It didn't take long after Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) was indicted on 16 counts of bribery and related charges for the Congressional Black Caucus to rally to his defense.
The collective outcry from that group is that one is presumed innocent until found guilty, and we as a group have to stand by our troubled colleague.
Of course the fact that their troubled colleague was hoarding $90,000 in his refrigerator seemed to not cause grave concern among other Black Caucus members.
I'm sorry to say this, but once again, we are seeing reflexive action based on a feeling of solidarity fueled by victimhood.
By backing -- rather than shunning -- Rep. Jefferson, a message is being sent by other Black Caucus members that underscores a commonality of working up from humble roots to succeed in this racist society trumps any attested or even convicted bad behavior on the part of one who has stumbled.
I've seen this pattern before -- in the reflexive urge on the part of some to defend other African-American politicians accused of graft. This pattern even goes beyond politics: the widespread and survey-tested belief in some quarters that O.J. was being railroaded by a racist court system.
Or what about overlooking of gangsta behavior and attitude among culturally influential hip-hoppers- whose actions are far more lastingly harmful to the urban commonweal than sick language by Don Imus or Michael Richards?
Yet in the pantheon of this reflexive defense of the accused, the issue of Rep. Jefferson's affluent refrigerator pisses me off the most.
Keep in mind that Rep. Jefferson represents New Orleans -- a jurisdiction that since that evil wind blew through, ain't the same.
I have to wonder what that 90K allegedly in Rep. Jefferson's fridge would have bought at least a few of his now homeless, jobless, or unwillingly relocated constituents? What type of message does that send to black AND white constituents that not only doesn't your government care, but while you are hurting your Congressman seems to have other, infinitely more self-directed priorities?
Rep. Jefferson, if these charges are true, than you are the racist. A racist against your own constituency.
Oh, but that is so inappropriate to accuse him of. If Rep. Jefferson in fact had an affluent refrigerator filled with bribe money, it must have been because coming up through a racist South ticked off the establishment so much that they stuffed his fridge and offered other inducements.
While you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, I would think a more authentic position on the part of the Congressional Black Caucus would have been to shun Rep. Jefferson up until he was cleared. After all, he came up in struggling times.
But wait a minute. What was funding source for these other illegal inducements Rep. Jefferson is accused of hoarding?
Nigeria? Nah, couldn't have been. Just goes to show you, racists and frustrated colonialists will take any chance to smear the government of a free African nation.
Must have been a Klansman who did it.