Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It doesn't take a Harvard degree.....

....to know that calling a black person "Uncle Tom" is racist.

That said, someone who actually has a Harvard degree essentially did that very thing today.

In reacting to the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to rework the Voters Right Act of 1965 (a statute where voting laws of southern states were basically under Federal purview), Minnesota state representative Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) put out the following tweet:

Great job by my pal John Rouleau, Executive Director at Minnesota Majority, for capturing a snapshot of the tweet before Winkler deleted it. 

Of course, many inquired as to what Winkler could have possibly been thinking by tweeting out such rhetoric. When the inevitable backlash ensued, Winkler eventually came back with the following:

Yeah, the only debate that exists is whether or not people actually view Justice Thomas as the equivalent to Uncle Tom. There's never been a heckuva lot of debate over what the connotation implies.

With that said, Kevin Williamson of National Review Online had a question for Minnesota Democrats.

If Ryan Winkler did not think that “Uncle Tom” was a racist slur, what, exactly, did he think it meant?

As I write this, Minnesota DFL chair Ken Martin has yet to comment publicly. He was asked via Twitter if he agreed with Winkler's statement to which he replied with a pithy "Nope."

I've never met Winkler personally but the kind of reckless bombast he displayed today should come as no shock to anyone who has followed him on Twitter (or constituents for that matter). He'll regularly engage in verbal battles via Twitter with political colleagues and constituents alike. My friend and local radio host Jack Tomczak often threw out invitations to Winkler to appear on his show. Jack had once told me that the reasoning behind the invites is Winkler is such an undisciplined individual (he once called a private citizen an "a-hole" on Twitter) that he could create a buffet of embarrassing soundbites.

Some called this Winkler blunder the rhetorical equivalent of accidentally texting his "junk." The question now is will Winkler be asked by DFL party leaders to resign? Winkler himself has now ruled out his potential run for MN Secretary of State. 

The only other question remaining is how much (if at all) the local media will cover this story? It's one of the rare evenings where I'll actually tune in to some local news.


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