A GOP senator tells some necessary truth to America

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks to reporters about Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(AP)

Tim Scott is a conservative Republican senator from South Carolina. He also happens to be a black man. That rare combination would seem to make him a natural and much-needed mediator between his party and minority voters, but it is a role that Scott himself has tried hard to downplay, for example by refusing to join the Congressional Black Caucus. If his race is nonetheless part of his political identity, it is not because Scott has sought it out, but because others insist on thrusting that image upon him.

But in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Scott cast all of that aside and went deeply personal. Among other things, he recounted some of his own too-numerous experiences with law enforcement, repeating the type of testimony that we’ve heard from many other successful black men, such as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. To those of us without that first-hand experience, the consistency of these stories is remarkable.

“I shuddered when I heard Eric Garner say ‘I can’t move’,” Scott confessed to his fellow senators. “I wept when I watched Walter Scott turn and run away and get shot and killed. And I broke when I heard the 4-year-old daughter of Philando Castile’s girlfriend tell her mother ‘It’s OK, I’m right here with you’. These people are lost forever — fathers, brothers, sons.”

For those who might have forgotten the name “Walter Scott,” this scene should remind you:

Scott

The senator and the murder victim were not related, but they shared more than a last name. That shooting from April 2015 occurred in North Charleston, S.C., the community where Tim Scott was born, so it must have literally struck home for him. (Scott also might have added the name of Atlantan Deravais Rogers to that list of victims.)

“While I thank God I have not endured bodily harm,” Scott told the Senate, “I have, however, felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted. I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself. As a former (black) staffer … told me, there is absolutely nothing more frustrating, more damaging to your soul than when you know you’re following the rules and being treated like you are not.”

Too many white Americans continue to discount or dismiss such testimony, not wanting to accept the reality of it or its implications, afraid that if they accept it something will be asked of them. They’ve been stopped by police too, they’ll say. Back in their youth, they too had a lot of brushes with the law. But as Scott pointed out, this is something different. He, a U.S. senator, has been pulled over seven times in the last year alone, almost always for no discernible reason.

On one occasion in the past year, an officer pulled him over because he thought the car that Scott was driving must have been stolen.

“I started to ask myself — because I was smart enough not to ask him, asking myself — ‘is the license plate coming in as stolen? Does the license plate match the car?’ I was looking for some rational reason that may have prompted him to stop me on the side of the road.” There wasn’t one.

He talked of his brother, a command sergeant major, the highest enlisted rank in the Army, who was stopped by a police officer who thought he must have stolen the Volvo that he was driving. He talked about a former staffer who drove a nice new Chrysler 300, but who felt forced to sell the car because police officers were repeatedly, constantly pulling him over, believing the car must be stolen. 

“Imagine the frustration, the irritation, the sense of a loss of dignity that accompanies each of those stops,” Scott pleaded.

He also recalled his experiences as a U.S. senator, on Capitol Hill, dealing with the Capitol Hill police who have harassed him or refused to believe that he was who he is. The most recent incident occurred a year ago, after he had served in Congress for five full years.

“Later that evening I received a phone call from (the officer’s) supervisor, apologizing for the behavior,” Scott said. “That is at least the third phone call that I’ve received from a supervisor or the chief of police since I’ve been in the Senate.”

As President Obama did in his beautiful speech in Dallas, Scott stressed the importance of supporting law enforcement and of recognizing the many difficulties and dangers of their work. There is never, ever an acceptable reason for harming those who put their lives on the line for us, he said. However, there is also no acceptable reason for ignoring that we have a major problem to solve.

“This is a situation that happens all across the country, whether we want to recognize it or not. It may not happen a thousand times a day, but it happens too many times a day. And to see it as I have had the chance to see it helps me to understand why this issue has wounds that have not healed in a generation. It helps me to appreciate and understand and hopefully communicate why it’s time for this American family to have a serious conversation about where we are, where we’re going and how to get there. We must find a way to fill these cracks in the very foundation of our country.”

“I simply ask you this: Recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another does not mean it does not exist. To ignore their struggles, our struggles, does not make them disappear. It simply leaves you blind and the American family very vulnerable.  Some search so hard to explain away the injustice that they are slowly wiping away who we are as a nation. But we must come together to fulfill what we all know is possible here in America: Peace, love and understanding. Fairness.”

That’s the core of it right there. By this point, after all this, if you still insist on dismissing the evidence that something important is going on and needs to be addressed, then that growing pile of evidence becomes taller still when your own denial is added to it.

Here is Scott’s full speech:

Reader Comments 0

1627 comments
Omar K. Ali
Omar K. Ali

And the "Conservatives" quickly turned on him.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

He was already hated by the Liberals

rfandino1
rfandino1

I would also like to know what the response was from the other senators.

Cobbian
Cobbian

Stunning and important.  What was the response from other Senators?  Did anyone acknowledge this speech, have anything to say in follow-up?  Has Mitch McConnell said anything?

CommonSenseisntCommon
CommonSenseisntCommon

Sensible gun legislation will happen, it seems that the NRA which was for it before they were against it needs to lead that fight though.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

What does gun legislation have to do with police and any unjustified shootings ?

td1234
td1234

"Nervous Senate Democrats raised concerns with Hillary Clinton during a private meeting in the Capitol Thursday over a recent poll showing Donald Trump leading or tied in several battleground states.

“Some people were freaked out, they were looking down at the polls on Real Clear Politics and asking why it was so close,” said a Democratic senator who attended the meeting, referring to a website lawmakers were checking out on their personal devices."


Clinton’s response?

“She said there are other issues. People are unhappy and they don’t trust institutions,” the senator explained.

A second Democratic source in the meeting confirmed there was “a mention of the Florida poll.”

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week showed the presumptive GOP presidential nominee up 42 percent to 39 percent in swing-state Florida. Clinton had an 8-point lead in Quinnipiac’s poll of the state last month.

The same survey showed Trump ahead 2 points in Pennsylvania, another big swing state, and tied in Ohio. The three states have been pivotal in the last four presidential elections.


http://thehill.com/homenews/house/287845-democrats-freaked-out-about-polls-in-meeting-with-clinton

skydog12
skydog12

@td1234


Does Quinnipiac University have a football team? Do they show giving Tennessee points this year?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@skydog12 @td1234  Quinnipiac would KILL UT in their favorite sport.  They are a D1 power in hockey - they lost in  the NCAA Final this year. 

honested
honested

@td1234 

Cling tightly to the quinni and razmunchken polls.

Focus on the outliers.

That makes about as much sense as attachment to the polls that have President Clinton up by 11.

There just are not enough morons in the electorate to give donald chump the Presidency.

Deal with it.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

But there are enough morons to give the election to Clinton

skydog12
skydog12

I gave ya`ll some wrong information yesterday. I said they were remodeling the Northside Tavern.

Passing by this morning it not remodeling happening, they are shooting a movie at the place.


I can`t imagine. Get a camera and some lights up in there and there is no more room for anything else.


I`ll be mad if the Northside becomes the "go to" place and I can`t get in no mo.

Peachs
Peachs

@skydog12 drink my first beer there, maybe 16 ,old enough to drive over there. 

skydog12
skydog12

I just looked at Vegas odds.


We cool.


Anything is possible.


Troy State may beat Alabama, just not in our lifetime.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@skydog12

For what it's worth, I'm sure that Nate will have Trump at something like a 50% probability of winning at some point (perhaps after a post-GOP convention bounce), and the usual freakers will freak.

Obviously people need to keep focused and work to defeat DT. But they don't need to freak.


_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

VC:

"Last night I saw this, and wasn’t quite sure how to respond. It came from a pretty thoughtful center-right type here."

Your points in response are rational, whereas my rant probably wasn't.  I was POed that this crap keeps happening.  Maybe it is unpreventable, or maybe we just aren't doing enough.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@_GodlessHeathen_

Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep.

Maybe it is unpreventable, or maybe we just aren't doing enough.

You got me. I dunno.

Peachs
Peachs

@_GodlessHeathen_ and paying the "experts" billion for not doing enough.  


How much you think that truck driver made last night, being brighter that the experts?  

Peachs
Peachs

@Visual_Cortex @_GodlessHeathen_ our security mutates like our immune system mutates to get mutated germs.  Usually one time is enough for us to figure how what we don't know.  That is why ,maybe electing Trump, might cure some of the rights misconceptions of reality. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

ISIS is losing ground rapidly in Iraq and Syria.


Iraqi forces just took back the city of Fallujah ( Which got little press BTW ).


So they are going to use the best weapon they have. Terrorism.


They know this is their only chance. 





td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar ISIS (Radical Islamist) has now turned into an ideology and not a place or ground. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 @Hedley_Lammar Not really.


Their goal was to establish an Islamic State


Which is failing miserably. 


They have no currency and one export. Terrorism.


And they wont have that much longer.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234 @Hedley_Lammar

It's been an ideology for as long as there've been ideologies. There've always been violent thugs using the fear of God (or something like akin to our understanding of God) to advance their own agendas. And there always will be.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Just checking, but does anyone know what time Obama will speak today on banning panel trucks?

I mean we have all kinds of those.  Big ones, small ones, ones used by the military.  Those just can't be left for public use.

I tell you something has to be done about the trucks.

Peachs
Peachs

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb bet you never see a truck do this again, which tells me there is something we can do about trucks,same with airplanes and the Bush administration 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

I think his focus will be on assault trucks.

They're ugly.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Visual_Cortex @JohnnyReb it's more than humor.

It's a clear analogy of the ridiculous and hopeless thinking of the Left on guns and security.

It's not the truck, it's the driver.

It's not the gun, it's the user.

It's insane to think that controlling either will fix the  problem when the problem is a person, not the thing.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Peachs @Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb your champion is responsible for the rise of ISIS and much of the instability that has grown in the Middle East.

Instead of recognizing that, you fall back to blaming Bush.

Go to the corner for an hour.

Peachs
Peachs

@Hedley_Lammar @SFM_Scootter @JohnnyReb a police chief last night in the president's town meeting said someone has got to get the guts to stop these guns. We have no guts any more in this country.  

td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar Younger folks also want higher taxes until they actually start making money and have to pay taxes and then they become more conservative. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 @Hedley_Lammar This " they become conservative later " theory has been busted many times.


In fact beliefs people form early in life usually stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Peachs
Peachs

@SFM_Scootter @Peachs @Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb @Visual_Cortex the police in Dallas were saying they couldn't tell the shooter from the pedestrians because so many were carrying long range guns The open carry law in Texas probably got more killed, and why didn't some of those gunslingers protect the crowd? 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JohnnyReb

banning panel trucks?

Exhibit #647: Why conservative political humor is what closes Saturday night.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @Visual_Cortex  It's not the truck, it's the driver.

It's not the gun, it's the user


Wrong


A Truck has many functions. Would be stuipid to ban it


A gun has but one. To kill. WOuld make sense to ban that.


Simple logic.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Throw yours away of you like , I will

Keep mine

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Like getting free stuff from the Government until the money runs out