Besides (or perhaps, including) the gentleman who demanded my resignation, reader e-mails on the topic of the congressmen and the N-word have been insightful. Here are a couple:
I appreciate your attention to this story and your honesty, but there is one thing I would quibble with you on. You say it is very hard to prove a negative, and you are correct, but it is equally hard to disprove accusations of racism that are hurled at you. I had to go through a months long investigation when I was in the military merely because someone who worked for me was mad at his evaluation and chose to believe that the reason he got bad marks was because I was a racist. I was eventually completely cleared, but not before I had to endure months of worry and having to testify in an investigation that disrupted our whole command. Thankfully the other people (of all races) in my command stood up for me, or this young man’s lies could have been the end to my career and would have been impossible for me to disprove at a later date on my resume. . . .
The standard for journalists should be very simple — If someone is going to accuse someone else of racism, there must be PROOF, period. Otherwise those rumors and accusations should not be passed on. I believe what these journalists did was unethical. And by spreading these unproven rumors they only continue to rip at the racial fabric in our country. They have tarred a movement of thousands and thousands of people without evidence. THAT is the racist act, if any occurred at all.
I’m not much interested in a modern journalists sixth-sense intuition, since they’re invariably going to call anyone to the right of Che Guevara a liar. What’s critical is that there is no evidence. True, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, BUT SOME OF THE ACCUSERS WERE CARRYING CAMERAS AND RECORDING THE ENTIRE EVENT.
Listen, for eight years the left threw their Bush-era tantrum, carrying around signs like “we support our troops when they shoot their officers”, endless threats against the president and vice-president, and horrific statements about Israel. “Peace” marchers showed up with pipe bombs, bombed recruiting offices, and assaulted counter-demonstrators. The AFL-CIO staged “protests” that turned into assaults on Bush-Cheney campaign offices in 2004. At the 2008 RNC, “protesters” threw bags of sand onto a bus of delegates. The police broke up a bomb plot targetting the RNC in 2008. All of this is well-documented — and none of it led to anyone expressing any concern about the actions, let alone rhetoric. None of it was given more than passing notice.
But a group of race-baiting Congressmen (and if you look at Lewis’s recent statements, it’s clear that’s what he is, regardless of what he once was) make an accusation they can’t substantiate, the conservative press stumbles over itself to make pointless apologies.