Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Revere the Spirit of Rosa Parks

Americans need to embrace the spirit of Rosa Parks and follow her great example. Rosa Parks helped a transformation of equality take shape in this nation by her act of civil disobedience. When Rosa Parks broke the law, refusing to sit in the back of the bus, and refusing to stand up so a white could have her seat, her simple act (as great actions often are) helped spark a movement.

I hear some on the right wing blogosphere attempt to distort the truth of what recently occurred at Thelma Drake's office when a military veteran, Tom Palumbo, was arrested on trespassing charges. Tom Palumbo was simply voicing his opinion to a member of our house of representatives. He was greeted by a staff who closed down the office and hid from him and his companions. The landlord told the constituents they were on private property and must leave or be arrested for trespassing.

Tom Palumbo chose to follow his principles. He simply sat and stated that he would wait for the office to open. In the spirit of Rosa Parks I commend Tom Palumbo for following his principles.

Thelma Drake has earned the nickname "Tra La La Let them Eat Cake Drake." She serves the interests of Bush/Cheney and ignores her constituents (the majority of whom disagree with "staying the course" and escalating the occupation in Iraq}.

The problem is that Thelma Drake is a public official. She has sworn to uphold the constitution, a constitution that grants citizens the right of redress of their grievances. She is taking public, tax payer funds for an office that is supposed to be a communication center with her constituents. The House Ethics book states that representatives shall represent all constituents (including those who disagree with her) and treat them equally. I wonder if Drake would have Pat Robertson and his people arrested if they chose to visit her office to voice their opinions?

Regardless, this notion of "private property" and trespassing charges being used to prevent constituents from delivering their message to a representatives office is outrageous. It is not ethical. If it isn't illegal it should be.

Hopefully, Tom Palumbo's trespassing charges will be dropped. No constituent should be arrested for trespassing for simply trying to deliver their message to a representative of the house.

Tom Palumbo has simply followed the example of Rosa Parks, Cindy Sheehan, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi. He chose to live his principles even if that resulted in an arrest. An arrest that is on it's face unconstitutional.

May we all remember that as Americans we have a grand history of civil disobedience to redress our fact OUR COUNTRY was founded on this principle. Hopefully, when others are faced with the same predicament they will chose to stand by their principles (or sit) as Rosa Parks and Tom Palumbo have done..... Photo by Lyle Sanders (Tom Palumbo third from right wearing cap)

1 comment:

Corine said...


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The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development was founded by Rosa Parks in 1987, in honor of her husband, with the aim of motivating and directing youth to reach their highest potential.

On December 1, 1955, 42-year-old Rosa Parks boarded a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. A few stops later, a white man boarded the crowded bus and had to stand in the aisle. When the driver demanded that she give up her seat for the man, Rosa Parks remained seated. The driver called the police, who arrested Mrs. Parks, but her courageous act initiated a citywide bus boycott led by Martin Luther King, Jr. that lasted 381 days.

On February 1, 1956, the Montgomery Improvement Association filed suit in the U.S. District Court, challenging the constitutionality of segregated public transportation. In June of 1956, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the Improvement Association. When the city appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, the higher court affirmed the lower court's ruling, declaring segregation on buses unconstitutional. The decision was implemented on December 20, 1956. With her quiet strength, Rosa Parks gave birth to the modern day civil rights movement.

During her lifetime, Mrs. Parks received more than 43 honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of other honors. In September 1996, President William J. Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, presented Rosa Parks with the Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a civilian. In 1999, she was the 250th individual to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. At her passing, the United States Congress was suspended with many of its members being flown to Detroit to pay their respects. Rosa Parks became the first woman to lie in honor at the U. S. Capitol Rotunda.

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