Okay, normally the goings on in the Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District are of little concern to me. I live in the New York 22nd Congressional District. Unfortunately, I do know who the congressman for the PA 12th is as Jack Murtha is in the news a lot. He has been in Washington for a while, having been sworn in for his first term in 1974 by Tip O’Neill. He is currently Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
All that having been said, Murtha is in, what I predict, is the fight of his life to keep his seat. He will need every vote he can get. Now, is it a rational act – I think the word erratic is overused – of someone who will need all the votes possible to make a statement that implies his constituents are racist. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Murtha as saying:
“There’s no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area,” said Mr. Murtha, whose district stretches from Johnstown to Washington County. “The older population is more hesitant.”
You can read the entire article – “Murtha expects Obama to win PA” – here.
Today, Congressman Murtha was backpeddling as fast as he could. He was apologizing to his constituency. Of course, Murtha had no choice but to apologize. His opponent in the race for the 12th district seat, Lt. Col. Bill Russell (ret.), insisted that Murtha apologized.
If you live in the PA – 12th, let me know how you feel.
3 thoughts on “Congressman Jack Murtha (D-PA) Disses Constituents”
This was a very unfortunate comment and badly timed in view of the state of politics and race in america. I am afican american, and was stationed with my wife and famiy in western Pensylvania for 3 years.I was the first Army Systems Advisor for the US Army Rediness Group for this area. I can remember my first day looking for temporary lodging as a soldier and very lost. A very elderly citizen invited me into her home, offered a piece of the famous shoefly pie and some coffee and proceeded to connect me with her friends who could help me. I found a place and came away with the feeling that I would like western Pennslyvania and I did. I was responsible for training a Army software system and many of those very same soldiers were killed in Desert Shield. Its seems like yesterday that I cried as each name time rolled accross the CNN screen. I remembered them, their families, their love, their hospitality their treatment of me and my family they became my family. It was truly one of the best military experiences in my 21 year career. It was truly what America is about hard work, patriots, family values and love of community and country. I pray this goes away quickly.
You know, I do think he should have apologized, but unfortunately there seems to be a grain of truth to what he says. See an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Sunday, October 5th. The article is entitled, “Obama not much trusted in border county”. The article interviews people from Dott, PA, a rural town in SW PA. On page A-9 a 68 year old man is quoted as saying the following, “Obama’s got two strikes on him before he gets to the plate: 1. He’s black, 2. He’s a Muslim” This same person continues as follows, “The country was based on white people, not blacks. Blacks belong underneath, not on top”
I don’t even know what to say about that other than I am new to the SW PA area, and this just puts me at a loss for words and makes me so sad.
We all automatically cringe at Murtha’s words because they are harsh (”WOW. I can’t believe he said that on national TV”), but lets face it, its true. As a person living in western PA, I hear constant racial slurs and derrogatory terms against blacks and other races, both at my job and on the street; I am biracial but most people can’t tell my heritage. They share their racism thinking they are in safe company. Why the shock? Its because we’ve been conditioned and trained well not to say the wrong things in front of the wrong people–there are so many who have embraced diversity, but just as many deny on the surface while embracing racist thoughts and can’t believe that someone would say so publicly when its not “politically correct”. (The white robes of anononymity were so much safer.) Racism and discrimination plays a big role today not only in W PA but beyond, and anyone who says it doesn’t either lives in a sterile bubble with little to no exposure, refuses to see reality, or lies to save face for the sake of avoiding national exposure by association. Not all western Pennsylvanians are racist, but there are plenty that are that will be voting just for the sake of keeping a black man from being elected president–they just don’t tell you in mixed company.