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Posted by on Jul 9, 2009 in Politics, Society | 9 comments

Steve King Is Pathetic

There’s always one like him in every crowd, you know? Now he’s saying that the reason he voted against yesterday’s House resolution to put a plaque in the House Visitors Center recognizing and honoring the slaves who helped build the U.S. Capitol is because it’s not “a balanced depiction of history” (emphasis in original):

KING: I would just add that there were about 645,000 slaves that were brought to the United States. And I’m with Martin Luther King, Jr. on this. His documents, his speeches – I’ve read most of them. And I agree with almost every word that came out of him. Slavery was abhorrent, but it was also a fact of life in those centuries where it existed.

And of the 645,000 Africans that were brought here to be forcibly put into slavery in the United States, there were over 600,000 people that gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery. And I don’t see the monument to that in the Congressional Visitor Center, and I think it’s important that we have a balanced depiction of history.

Jeeezus, man! Monuments to the Civil War, books about the Civil War, reenactments of the Civil War, are everywhere! But ONE single, solitary public acknowledgment that slaves helped to build ONE important building in Washington, D.C., sends the man over the edge! Or, as Faiz Shakir so eloquently and devastatingly writes:

The Capitol Visitor Center is simply trying to recognize the work of those who built the Capitol. But King is apparently concerned that slaves are being unduly recognized while Union soldiers who fought for their emancipation are not getting any credit. He simply needs to open his eyes and look around Washington, DC. If he steps right outside the Capitol, he’ll see the Ulysses S. Grant memorial, a monument that commemorates the former general of the Union Army.  …

Grant’s statue is flanked on either side by monuments of fighting Union Artillery and Cavalry groups. The Grant statue faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial, which of course honors the President who led the effort to free the slaves. In addition, at the Congressional Cemetery lies the Arsenal Monument, a memorial in honor of women who died while performing services for the Union Army. And there’s also an African American Civil War Memorial that honors the contributions that African-American troops made to the war effort.

If Steve King wants to learn more about how DC has honored the contributions of Union soldiers, he can order this book, titled: “Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments In Washington, D.C.” And if King’s truly interested in a “balanced depiction of history,” he’d be supporting a simple acknowledgment of slave labor’s role in building the Capitol, a memorial that doesn’t currently exist in DC.

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