Was she referring to something 150 years ago?


MSNBC host: Paul Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson a ‘lovely thing’ for ‘a wealthy white man’
Published: 10:48 AM 08/13/2012

By Jeff Poor

On a special broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Saturday, weekend morning host Melissa Harris-Perry expressed her displeasure with the selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

In particular, Harris-Perry took issue with Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson’s line in the Declaration of Independence, in which he declared rights come from God and nature and not from government.

“The thing I really have against him is actually how he and Gov. Romney have misused the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “I’m deeply irritated by their notion that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ means money for the richest and that we extricate the capacity of ordinary people to pursue happiness. When they say ‘God and nature give us our rights, not government,’ that is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.”

Harris-Perry said the words didn’t initially mean rights for African-Americans and women.

“When you sit in a body like mine as an African-American woman, you know that God and nature have in fact made us — inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she continued. “But we could not have them until there was a Civil War that allowed the federal government to impose those nature and God-given rights would actually be respected by our government. And I think that they cannot continue to go down this line on the Declaration of Independence.”

(My note: I am glad that educated, thinking black people are able to see the Nation as it is today and not 150 years ago. Countries, like people, change with experiences and time. Old enemies become new friends, with time and forgiveness. I have a good friend who is Japanese. He doesn’t hate me because of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb. I once worked for a former Nazi SS paratrooper. He killed American soldiers in the line of duty, but we got along and honestly enjoyed each other’s company. Racist remarks, like the quote above, deserve to be recognized for what they are…unacceptable.)

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