By more than 99 percent of the vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Emmet Till Antilynching Act, named after the 14-year-old Black teenager lynched in Mississippi in 1955.
One of the scant “no” votes in the 410-4 tally came from Rep. Ted Yoho, who represents Florida’s 3rd congressional district.
Beyond the harrowing history that justifies such legislation – or that it tragically comes decades after lynching was regularly practiced and after hundreds of Black people already lost their life to murderous, terroristic, largely white groups of people killing with impunity – the bill resoundingly passed and, as it heads to the desk of the president, is expected to be signed into law by Donald Trump.
Trump, whose immigration policy includes separating children form their parents and caging them, is backing the bill. It’s a toothless, hardly symbolic bill. But Trump’s likely to sign it.
Yoho voted against the lynching protections
, he told CNN’s Manu Raju, because it’s an “overreach of the federal government and tramples on states rights.”
Like the legislation, this reasoning, which echoes 19th century defenses of slavery, seems incredibly late as it relates to race and Black life, and entirely without any conviction for straightforward accounting if perils of slave dependent Black and African American people.
Yoho, who announced last December that he isn’t seeking re-election, is off the leash and somehow has even less bite. He also can't claim it's to appease racist voters back home. Just say your not gonna do shit for Black people.
It's a lonely political stand, given how utterly uncontroversial tackling the topic of lynching is today and the overwhelming support for the bill. Yoho is leaving Congress and can take measures without fearing the sort of political reprisal that would jeopardize his position.
That makes this little more than an act of petty cruelty, a cowardly dog forgoing the full-throated racist bark of explicitly saying Black people don’t deserve to be protected, that they’re little more than various epithets to be discarded at white whim, and – even on his way out – tucks his tail between his legs and blows on the crusty dog whistle of "states' rights."
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