“I always try to find something good that comes out of conflicts like this, and perhaps people realize that this is not a Ferguson problem at all; it’s a problem around the country. And as long as people feel awkward and embarrassed in talking about the racism that exists, we can never, never, never attack it…The indifference of the patrol officer’s an indication that good people ought to say that you should be sorry when you take anybody’s life. It’s not just the question of what you thought of whether you were afraid…. his total indifference just polarized that community, and I only wish that — that they had not vented themselves in a violent way and taken advantage of people coming together, white and black, and saying that you should at least be able to say you made a hell of a big mistake at least.”
—–Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), wandering confused in the ethics wilderness while discussing the Ferguson mess on MSNBC.
I supposed we should expect Rep. Rangel to be completely muddled when it comes to ethics, given his own history. Still, seldom have I seen such a dog’s breakfast of responsible sentiments and ethics ignorance in the same set of comments:
- Congratulations are due to Rangel for admitting that this Ethics Train Wreck unfairly settled in Ferguson, which is being made to suffer disproportionately for the conduct of many communities and elected officials across the country, as well as the political opportunism of civil rights activists.
- However, public officials have an obligation to be clear. What “racism that exists,” exactly? Anywhere in the U.S.? Absolutely: let’s talk about it. In the shooting of Brown? No racism is in evidence at all: if that’s what Rangel is referring to, and many will assume its is, the statement is irresponsible. Was he talking about the grand jury decision, which was the context of the interview? Prove it, Charlie. Otherwise, stop planting distrust with a population that is paranoid already.
- Michael Brown’s actions, from Wilson’s point of view, forced him into a situation that has resulted in his career being ruined and life being permanently marred….and Rangel thinks Wilson should apologize? This is completely backward. Wilson owes no apologies to Brown, and certainly none to Brown’s parents, who have been carrying on a vendetta against him, calling him a murderer while expressing no acknowledgment that the son they raised had any responsibility for the confrontation that took his life. If anyone owes anybody an apology, it the parents who owe Wilson. Rangel thinks Wilson should apologize for trying to do his job, for not letting Brown take his gun, for not letting him resist arrest, for not letting himself be attacked, and that is ridiculous.
- Perhaps Rangel is saying that Wilson should issue an insincere apology, like the one Rangel gave to the House of Representatives after he had been found to have violated multiple ethics rules. Thus does politics rot the mind and soul. See, Charlie, just because politicians apologize when they don’t mean it just to quiet criticism doesn’t mean it’s honest or right.
- Rangel is a veteran of combat in Korea. He can’t possibly believe that “you should be sorry when you take anybody’s life,” not if one is acting legally and justifiably, like soldiers in battle or a police officer being attacked by someone resisting arrest. Did you say you were sorry to the families of the North Koreans you killed in the war, Charlie?
I didn’t think so.
- “You should at least be able to say you made a hell of a big mistake at least”—thus admitting to manslaughter or civil negligence. Good advice, Charlie. If Wilson followed policy, as he says he did, then he did not make a mistake. Rangel apparently doesn’t understand the perils of consequentialism and moral luck. The fact that Mike Brown ended up dead means that he made a mistake, but not necessarily that Wilson made one. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, has asked, “How could your conscience be clear after killing someone, even if it was an accidental death?” Is she really this confused? Brown’s death was certainly not accidental, whatever it was. She should ask Rangel about those North Koreans. Is his conscience clear about having to kill them? I presume the answer is yes, and for similar reasons, Wilson’s conscience should be clear as well.
Source: PJ tatler
4 thoughts on “Incomprehensible Ethics Quote Of The Month: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)”
Indeed, politics CAN rot the mind and soul. Few are a better example of it than Rangel. As you point out, he’s a combat veteran. Did he come back from Korea a hopeless mental case? I very much doubt it. Despite a lot of recent talk about veterans’ after-service difficulties, we’re a resilient breed by nature and through hard experience. Charlie Rangel’s trouble is that he went back to a corrupt neighborhood run by corrupt politicians and allowed himself to be devoured by it. It cost him the manhood he had won so dearly as an American soldier for freedom. And it cost him his soul in the process. That’s the most terrible loss of all.
I do think Charlie is showing some signs of mental wear and tear, to be fair to him. He is well past his pull date, and should have retired several terms ago.
I second that, the man is barely coherent, but he is in his 80s. Unfortunately, black icons never reach a pull date as far as “the community” is concerned. Hell, some, like Sharpe James, even go to prison and still get cheered upon release. The sad fact is that with every passing day, as with the Greatest Generation, we lose more and more veterans of the civil rights movement, and the generations that came next frankly don’t have much to show for it. It’s in everyone’s interest to prop up the few remaining icons of that time as long as they can be propped up, flawed or not.
I think that, in part, they have little to show for it because the generations that came next don’t want what we worked, sweated and in some cases, died to give them. Being equal means being equal in all respects…taking care of your family, maintaining a job, paying taxes, staying out of jail…well, the list goes on for a while. There are, obviously, a fair number of people who do not want that and have found alternatives to it. Unfortunately, they are not willing to suffer the consequences for choosing the alternatives, so we get apologists, race-baiters and thugs who seem to think they have the right to beat up and possibly kill a cop. We also get the 47%, who have a right to camp out on public park land to protest the indignity of having to pay their bills. You know, accept responsibility for their own stupid choices. And, since we have caused these fringe dwellers that are rapidly becoming a majority of the population, we can’t now just cut them off and let them pass quietly into history, because they will not LET us forget them. Nor, probably, should we. We made this problem, and now we are dying off and leaving the problem to others. Unfair, and if I could think of a way not to do that, I would.