Commentary: Sen. Tim Scott don’t lose your soul or your way

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) remarked in an editorial that America is not a racist country and has since caused a stir among African-Americans. (Courtesy photo)

By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO

Little Anthony and the Imperials’ “Going out of my head” played on my car stereo over the weekend and immediately reminded me of U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). 

Why? Because I have an alternate song title for the junior senator from the Palmetto state: 

Have you lost your mind?

Tim Scott cannot really believe what he said in the Republican response to President Biden’s April 28 address to the Joint Session of Congress. In an editorial, the Philadelphia Tribune graded Scott’s remarks. The assessment was devastating: 

“Scott’s personal story of rising from a low-income family to Congress is admirable, but his views on race are misguided at best and disingenuous at worst.”

“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” said Scott. 

“But [Joe] Biden never said America was a racist country,” the editorial continued. “This is a strawman argument by Scott to appeal to the Republican base. What Biden has done was point out the fact that racial inequality still exists in America.

“Racism is still a serious problem in key sectors of U.S. society, particularly in the criminal justice system and more specifically in policing. Identifying racism is not racism as some conservatives now suggest. Identifying racism is also not a partisan issue. The FBI and nonpartisan groups such as the Anti-Defamation League have identified White supremacist groups as a growing threat. Are they being racist by pointing this out?”

Actually, we need Tim Scott’s Booker T. Washington-esk capitalism focus and moderate-conservative political views. However, his White Senate Republican colleagues fronted him as their spokesman because at the moment they have no credibility. 

Too many of these senators still want to pretend our citizens four months ago did not witness a domestic terrorist assault on the Capitol. Also, many of Scott’s colleagues still suggest, maliciously, that Biden is not the legitimately elected POTUS. 

At this writing, Republican leaders are trying to cancel one of their most conservative members because she has pointed out that calling Biden illegitimate is false and politically dangerous. 

Who now is truly being divisive?

Those deplorable Republicans will continue to use Scott until he is useless and discredited. 

Will Scott, 55, a 10-year veteran of Congress, regain his senses?

As CNN’s Don Lemon recently said, we are challenged to commit acts that give our elders and ancestors lives’ meaning. In that spirit, Raymond “Panama” Phipps, my brother by my mom’s previous marriage, was a long-distance trucker who adored Little Anthony and the Imperials. Raymond’s final home was Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he died in 2013. 

I remember when Raymond a decade ago sent me a letter with only a hometown newspaper clipping in it. The article announced that Tim Scott made history as a post-Reconstruction, Black U.S. Senator from the South. I don’t recall Raymond writing anything. He was a working-class guy, but he knew I was the middle-class writer/college boy among the Dawkins siblings. 

Wayne Dawkins is a writer, and a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

My brother’s unspoken message however was clear. He was bursting with pride that a Black man, Sen. Scott, made it.

Tim Scott, if you somehow read this, remember my brother. Don’t lose your soul, or your way.

The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.