(Invite people over for a meal and enjoy the company. Just know it’s going to take more protests, getting out the progressive vote, government policy changes and even wide .sweeping legislation to address the festering sore of racism in this country.—Kurt Hochenauer)
It appears U.S. Sen. James Lankford thinks he has this racism thing figured out and knows how to end it.
NewsOK.com published a story Sunday that highlights Lankford’s proposal to establish something he calls “Solution Sundays,” which essentially means inviting a member of a different ethnicity to your home for a meal on a voluntary basis.
Here’s how Lankford, a conservative Republican, put it in his own words in a recent speech:
If you’re going to be part of the solution in America, maybe on a Sunday for lunch or for dinner to invite another family over of another race just to sit and have conversation. Everybody put their feet under the same table and to develop a friendship and a relationship. Every person can do that. Every person can be a part of the solution. Every person in our country can start to move that conversation a little farther. It’s part of who we are. We don’t solve things based on a vote in America. We solve things around our dinner table.
First, let me say this as an aside to my main point about the above paragraph: We absolutely DO “solve things based on a vote in America.” It’s called democracy, but that’s a minor quibble about Lankford’s simplistic rhetoric. Yet it’s probably important to note that Lankford IS up for reelection this year so I guess you shouldn’t don’t feel compelled to vote for him since it won’t solve anything, anyway.
Now, okay, there’s nothing wrong with Lankford’s idea in some fuzzy, imperfect yet cozy way, and, by all means, invite someone or a family of another ethnicity over for a meal, but it seems like a typically easy solution to a complicated and historical problem in that conservative manner as in Nancy Reagan’s infamous “just say no” to drugs campaign way back when. It also doesn’t address the fact that the presumptive presidential nominee of Lankford’s own party, Donald Trump, has been accused of racism for some of his proposals, such as building The Giant Wall to stop illegal immigration from Mexico or stopping Muslims from coming to the United States.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) July 15, 2016
What “might” (it’s in quotes because this is qualified) help really alleviate racism in this country is changing the overall police culture from an authoritarian foundation to one that is respectful to basic human rights and eliminating systemic biases within public and private institutions. We need new incarceration policies and laws as well that don’t discriminate. It wouldn’t hurt, either, to teach an accurate depiction of slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation and the war on drugs, starting in elementary school. But, again, it is conservative dogma that promotes American exceptionalism, and it probably doesn’t fit into Lankford’s simplistic world view in which Sunday after church meals lead to blissful rewards. Of course, it has to be on Sunday to fit Lankford’s right-wing religious views. Is it okay, to do it on Saturdays, Senator Lankford? Dang. Some people work for a paltry minimum wage on Sundays.
Lankford’s news release on this issue contained this sentence: “Racial reconciliation has been a priority for Senator Lankford.” This may well be the case, and I won’t dispute that he thinks so, but I’m unsure a senator from Oklahoma is the person to lead the way on this issue. His Oklahoma colleague, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, has been known to engage in gay bashing on the Senate floor, and the state, itself, has seen its image tarnished for years by Republican legislators who want to codify their bigotry into law.
I would be more likely to accept Lankford’s statement about his concern for “racial reconciliation” if he would do more to disavow Trump and the support he receives from white supremacists. I would also be more likely to believe Lankford if he would address policing policies in this country and how the so-called war on dugs is heavily weighted against people from minority groups. Lankford, to my knowledge, didn’t even participate in the recent Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City that drew thousands of people of different ethnicities. I didn’t see him there.
He did, however, reportedly meet with Oklahoma City police leaders, of course, and people in the local African American community the day after the rally, and then issued another bland Lankfordian statement. Here’s a part of it: “Most of the issues we deal with are not something that government fixes. It’s something communities actually fix.” See, folks, it’s the same tired conservative dogma. It goes like this, Government can never do anything right. Somehow that’s going to help this country solve its bigotry problem.
Lankford wants to advance his conservative government-is-the-problem doctrine and his right-wing religious views—“Solution Sundays”—under the guise of racial reconciliation. He may be well intended, but I’m unsure he’s the right person for this task.
Invite people over for a meal and enjoy the company. Just know it’s going to take more protests, getting out the progressive vote, government policy changes and even wide sweeping legislation to address the festering sore of racism in this country.
Leave the American exceptionalism to Lankford:
Before you head out for the weekend, let’s remember who we were all born to be as proud Americans pic.twitter.com/6SNQi6kvt0
— James Lankford (@jameslankford) July 1, 2016