Rep. Ellison Arrested Over Darfur Protests

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has been arrested in Washington D.C. for disorderly conduct after a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy. Rep. Ellison was protesting the Sudanese government’s decision to expel aid groups from the Darfur region. Rep. Ellison was arrested along with 4 other members of Congress and other activists.

While this protest was for a noble cause—the Sudanese government is undeniably complicit in the killing of tens of thousands of Darfuris, what is the point? Rep. Ellison could do far more by lobbying the Obama Administration to get tough on the Sudanese than by a show protest.

All the protests in the world won’t change the situation in Darfur. The only way that it will change is if the regime in Khartoum has to pay such a high price for its acts that it has no choice but to stop. The international system is so broken at this point that there is little hope of that happening any time soon. When serial human-rights abuser like the Sudan can sit in high positions in the United Nations—including on the Human Rights Commission itself, the problem is with the U.N.

While Rep. Ellison’s heart is in the right place, it would perhaps be more beneficial for him to have protested at the U.N. than at the Sudanese Embassy.

Jim Crow This Isn’t…

Mitch Berg notes Rep. Keith Ellison’s support for an anti-voter ID bill. As usual, there’s the comparisons to requiring a voter ID to “poll taxes” and the like. Such comparisons are an insult to people’s intelligence. So long as voter ID requirements are uniformly enforced there’s absolutely no reason why such rules should not be in place. You have to have an ID to drive, to get on a plane, and to do many other common tasks. There’s no reason to not have photo IDs for voter registration.

Opposition to voter ID laws are less about principle than they are about politics: by keeping voting requirements lax it’s a lot easier to pull electoral shenanigans. Pulling the race card is just a way of polarizing the debate even more. The fact that Rep. Ellison would support such an odious and unsupportable contention demonstrates his lack of personal character and his willingness to take the party line even when he should no better.