01.14.17

Rep. Barbara Lee: A Vote For Jeff Sessions Is A Vote Against Freedom And Equality

Donald J. Trump ran one of the most divisive and bigoted campaigns in modern history. In the days following his election, many hoped that the president-elect would turn toward unity. Instead, he has shown that he will govern just as he campaigned: by normalizing racism, discrimination and intolerance.

There is no greater example of this disturbing reality than Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as our nation’s Attorney General.

Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Year after year, Senator Sessions has shown us who he is.

THIS WEEK I sat through hours of Senator Sessions’ confirmation hearing, as he sought to run away and obscure his history of racism, xenophobia and sexism.

But his actions speak for themselves. Senator Sessions once wrongfully prosecuted a group of civil rights activists in Alabama including Albert Turner, a close aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, who led marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

In the 1980s, the Senate Judiciary Committee denied his nomination to serve as a federal judge over concerns about his discriminatory treatment of minorities and use of racial slurs. For that confirmation hearing, Coretta Scott King submitted a letter noting that Sessions’ had “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

Decades later, Senator Sessions hasn’t evolved, or grown past his racist, bigoted ways. He has given no indication that he is not the same man who was unworthy of confirmation in the 1980s. Instead, Senator Sessions has spent his career distributing discrimination equally across the marginalized communities in America.

Sessions has opposed marriage equality and basic workplace protections for LGBT communities, voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and even criticized the Pope for showing empathy to immigrant communities. And when the Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act, Sessions said it was “good news...for the South”.

Our nation has made tremendous progress in the fight to protect, preserve and expand civil rights for all Americans. We cannot afford to Donald Trump and his cronies roll back the progress we have made.

People of conscience across the country must voice their opposition to hatred, bigotry and racism. In Congress, I will continue to sound the alarm and denounce the divisive, xenophobic and dangerous policies of the president-elect, his cabinet nominees and Congressional Republicans.

On Wednesday, Congressman John Lewis, a historic champion for civil rights and equality, testified along with Senator Booker and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions. I was proud to join my colleagues as they raised their voices in the fight for justice. 

To read this op-ed as it originally appeared, click here.


Source: Huffington Post