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A Whole Lot of Hot Air
by La Shawn Barber
25 September 2003

Was Hurricane Isabel too lily white for Representative Sheila Jackson Lee?

A whole lot of air blew through D.C. last week, not unlike the hot air that usually blows through.

On Saturday, September 20, two days after Hurricane Isabel swept through the Washington region, leaving hundreds of thousands with no electricity, undrinkable water and many with no homes at all, I watched Mayor Anthony Williams being interrogated at a news conference by a group of mostly black residents in Northeast Washington. They wanted to know why they still had no power. Then I remembered Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s recent comment that hurricane names were too “lily white.” She recommended that the organization tasked to name hurricanes be more “inclusive” of black names.

You heard me right. This “staunch defender of the Constitution,” “Hailed…by the Congressional Quarterly as one of the 50 most effective members in Congress,” (all according to her web site), apparently has the kind of time on her hands to search for racism in the naming of hurricanes. “All racial groups should be represented,” she said, according to The Hill. Memo to Sheila: Hurricanes are unwelcome, deadly things.

On its face, the sheer buffoonery of it all seems harmless. But look deeper and you’ll find the sad absence of rational thought and the contemptible presence of triviality. While the high school graduation rate for black students hovers at 51%, and the illegitimacy rate in the black community holds steady at 70%, and nearly 6 out of 10 felony-murders are committed by blacks, Jackson Lee has found the silver bullet, if you will: She thinks it’s a good idea to name destructive, devastatingly deadly storms after little “Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.”

Idle hands truly are the devil’s workshop.

The congresswoman and her ilk in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) expect to be taken seriously while blowing hot air. Jackson Lee’s own colleagues may be laughing behind her back, but the consequences of such inane drivel for the next generation of young blacks are not funny. Impressionable youth are witnessing a sad throng of aging, obsolete civil rights professionals pander to the lowest elements of human nature and play into the very racist stereotypes they denounce. Heartbreaking.

What could she have been thinking? That black children watching “Hurricane Denzel” wreak havoc in their neighborhoods would gain higher self-esteem? That seeing a family member lost in a flood brought on by “Tropical Storm Tanisha” would fill them with racial pride? Once again, a black “leader” has embarrassed me in front of my friends.

Jackson Lee could not only raise the self-esteem of young blacks; she could actually engender strong moral values and good character in those lacking such qualities. But she’d have to make a few changes first.

This “Seventh-Day Adventist” voted against banning the murder of the unborn, calling partial birth abortion a “sensationalized phrase, specifically designed to inflame individuals,” and that the “hysteria” over banning a procedure in which a baby is partially delivered then murdered is “unnecessary.” A good start to building self-esteem in young people would be to teach them respect for unborn life.

This self-styled “Queen” and her comrades voted NO on school choice for children in D.C. Allowing parents to choose schools with high expectations and standards for kids would provide an excellent opportunity for building self-esteem. But while passionately “pro-choice” in all matters infanticidal, Jackson Lee is vehemently anti-choice in all matters educational. Slavishly devoted to radical feminists and beholden to corrupt teachers’ unions, she and other black liberals remain dupes for white Democratic elites.

As I watched Mayor Williams being grilled that Saturday afternoon, my imagination ran wild (as it often does when I watch too much TV). I pictured him explaining to the righteously indignant citizens that “crews were doing their best to clean up debris scattered by Hurricane La Shawn, one of the most damaging storms in the history of the United States…” In my mind I could see the CBC standing en masse before television cameras -- as they do with predictable regularity -- castigating the “racist” World Meteorological Organization for giving the worst storm in the history of the country a “black” name.

Memo to Sheila: Honey, I’ve always dreamed of seeing my name in lights, but not like this.

A freelance writer and former liberal, La Shawn's work has appeared in the Washington Post, Washington Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer, among others.

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