By Rosetta Miller-Perry
There’s a myth being perpetuated by the right-wing press and their token Black allies. They claim Senator Tim Scott exhibited “great courage” and represented “independent thought” in his rebuttal speech last week to President Joe Biden. Nothing could be further from the truth, but there have always been collaborators among Blacks who are willing to substitute profit for integrity, and parrot the party line of the oppressors for personal gain.
As the only Black Republican Senator in Congress, Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) got himself elected by proudly calling himself a “conservative,” but insisting he was one fully cognizant of the struggles of Blacks nationwide, and someone who wanted to do something about it. He’s maintained that rhetoric, even though his legislative record hardly supports it.
During his Wednesday speech he once again sang the familiar tune others such as Clarence Thomas trot out whenever anyone attacks or criticizes their stances, that they too have suffered discrimination, grew up in poverty, etc, etc. “I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason, to be followed around a store while I’m shopping,” he said. But in the next breath Scott added the US “is not a racist country.” He added race “is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants”.
Here’s the track record of Mr. “Independent Thinker” Tim Scott during his time in office. He supported every single one of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, and tried to deflect blame from Trump for the January 6 Capitol riot, saying “he’s the one person I don’t blame.” He also backed Trump’s repeated attempts to eliminate the health care reforms initiated by President Obama. No wonder Trump has already back Scott’s re-election bid for next year, and has praised Scott as “an outstanding senator and a person who works tirelessly for the people of his great state and the USA.”
Scott is the GOP lead negotiator on police reform, and Senator Cory Booker has said he thinks they can work together to craft some meaningful reform. We seriously doubt it. but perhaps some good can come from him yet. However no one should ever claim Tim Scott is anything but another token tool, a Trump apologist, and someone who will always put his personal success ahead of any gains that he might (and we say MIGHT) attain for either the people of South Carolina or Blacks in general.
What makes the notion Scott represents some sort of bold, free-thinking type look even dumber is the fact there actually WAS an example of that provided on that same night. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) was everything Scott’s media flunkies falsely contend he represents. Bowman directly criticized the person he supported during his campaign for not going far enough, and not doing enough to correct the horrendous situations facing this nation in large measure due to the incompetence displayed by Scott’s backer Donald Trump during his time in office.
While Bowman praised steps taken by the White House and Democrats in Biden’s first 100 days in office to provide COVID-19 relief and propose trillions in infrastructure investments, he said the infrastructure proposals, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plans, weren’t sufficient to address the massive problems that the nation faces on the climate, care economy and employment.
Bowman urged Democrats and progressives to push forward on pressing issues facing the nation and he clearly identified the current Republican Party, which certainly includes Scott, for what they truly are, a do-nothing bunch. “Republicans have made themselves clear…. they’re standing in the way of Congress trying to deliver relief to working people,” Bowman said, speaking on behalf of the Working Families Party. “It’s on us, as Democrats and progressives, to meet the gravity of the moment. And history will judge our actions.”
He didn’t use spineless language in talking about police misconduct, nor make it seem as though it’s just a minor issue.
“Now is the time to address the burning crisis of structural racism in our country,” he said. “I am connected to every Black man in America. I have one message for law enforcement: stop killing us! I need for President Biden to say the same thing. Black people are not for target practice. We are simply trying to survive in a world stacked against us. The nation will never be truly free if we continue to incarcerate more people than anywhere else in the world,” Bowman continued, “and as long as we invest more in jails, war and police than we do in jobs, school and children.”
Now THAT is truly independent and courageous thinking. Tim Scott is simply one more token who’ll pretend when it’s convenient to express empathy and concern, but otherwise will align with the forces of reaction and racism. He cozies up to Trump because the Trump faction runs the GOP.
That’s not courage, it’s cowardice, and Tim Scott displays far more of that than any other quality. Incidentally, we didn’t call Tim Scott an Uncle Tom. That’s because Josiah Henson, the man Harriet Beecher Stowe used as the basis for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was horribly abused by slaveowners as a child, then later escaped with his family and eventually helped create a Black settlement in Canada. At no time in Tim Scott’s tenure in Congress has he ever demonstrated even an ounce of the courage of Josiah Henson.