Unless you were looking for it, you probably missed the news story of State Senator Jack Hatch using a racial slur on the floor of the Iowa House of Representatives last week. The incident happened on Wednesday, but wasn’t reported in the Des Moines Register until Saturday.
The lack of coverage is interesting given the fact that central Iowans were bombarded with stories about three sports radio personalities, Marty Tirrell, Larry Cotlar, and Geoff Conn, getting fired for an intended off-air profanity laced tirade that accidently went out over the air waves.
Dust ups between legislators have always found their way to various news outlets, but not last Wednesday. State Senator Jack Hatch, who has been managing a bill in the senate that would provide health insurance to kids under the age of 18 if their parents make less than $70,000 a year, was enraged when he learned that the bill had been gutted in the House Human Resources committee.
Sen. Hatch went into the House chamber and sought out Rep. Abdul-Samad, member of the House Human Resources committee, and said that leadership were treated them like, “[N words], like master and slaves.”
Rep. Phyllis Thede of Davenport admitted that, had a Republican said what Sen. Hatch did, the reaction would have been much different. Many Republicans believe that, had one of their legislators made a similar comment, they would likely have faced a censure and pressure to resign. It is also safe to say that the media would have made a much bigger deal out of the occurrence.
To put this all in perspective, a sports talk show host (Larry Cotlar) who was accosted by a co-worker who stormed into the studio while he was on a commercial break is fired, but a State Senator who used worse, hateful language, is given a pass by the media and his collogues because he’s under a lot of pressure.
I’m more offended that the “N words” would be used by an elected official in the State Capitol, than I am about someone dropping a cuss word or 12 during a sports show. While Senator Hatch was quick to apologize, his Democrat collogues were even quicker in their effort to sweep the incident under the rug to avoid embarrassing press coverage.
Instead of worrying about the political ramifications of Hatch’s racial slur, House and Senate leadership should censure Sen. Hatch to send a loud and clear message that such language should never be uttered in the hallowed halls of the State Capitol by an elected official. Hatch is a public servant and should be publicly reprimanded by his colleagues for his disgusting behavior.
Democrats are always quick to lecture Republicans and corporate America on their behavior, but they turn a blind eye when people like Vice President Biden make racial slurs about Indian-Americans working at 7-11’s, or Senator Hatch telling a black legislator that legislative leaders are treating them like, “[N words], like master and slaves.”
If people in the corporate world would make a comment like this they would be punished. In fact, they would lose their jobs immediately, and people like Biden and Hatch would be the ones demanding their removal with the loudest voices.
There should not be a double standard for Democratic elected officials.
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