The New York Times’ Obituary for The Late Ron Dellums? Despicable! | #InMemoriam on Blog#42

The New York Times’ Obituary for The Late Ron Dellums? Despicable! | #InMemoriam on Blog#42

The honorable Ron Dellums transitioned to the great progressive Democratic Socialist beyond yesterday.

I was fortunate enough, for a short time, to work a few doors away from Mr. Dellums and fondly remember seeing him walking the halls of Congress on his way to and from committee meetings.

The New York Times published its obituary yesterday and, I have to say, it is about the most despicable memorialization of a public figure in recent times. It is an exercise in abject reductionism:

“Mr. Dellums introduced hundreds of bills and resolutions that went nowhere, and was rarely on the winning side of fights. But he was an outspoken critic of presidents, Republican and Democratic, and for many Americans beyond his tiny Congressional district, he championed a progressive mantra: Stop war. Cut military spending. Help people. Address the nation’s social problems.

He won a dozen re-election campaigns and the sometimes grudging respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. His voting record also won virtually straight A’s from labor, consumer, women’s and environmental groups. Human rights organizations hailed his fights to restrict aid to African nations, like Zaire, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan, whose regimes were openly repressive.

After a 14-year campaign against apartheid in South Africa, he wrote the 1986 legislation that mandated trade embargoes and divestment by American companies and citizens of holdings in South Africa. President Ronald Reagan’s veto was overridden by Congress, a 20th-century first in foreign policy. The sanctions were lifted in 1991, when South Africa repealed its apartheid laws.

Mr. Dellums opposed every major American military intervention of his tenure, except for emergency relief in Somalia in 1992. He sued President George H. W. Bush unsuccessfully to stop the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, saying the invasion did not have congressional authorization. And he voted against the new weapons programs and military budgets of all six presidents in his era.”

Times obituaries are written in advance. Did no one edit this one for decency and accuracy?

Just getting the landmark The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act passed is a lifetime achievement few can boast. Getting a presidential veto overridden is another achievement few can claim. But that isn’t all Dellums achieved in a lifetime of public service and advocacy.

Dellums leaves behind a tremendous legacy of progressivism and social activism. His work lives on in his successor, Representative Barbara Lee, whose anti-war and social justice work is in Dellums’ honored tradition.

Rest in Power!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *