Given how busy I’ve been these past few weeks, I haven’t had much time to focus on the case of the “Jena 6.” While it does seem that the District Attorney there was a little overzealous in prosecuting six black teens accused of assaulting a white peer, there’s no doubt these adolescents beat up their caucasian fellow.
Standing up for the “Jena 6” has become the latest cause célèbre for the left, with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson heading down to Louisiana to lead a protest. It’s no wonder then that Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese has weighed in on the story, joining Jesse in standing up against the unjust treatment of the black teens. Joe does seem more more interested in standing united with various left-wing leaders than in standing tall on gay issues.
In his remarks, Solmonese even faulted George W. Bush for failing as Governor of Texas to sign a hate-crimes bill. The alleged injustice here was not the absence of such legislation, but the presence of prosecutorial misconduct. But, I guess that’s irrelevant to Joe when he has a chance to join his fellow leftists in attacking Bush. (If anything, a hate crimes law might justify the prosecutor’s alleged excesses if he believed that the Jena 6 assaulted the white teen because of his race.)
Blogger Chris Crain, assaulted two years ago in Amsterdam because he’s gay, wonders why Solmonese picked “this case:”
Why pick a case of six bullies who beat, kicked and stomped a defenseless teen unconscious in a schoolyard — as the one for the GLBT movement to take a stand?
When Joe spoke . . . at a Washington, D.C., rally to “Free the Jena 6,” here was the head of the nation’s largest GLBT rights organizations standing at a podium comparing the senseless beating of Justin Butler at Jena High School to a hate crime. But he wasn’t comparing victims. Oh no. He was invoking the image of James Byrd no less to side with the six macho bullies who punched and kicked Justin unconscious on the ground.
I’m sorry but that just goes too far. Way too far.
But, what’s going too far matter to Joe Solmonese when you have a chance to stand united with other activists of the left. Or, as Chris puts it, “It’s scratch-your-back and no doubt for some based on a genuinely felt bond among civil rights groups.”
Chris wonders why Solmonese devoted so much time to this issue while he and HRC remained silent about the “beating, stabbing and mutilating” of “Scotty Joe Weaver [of Bay Minette, Alabama] because he is gay.” Chris wonders why HRC was similarly silent about the upcoming trial in New York City for the “murder of African-American gay man Michael Sandy.
No wonder so many gay people wonder about HRC’s advocacy on behalf of our community. It seems more interested in being part of a broader leftist coalition than in focusing on the issues of particular concern to the gay community.
And rather than excerpt further from Chris’s powerful post, let me just encourage to read the whole thing!