Why recognizing lynching victims matters to the U.S. right now
The House of Representatives voted to pass the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on Monday in a 422-3 vote, thereby making lynching a federal hate crime. However, people were quick to notice the three congresspeople who did not vote to pass the bill happen to be Republican representatives from Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas.
The anti-lynching bill was reintroduced to the House in 2018 after decades of failure to pass a federal antilynching bill. The bill was named for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black child who was lynched after being accused of offending a white woman in 1955.
The bill nearly had bipartisan support if it weren't for Representatives Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Chip Roy (R-TX). Even ultra-conservative congresspeople like Marjorie Taylor-Green and Matthew Gaetz voted 'yea' to the bill.
So what made the three Republican congressmen vote 'nay' to the bill?
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Well, in a tweet from Massie on Monday, the Kentucky representative said he feared adding lynching as a federal hate crime would infringe on freedom of speech and felt redundant since lynching is illegal in every state.
Additionally, Massie added that adding 'conspiracy to commit lynching' could be "enforced overbroadly on people who are not perpetrators of a crime."
In a statement from Roy, the Texas representative said "this bill doesn't have anything to do with lynching, other than its name," and citedthat the bill, "does not make lynching a federal offense", and "raises the punishment for things that are already federal crimes, including those that are unrelated to lynching — such as gender identity — in an effort to advance a woke agenda under the guise of correcting racial injustice."
It should be noted that the bill does add lynching as a hate crime and raises the offense for committing any federal hate crime from 10 years imprisonment to 30 years.
Clyde has yet to release a statement explaining his reasoning for voting 'nay'.
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