By ZAC PALMER, Staff Writer
Race is a pivotal issue in our country. It has been a concern since the dawn of our nation and continues to incite problems today. In fact, our country is embroiled in a heated discussion directly related to race right now, as a result of police shootings and grand jury decisions. That is what makes the news about Steve Scalise all the more volatile at this point in time.
Steve Scalise (House Representative and current Republican whip from Louisiana) was just discovered to have given a speech to a white supremacy group in 2002. He admitted to it and apologized for his actions after the story broke out, saying that he does not agree with the views of the people of whom he was speaking to. The group that he spoke to is called the European-American Unity Rights Organization (EURO). The group advocates white supremacy and wants everybody dissimilar to its members to leave the country.
The EURO group was founded and led by David Duke, who in the 90’s led the Ku Klux Klan as their Grand Wizard. Scalise was addressing this in an interview a short time ago and said that at that point in his career, he was willing to speak to anyone that would listen to him. This was a grave mistake because speaking to these racists is in a way, condoning their actions. Getting people’s votes is important when you’re in a close race for a Congressional seat, but the morals for a public figure have certainly been violated by this action.
The Republican response has not necessarily been what one might expect from an incident like this. John Boehner has come out in support of Scalise after the wave of criticism hit him, “I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans,” Boehner said in a Tuesday statement.
That’s not the response that I expected from Boehner, but it looks like good news for Scalise, because he will most likely get to keep his job as the Majority Whip.
In recent years, Republicans have been attempting to reach out to minority voters more, as they are losing badly in the polls when compared to Democrats. They have been somewhat successful in their plight, but I’m afraid this may be a step in the wrong direction. Anything but outright contempt for what this man did many years ago might just cause them to lose votes when Election Day rolls around.
I might be able to understand this response if the race discussion wasn’t as heated as it currently is in this country, but right now it’s fueling the fire. Scalise should have been more diligent with his research and paid attention to his own campaign, but he failed at his duty. What was discussed at the meeting is not necessarily the issue to be worried about. Rather, we should be thinking about whether or not we want a man in power who doesn’t make sure that he’s not giving a speech to a room full of people labeled as a hate group by the state of Louisiana.