Washington Watch with Roland Martin

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National Action Movement: Measuring the Movement


The last day of the National Action Network’s annual convention in New York will feature a session planned by the Reverend Al Sharpton.  National Action Network’s Measuring the Movement: Black Leadership’s 12-Month Action Plan special forum will feature leaders of constituencies across the country that will assess where we are today and the vision for the next 12-months for African-Americans. The session will focus on measurable action that federal, state and local governments and grassroots organizations can take to improve the quality of life for African-Americans, according to Rev. Sharpton. Some of the issues that will be addressed include education reform, unemployment, health care and more.

This event will air live nationally on TV One and as a special on MSNBC. Hosted by Tom Joyner and Roland Martin and will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 11-2:00 p.m. in conjunction with NAN’s Annual National Convention in New York City, April 14 -17, 2010 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers located at 811 7th Avenue @ 52 Street.

Join the conversation at RolandSMartin.com.

Confederates, Al-Qaida are the Same: Terrorists


After reading the hundreds of e-mails, Facebook comments and Tweets in response to my denunciation of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s decision to honor Confederates for their involvement in the Civil War — which was based on the desire to continue slavery — the one consistent thing that supporters of the proclamation offer up as a defense is that these individuals were fighting for what they believed in and defending their homeland.

In criticizing me for saying that celebrating the Confederates was akin to honoring Nazi soldiers for killing Jews during the Holocaust, Rob Wagner said, “I am simply defending the honor and dignity of men who were given no choice other than to fight, some as young as 13.”

Sherry Callahan said that supporting the Confederate is “our history. Not hate; it’s about heritage and history.”

Javier Ramirez called slavery evil, but prefaced his remarks by saying that “Confederate soldiers were never seen as terrorists by (President Abraham) Lincoln or U.S. generals on the battlefield. They were accorded POW status, they were never tried for war crimes. Not once did Confederate soldiers do any damage to civilians or their property in their invasion of the North. The same is not true of Union soldiers.”

Realskirkland sent me a Tweet saying, “Slavery is appalling, but was not the only reason for the CW (Civil War). Those men, while misguided on some fronts, stood up for what they felt was right. They embodied that American ideal that the states have a right to govern themselves. THAT is what a Confederate soldier stood for.”

If you take all of these comments, don’t they sound eerily familiar to what we hear today from Muslim extremists, who have pledged their lives to defend the honor of Allah and to defeat the infidels in the West?

When you make the argument that the South was angry with the North for “invading” their “homeland,” Osama bin Laden has said the same about U.S. soldiers being on Arab soil. He has objected to our bases in Saudi Arabia, and that’s one of the reasons he has launched his jihad against us. Is there really that much of a difference between him and the Confederates? Same language, same cause, same effect.

If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young, Muslim radicals, who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings? They say they are defending the honor of their ancestors by trying to rid the world of evil Americans.

If the Sons of Confederate Veterans use the vicious nature in which people in the South were treated by the North as a talking point, doesn’t that sound exactly like the Taliban saying they want to kill as many Americans for the slaughter of innocent folks in Afghanistan? Defenders of the Confederacy say that innocent people were killed in the war.

Hasn’t the same argument been presented by Muslim radicals in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and other places where the U.S. has tangled with Muslim terrorists?

We can’t on one hand justify the honorable actions of Confederates as the duties of valiant men in the South, and then condemn the Muslim extremists who want to see Americans die a brutal death. These men are held up as honorable by their brethren, so why do Americans see them as different from our homegrown terrorists?

The fundamental problem with extremism is that when you’re on the side that is fanatical, all of your actions make sense and you are fluent in explaining away every action. Of those you oppose, every position is a personal affront that calls for you to do what is necessary to protect you and your family.

Just like radical Muslims that have a warped sense of religion, Confederate lovers have a delusional view of what is honorable. The Muslim terrorists are willing to kill their own to prove their point, and the Confederates were just as willing in the Civil War to take up arms against their fellow Americans to justify their point.

If you’re a relative of one of the 9-11 hijackers, that man was an out-and-out terrorist, and nothing you can say will change that. And if your great-great-great-granddaddy was a Confederate who stood up for Southern ideals, he, too, was a terrorist.

They are the same.

As a matter of conscience, I will not justify, understand or accept the atrocious view of Muslim terrorists who view their actions as representing a just war. They are reprehensible, and their actions are a sin against humanity.

And I will never, under any circumstances, cast Confederates as heroic figures who should be honored and revered. No, they have been, and forever will be, domestic terrorists.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the forthcoming book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


Roland, TJMS, 03.31.10: Roland S. Martin/Tom Joyner Morning Show, Roland talks with Marc Morial about the results of filling out the Census


Roland talks with Marc Morial about the results of filling out the Census. Morial, a former Mayor of New Orleans, explains that Census reporting affects how much money a city and county gets.  Funds are distributed according to the number of people in a city and the census tract within that city. If you do not return the form and are not counted you short change your neighborhood and city.


Roland, TJMS, 03.30.10: Roland S. Martin/Tom Joyner Morning Show, Roland talks with Melanie L. Campbell about the 2010 Census


Roland talks with Melanie L. Campbell, Executive Director and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation about the 2010 Census. Campbell explains that African-Americans should be counted. The  Census has a direct effect on congressional districts, the redrawing of districts, representation in Congress and a share of $400 billion dollars in funding for communities.


Roland, TJMS, 03.29.10: Roland S. Martin/Tom Joyner Morning Show, Roland talks with Alexis Herman about the condition of Dr. Dorothy Height


Roland talks with Alexis Herman about the condition of Dr. Dorothy Height.

It was recently reported that Dr. Dorothy Height had passed. These reports are not true. Currently, Dr. Height is in serious but stable condition.

Dr. Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women. She has worked with presidents and first ladies going all the way back to President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Dr. Height  has counseled every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. She is also the only woman to be a part of the civil rights movement Big Six.


If GOP Wants to Stall, Dems Must Lead


Republicans on Capitol Hill are acting like spoiled brats, after Democrats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by passing health care reform.

On the day President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who often tout their ability to work across the aisle, said Republicans will no longer cooperate with Democrats because of the passage of health care.

In an interview with an Arizona radio station, McCain said: “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Graham, who was a major player in crafting legislation for immigration reform, said he is backing out of that as a result of the Democrats voting to approve health care reform.

These two men sound like a pouty kid, who loses a game and then takes his ball and goes home. I thought we were supposed to send grown people to Washington, D.C., to handle the people’s business.

We are used to seeing members of the opposite party express their displeasure with legislation. But saying no cooperation for the rest of the year? Dumb.

There are crucial issues facing Americans right now. No, not Americans who are Democrats and not Americans who vote Republican. But Americans who want to see movement on improving schools and roads and reforming the banking industry and other vital issues.

This is where President Barack Obama should say the heck with all of this bipartisan nonsense. He should say, “Either you get in the game or get out of the way.”

We have been debating for years about immigration reform. Right now, an estimated 12 million folks are in the nation illegally. It is impacting our local, state and national economy, our schools, hospitals and other vital areas. So, why should confronting that be put on the back burner because Sen. Lindsey Graham has a burr under his saddle?

The nation’s schools are in shambles, and President Obama wants to make massive changes to the No Child Left Behind Act.
Unions are not too enthused with the bill, while Republicans want there to be more accountability for the dramatic amount of money being earmarked for expanding the initiative. So, are we supposed to tell our schoolchildren that they should forget the need for more early childhood learning, more dollars to hire better teachers and more improvement in low-performing schools?

American taxpayers have been totally screwed by Wall Street. Their reckless behavior tanked our economy. We saved their jobs with billions of dollars, and they turned around and rewarded themselves with billions in bonuses. Had Americans not given them money, there would have been no job and no bonus!

So, the Senate has now undertaken financial regulatory reform and Republicans simply refuse to even negotiate on the issue. It’s time for Congress to go after Wall Street and put the necessary regulations in place. We cannot trust them to do right this time. They didn’t do it before, and no one should think their greed has been tempered by our financial collapse.

This is the nonsense that voters have tired of. If politicians on both sides are there to represent their views, then they have to do it. For the GOP, stop canceling hearings. Stop threatening not to engage in legislative negotiations. And if Republicans make it clear they will say no to everything, the Democrats must learn to lead and do it alone.

The November election is meaningless to me. What matters is trying to fix what is broken with this country. And we can’t repair our schools, our borders and Wall Street unless our political leaders in Washington, D.C., act like grown men and women — not petulant children acting out in a fit of rage.

Grow up and get to work!

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the forthcoming book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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