June 13, 2005

The GOP's poverty gambit

THE POVERTY pimps ripped us off again. We are not talking about those folks, real or trumped up, who are vilified by conservative politicians for running off with federal dollars for poverty programs. They are almost out of business. There are hardly any federal poverty dollars left to plunder.

Today's pimps are conservative politicians who run off at the mouth about poverty-stricken nominees of color. Janice Rogers Brown, the conservative and African-American California Supreme Court judge, was finally confirmed this week to the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. Her confirmation came after a host of Republican senators made her childhood part of her qualifications for the job.

Janice Rogers Brown was the daughter of a sharecropper, which her conservatives supporters pointed out over and over.

Supporters repeatedly noted that she is an African American who grew up in segregated Alabama and raised a child as she worked her way through law school. Her status as a sharecropper's daughter was cited so many times that Specter simply mentioned "sharecropper's" near the end of yesterday's debate, and everyone seemed to know what he meant.

The conservative politicians pimp Brown poverty, her life during the Jim Crow South and pulling herself up by her 'bootstraps' to become a judge as example of the
American Dream. As they deny the American Dream to people who live in poverty
right now.

All this comes from the party that has slashed the budget for literacy, housing, youth programs, and community development grants for the millions of other would-be Janice Rogers Browns. While praising Brown for pulling herself up by her bootstraps, the White House and the Republican majority in Congress won't raise the minimum wage and has even taken to trashing Head Start. Janice Rogers Brown, born in 1949, should be thankful that she is old enough to have had a boot with a strap. Most of today's black girls are expected to excel in public schools funded on shoestrings.

The judge is just the latest black or brown face to betray the ''color-blind" game of the Republicans. They eviscerate affirmative action and job training programs for
the masses of African-Americans and Latinos under the guise of ''merit," then they turn around and stereotype black and brown nominees as being up-from-poverty to obscure their conservative views.
Judge Clarence Thomas and Alberto Gonzales are two more examples of the color-blind game conservatives play.

They did it so well with Clarence Thomas that the lead in The New York Times on
Oct. 16, 1991, was, ''Judge Clarence Thomas, who was born to unlettered parents
living in abject poverty in rural Georgia, won confirmation as an associate
justice of the Supreme Court tonight by one of the narrowest margins in history
. . ." They did it so well with Latino Alberto Gonzales that his rocky road as
the son of migrant workers was at or near the top of the stories on his confirmation as attorney general, alongside the controversy over his legal role in prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.
The Janice Rogers Brown conservatives pimps supporters are hypocrites , liars and shameless in their praise of Brown. They praise her story as example of the American Dream, which fit their conservatives views. If Janice Roger Brown was a liberal her story would not be essential qualifications for the job.


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