Our political process has felt dysfunctional for over a decade now. It seems far rarer than it should that the parties in power actually come together and get something done. It finally happened today though, albeit for something that is long overdue.
The House of Representatives has passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act by a 410-4 vote according to CBS News. The bill is named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was lynched for allegedly flirting with a white woman in 1955. The bill would make lynching a federal crime. Amendments were made to the bill to match a similar bill that passed in the Senate called the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act. That legislation would make lynching carry an enhanced sentence similar to other hate crimes.
As both the Senate and House bill carry different names and numbers, the House bill may need to pass through the Senate in order to reconcile both bills. I, for one, am deeply curious if the President would actually sign this bill should it land on his desk. What better way for him to express his not-so-subtle racism by vetoing a law against lynching?
While it’s notable that this legislation has passed it’s still sad that it has taken so long for it to be outlawed. I would like to say this is largely a symbolic gesture but white nationalism has been steadily growing in this country. It’s unfortunate but a law like this could still be necessary for the current day.
That is probably the saddest part of all this.