U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, left, speaks to the media during a news conference as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley looks on at the South Carolina Statehouse on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley picked U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to be the state’s next U.S. senator Monday, making him the only black Republican in Congress and the South’s first black Republican senator since Reconstruction. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has a powerful voice.
He does not shy away from addressing controversial issues within his own party when needed. As the only black Republican in the Senate, his words and perspective hold some much-needed weight.
Toward the end of last year, Scott announced that he would not support Thomas Farr, one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, because of questions surrounding Farr’s attitudes regarding race. Last July, Scott, along with fellow Republican colleague, Marco Rubio, refused to support judicial nominee Ryan Bounds for similar reasons.
The Republican Party would do well to listen to Senator Scott when he speaks, especially on the sensitive issue of race. After his refusal to vote “yes” on Farr, many in the GOP slammed his decision. But their reactions only show just how much work needs to be done in a party that too often overlooks questionable, and downright racist, behavior.
On Friday, Scott published an op-ed in The Washington Post clearly denouncing this brand of silence. Specifically, he referenced Representative Steve King’s racist statements concerning white supremacy and white nationalism from an interview that had been published the previous day.
…we are often still struggling when it comes to civility and fairness. This was driven home once again Thursday as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wondered aloud: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term “Western civilization” on its own, but anyone who needs “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge.
When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side.
Then he let the Republicans have it, emphasis mine.
Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.
Amen, good sir.
When individuals on the Right spew forth racism, and other Republicans do the equivalent of place their fingers in their ears and sing, “La la la”, that is not only damaging, it’s evil. As conservatives, we preach that every life in the womb is precious. We claim that we have the best policies for the black community. We promote the worth of all and remind Americans that hard work will help them succeed and push through any hardships they are facing.
So why do so many dismiss the words of King and other reprehensible individuals of like-mind? Because it’s uncomfortable to address?
Thankfully, Senator Scott is worried about what’s right, not about making the GOP faithful cozy in their complacence.
He continues, emphasis mine.
King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible. Conservative principles mean equal opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of what you look like or where you are from. It is maddening to see so many folks who believe this and have only good intentions in their hearts tarnished by these radical perspectives.
And this is perhaps my favorite section of his piece. It’s filled to the brim with searing truth.
That is why silence is no longer acceptable. It is tempting to write King — or other extremists on race issues, such as black-nationalist Louis Farrakhan — as lonely voices in the wilderness, but they are far more dangerous than that. They continue to rip at the fabric of our nation, a country built on hope, strength and diversity. It is the opposite of civility and fairness and will lead only to more pain and suffering.
We live in a diverse nation. A land of immigrants. The ideas behind white supremacy and white nationalism do not belong in our country. They are anti-conservative. They are putrid. They are absolutely evil. Republicans should be the first ones to stand up, place a bright spotlight on those who engage in this dialogue, and tell them they’ll find no comfort within the confines of the party.
But too often, the GOP remains silent.
I’m very thankful for Senator Scott’s example and his tireless commitment to expunging the racist elements that continue to reside within the Republican Party. But he should not be the only one. He should be joined by brothers and sisters of all races and backgrounds in demanding change.
Will you join him?