Statement of Black Conservative Project 21 Members on Signing of Health Care Legislation and on Accusations of Racism Against Tea Party Activists
Washington, D.C.: - The following are comments by members of the Project 21 black conservative leadership network on the signing of health care legislation by President Obama yesterday and on continuing accusations of racism by Tea Party activists protesting the bill:
"Saying that health care is a civil right is as paternalistic as it is just plain wrong, and is just one more example of liberal nanny-state politics. Forcing Obamacare down our throats is going to come back to bite many lawmakers. The American people are not going to stand for this." - Project 21 Member Darryn "Dutch" Martin
"I find it very hard to believe that anyone called Representative Lewis the n-word. It probably isn't close to being beneath them to lie and invent such an occurrence for emotional and political gain." - Project 21 Member Lisa Fritsch
"It was disgraceful of House Speaker Pelosi to exploit blacks' past fight for civil rights with the progressive goal of making health care a right. Even more disappointing was seeing black congressmen join in her procession to make all Americans dependent on the government plantation for health care services." - Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli
"Liberals sneer at the patriotism of tea party activist as inappropriate, yet they can't seem to keep themselves from linking their agenda items to the civil rights movement. Speaker Pelosi linking arms with Representative Lewis as a way of recalling Selma was way over the top. It's a wonder she didn't ask the fire department to turn a hose on them as well." - Project 21 Member Bishop Council Nedd II
"Pelosi comparing this abysmal act to civil rights and the march to Selma is like comparing moonshine to rose petals. I am sick of people like her cheapening the heroic acts of blacks who were denied their most basic rights by claiming a similarity of their contemptuous actions to the denial of the right of a people in a free country to lodge, to eat and to purchase homes where they chose." - Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie
Background: On March 20, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) claimed individual tea party protestors shouted epithets at them as they went to and from the Capitol. YouTube videos (available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fdaPZx1cpU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SCs6pSE8_I) of CBC members walking through groups of protestors, however, do not contain any epithets, much less live up to an assertion by Representative John Lewis (D-GA) that "I haven't heard anything like this in 40, 45 years. Since the march to Selma, really."
Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)'s claim that a protestor spat on him led to Capitol Police intervention but no arrest.
On March 21, as the final debate began on Obamacare in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi linked arms with Representative Lewis and members of the congressional leadership to march to the Capitol. It was an allusion to the anniversary of the beginning of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in the wake of the "Bloody Sunday" attack on civil rights marchers earlier that month.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by The National Center for Public Policy Research (www.nationalcenter.org).