough is enough. Carson should apologize. The CBC should disassociate itself with his vitriol. But if Carson and Cleaver aren’t going to do that, then they shouldn’t say anything on the subject at all (not even, “We’re too busy with jobs to take notice of West’s letter!). At some point, even the need for an apology, even the need to defend honor against odious, unfounded accusations is obviated by the even greater need for the silence and space to heal.

We’ve all experienced personal arguments in which each side talks and talks, vainly attempting to clarify and convince only to create disagreement on top of disagreement on top of disagreement. Often, in such cases, the original conflict is forgotten or assumes misshapen proportions. What’s needed in such times is a break from the debate — and, I’d argue, a little prayer! Time enough to argue later — let’s first remember what we’re arguing for. Presumably, we’re all advocating for the same end: A country that upholds equal opportunity for all. And if we’re not fighting for the same goal — if some of us want guaranteed equal results or some other objective — then let’s take the time to remember that, then reconvene and debate the real issues.