Sunday, December 5, 2010

Charles Rangel: a true hero censured by America's elected petit-bourgeois

I had to stop listening to the news this past week. The hypocritical idiots of the House who called out Rangel's misdeeds and censured him depressed me. Charles Rangel, Representative from the Fifteenth District in Harlem, is not guilty of lining his pockets with graft or lying to his constituency. What did he do? He messed up on his taxes.

It's not that Rangel deserves a medal for not fully reporting his assets, okay. But that is the very least of who he is.

How many bankers and brokers from Lehman, AIG, Goldman Sachs have have received this kind of national attention for bringing the nation to a standstill? Three? Rangel messed up on his taxes.

He earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he led a group of soldiers out of a deadly Chinese Army encirclement during the Battle of Kunu-ri in 1950. [Wikipedia] I'm impressed.

Representative Rangel graduated from New York University in 1957, and St. John's University School of Law in 1960. I'm impressed.

He beat out incumbent Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in a primary challenge when elected to the House of Representatives. I'm very impressed. Also?

He helped oust Nixon; has been a power in the fight against illegal drugs, which is, in truth, a fight against a big business. He fought for Harlem's greater empowerment. He spoke out against the war. I'm always impressed by people of conscience.

From a Daily News article:

The House cited him for failing to pay taxes on a vacation villa, filing misleading disclosure forms and improperly soliciting funds for a college from companies with business in front of his committee.

"I didn't go to bed with any kids. I didn't curse out the speaker. I didn't start a revolution against the United States of America," said Rangel. "I did not self deal. I did not take any money."

As Rangel walked into Harlem Hospital's Herbert Cave Auditorium, a woman hugged him, saying: "It's over now. It's over."
His struggle is, I suppose, over. And the duplicitous, questionably ethical censurers, the petty bureaucrats, America's elected petit-bourgeois can congratulate themselves and each other on condemning a genuine hero who must have dealt with a fair amount racism, then and now, ahem, and in spite of it, allowed his intellect and gifts of management and political savvy to serve him and his constituency.

He also has that classy, old-school gentleman look to him. Gotta love it.

I keep meeting person after person, white people, black people, Asian people...get the picture?...and not of them censures Representative Rangel. Not one of them has lost respect for him, though we may grieve the fact that he--did I mention?--messed up on his taxes.

The moral here is to either become a member of the petty bourgeois and live a safe and mediocre life which you believe entitles you to censure someone who has given much of his life to the country, the city, his district. Or speak out. Be brave. Be ultimately honest of heart. Act like Charles Rangel. I'm going to try it.

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