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Something you might not remember or know about, from 1974. (short video)

On this anniversary, let’s remember one great — but too often overlooked — Lesbian African-American House Representative from Texas (!) who steered us through a Constitutional crisis 40 years ago with logic and passion.

Check out Barbara Jordan‘s brief but prescient remarks to the House Judiciary Committee at the beginning of the Nixon impeachment hearings:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sure wish I could watch this at work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2thanks, maxfolger

    Doggone firewall.

    She was amazing -- someone once observed she had "the voice of God."

    Got a transcript?

  •  i remember her well (2+ / 0-)
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    JBL55, maxfolger

    mere words on a screen or printed page cannot capture the majesty of her stentorian tones, or the pride I felt watching her on TV as a child:

    Mr. Chairman, I join my colleague Mr. Rangel in thanking you for giving the junior members of this committee the glorious opportunity of sharing the pain of this inquiry.

    Earlier today we heard the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.  "We the people."  It's a very eloquent beginning.

    But when that document was completed on the 17th of September in 1787 I was not included in that "We the People".  I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake.

    But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in "We the People".

    This morning in a discussion of the evidence­, we are told that the evidence which purports to support the allegations of misuse of the CIA by the president is thin.  We are told that that evidence is insufficient.  Congress has a lot to do: appropriations, tax reform, health insurance, campaign finance reform, housing, environmental protection, energy sufficiency, mass transportation.

    Pettiness cannot be allowed to stand in the face of such overwhelming problems.

    So today we are not being petty.  We are trying to be big, because the task we have before us is a big one.

    If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that 18th century Constitution should be abandoned to a 20th century paper shredder!

    Has the President committed offenses?  And planned and directed and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate?

    That's the question.  We know that.  We know the question.

    We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 01:41:51 PM PDT

  •  Finally got home and watched. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you for posting this.  Any opportunity we have to hear this great American speak is always time well spent.

  •  Funny the things that jump out at you (1+ / 0-)
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    like the clothing and hairstyles of the audience or the guy smoking in the audience at the 1:07 mark.

  •  Witness of Distinguished Fed Judge on resignation (1+ / 0-)
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    I think I will expand this to full post but now forty years ago I was privileged to sit on a front yard lake vacation home and participate with the Sunday morning discussion of Nixon's hugely historic and unprecedented resignation with the long-time family friend Federal Judge Prentice Marshall, d 2004, Thomas Moran d 1995, then on Illinois's Appellate  State Court two years later elected to the State Supreme Court and eventually its Chief Justice, Thomas Moran, Bill Powell the Chief Council of Sears Roebuck, a couple other neighbors and my father, mid-city lawyer and life long friend of both judges, plus myself and Prentice's son, (we mostly listened and were questioned). The place was on Green Lake WI a summer retreat for much of Chicago and Milwaukee's elite and affluent without the pomp or circumstance, at least back then.

    My father had attended law school with Prentice and became life long friends united by coincidence purchasing vacation homes just three doors down from each other in the early 70's. Moran was a long time neighbor about a block away from our regular home from the time I was five.

    The salient point is that Prentice Marshall and Thomas Moran, one a Democrat the other a Republican both agreed that Ford's pardon was the worst thing that ever could happen to this nation. That it was going to set a precedence that persons of status, were above the law and that this was going to slid from the office of the President to many government and private persons going forward into history.

    That the pardon should only granted after all the legal process was completed. That Nixon should face a grand jury and if the grand jury finds evidence of crimes that he face a trial regardless of the partisan angst.

    My father and Powell disagreed (both active Republicans in their locals) the other neighbors who middle class were not as adamant or seeking to put the matter behind us.

    What I will always recall in a cold, cutting low penetrating guttural voice that he had and the superior intelligence that made him the pre-eminent judicial expert on evidence and court submissions throughout the entire judiciary, both Marshall and Moran were also law professors, that we had with a stroke of Ford's pre-emptive pardon gone from a nation of laws to a nation of men, and now the empire that the pre and post War (meaning WWII) elite wanted us to become.

    His words echo today, torture, rendition, drone strike assassination of Americans, etc.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty~Ben Franklin

    by RWN on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 08:46:48 AM PDT

    •  Ford acted hastily in an attempt (0+ / 0-)

      to get the matter behind his own presidency and the nation's attention. That part was a good idea. The precedent as a bad on.

      Nixon was a fascinating character -- and though part of him was a jackass with no respect for the constitution (which is why he should have faced a jury), he was also the last progressive/liberal president that we've had.

      For example:
      -- He gave 18-year-olds the right to vote

      -- Broke the great wall between China and America

      -- Established the Environmental Protection Agency

      -- Instituted guidelines for worker safety and comfort

      --  Created the Consumer Product Safety Commission

      -- Fought for girls to be able to play sports in school

      -- Made it so that Social Security payments had to keep up with the cost of living

      --Expanded social safety net programs like welfare and food stamps

      -- Cut defense spending

      -- Supported the Equal Rights Amendment

      -- Settled claims with Native Americans

      -- And adopted Keynesian economic policies to beat a recession.

      In spite of these progressive accomplishments, he was still a Republican Jackass who had no respect for the Constitution. But some of us wish that today’s Republican Jackasses who have no respect for the Constitution could be a little more like him. Which would have been an unconscionable thought 30 years ago.  

  •  Bravo. but let's not forget something else as well (1+ / 0-)
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    When she gave us that eloquent reminder about how the Constitution did not originally include people like her in the category of "we the people," a lot of conservatives branded her a Commie trouble maker. I admit this with shame, because they included members of my own family. When you hear people call Obama a "Communist" and you wonder what they mean, I'll tell you -- they mean exactly the same thing as the people who called Barbara Jordan a "Communist" and a rabble rouser. She didn't stay in her place and act grateful to the white people for all the good things they'd done for her. She had the gall to appear UN-grateful.

  •  Thank you, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thank you very much for posting this. I had never watched her speak before. What a loss to the nation to lose her at such a relatively young age. Thanks again.

  •  Barbara Jordan (0+ / 0-)

    She was a great leader, a great person.

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