Wednesday’s ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial marking the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington was a success, with many of the speakers delivering inspiring and stirring remarks.
It was disturbing that no one from the Republican Party felt called to participate. Yes, there likely were Republican voters who attended, but no elected officials accepted invitations to be a part of the festivities.
Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were unable to attend for reasons of personal health and that’s understandable. The elder is old enough to have health issues from time to time and the younger is recovering from heart surgery.
Beyond that, though, GOP leadership didn’t think marking such a momentous event was important enough to put down their swords in the constant battle with President Obama. The official response was that their invitations came too late to interfere with their busy August schedules. Yes, and my brother’s dog, Chris, who is staying with us Pat is traveling, ate the first draft of this column.
There is no excuse for refusing to play a role. It was a stunning lack of leadership by Republicans. But that shows you the bullheadedness of GOP leaders now. This was an event that marked an important occasion in our nation’s history and a milestone in bringing this country and its diverse people together. It took place at the monument dedicated to the first great Republican, Abraham Lincoln, but congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are so fearful of upsetting those who bankroll the party that they didn’t have the guts to do what was right.
Those two are the supposed leaders of a party that, because of recent losses in the race for the White House, professes to be trying to open its arms to minorities and show its diversity. I’m sure that voters of all races and creeds were impressed with the Republicans’ open-arms policy Wednesday.
That impression likely will carry over to the voting booth in 2016.
The GOP was tossed a softball this week and instead of knocking it out of the park, the party was called out on strikes with the bat still on its shoulder.