30 January 2013

Two few black senators

No, that's neither a misspelling nor a grammatical error.

Today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced his pick for interim senator to replace John Kerry, who is moving up to the role of Secretary of State upon Hillary Clinton's (hopefully temporary) retirement.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, the new interim senator will not be Barney Frank, who had publicly volunteered for the position. Instead, Patrick appointed Mo Cowen, his former chief of staff. Cowen will serve in an interim capacity until a special election scheduled for June.

I am not yet familiar with Cowen's history or politics at this point, so I will not now comment along those lines. But I want to note that this appointment means that We The People, for the first time in this nation, will have 2 African-American senators serving on Capitol Hill at the same time. And that's kind of cool. Very cool.

But it's still unfair, and not truly representative, because African Americans currently make up some 13.1 percent of the U.S. population. For African-Americans to be truly represented on Capitol Hill, we would need 13.1 black senators, not 2. I would be happy with 8 or 9.

I don't have the political answer to this problem. I can just expose it and hope that doing so will help the cause of fairness in the long run.

Also for the long run, I want to point out that I don't indiscriminately advocate for African-American candidates. One must cast one's vote based on the issues, not on the color of a candidate's skin. (See Herman Cain.)

But I do try to advocate for fairness in any reasonable context.

No comments:

Post a Comment