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There is only one reason that anyone would vote against a resolution to acknowledge the role slaves played in the construction of the U.S. Capitol:

Whereas recognition of the contributions of enslaved African-Americans brings to all Americans an understanding of the continuing evolution of our representative democracy; and

Whereas a marker dedicated to the enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the Capitol will reflect the charge of the Capitol Visitor Center to teach visitors about Congress and its development

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

SECTION 1. PLACEMENT OF MARKER IN CAPITOL VISITOR CENTER TO ACKNOWLEDGE ROLE OF SLAVE LABOR IN CONSTRUCTION OF CAPITOL.

... but when the resolution was passed yesterday 399-1, the lone dissenter wouldn't admit to it. Instead, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) trotted out an asinine excuse:

Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of 'In God We Trust' in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America's Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing 'In God We Trust' from the depiction of the actual Speaker's chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"This is just the latest example of a several year effort by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America's Christian heritage from our nation's Capitol. Liberals want to amend our country's history to eradicate the role of Christianity in America and chisel references to God or faith from our historical buildings.

But since no one was buying that load of garbage, he's come up with a new excuse:

And of the 645,000 Africans that were brought here to be forcibly put into slavery in the United States, there were over 600,000 people that gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery. And I don’t see the monument to that in the Congressional Visitor Center, and I think it’s important that we have a balanced depiction of history.

Of course, as Think Progress points out:

And there’s also an African American Civil War Memorial that honors the contributions that African-American troops made to the war effort.

If Steve King wants to learn more about how DC has honored the contributions of Union soldiers, he can order this book, titled: "Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments In Washington, D.C." And if King’s truly interested in a "balanced depiction of history," he’d be supporting a simple acknowledgment of slave labor’s role in building the Capitol, a memorial that doesn’t currently exist in DC.

So perhaps it's time for Mr. King to just admit the obvious reason someone would vote against such a resolution.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 02:56 PM PDT.

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