BLAMES ‘RIGHTWING BLOGGER’
Mayoral candidate and Assembly member Forrest Dunbar tried to explain his remarks made on the record in June, when he said that the U.S. Constitution is “shot through” with racism.
He blamed Must Read Alaska for misquoting him when he had said: “What becomes inescapable when you read it is how shot through every portion of our constitutional law is with race when it comes to the three-fifths compromise, the way the Senate was apportioned in Congress, the Electoral College,” Dunbar said during a recent Assembly meeting.
“The fact is, that at that time, if you weren’t a white, landholding man, you were systematically excluded from those conversations. And we are still dealing with that legacy today,” he said.
“All of it. All of it was tied to race,” Dunbar said, before adding that the CARES Act money that the municipality received and the alcohol tax money that was just approved by voters is something the city can use to promote equity.
“We have this unique pot of money from the CARES Act, and we have another pot of money coming from the alcohol tax, and we have the ability to spend it in such a way where we can promote equity, and where we can materially improve the lives of the people of this city, and we can hopefully set up our economy to function long into the future,” Dunbar said.
On the Fourth of July weekend, Dunbar, a leading candidate for Anchorage mayor, tried to explain his views on his Facebook page, after his superiors at the Army National Guard evidently caught wind of his damning of the Constitution that he is sworn to uphold.
“During my remarks I pointed to the historical fact that at the time of the Constitution’s drafting our Founders were grappling with issues of race and slavery. As they tried to forge a new nation they had to repeatedly make concessions to slaveholders and slaveholding states, including the Fugitive Slave Clause and a prohibition on the abolition of the importation of slaves until 1808. But it went even deeper than that; seemingly race-neutral provisions like the Electoral College and the apportionment of Congressional seats were tied to the Census and how slaves were to be counted. Thus, of course, the notorious ‘3/5 Compromise.'”
Then, Dunbar went on to shift the blame and accuse Must Read Alaska of misquoting him.
“The next day, a rightwing blogger seized on my remarks, lied about what I said (literally in her headline), and published it to her blog/email list. Subsequently, some of her fans have apparently been calling the National Guard, where I serve as an officer, and asking how I can swear an oath to defend the US Constitution when I also acknowledge the complicated legacy of the document. I can only hope that my fellow Soldiers won’t be taken in by her lies or spread her hateful rhetoric, but it’s all pretty disappointing (though not surprising, in the case of the blogger).”
Must Read Alaska had published the video clip on YouTube, which can be seen here:
Dunbar gave his remarks more historical context as he then described how the Constitution has been amended and improved several times, but that the improvements have been “subverted by legislation at various times” particularly at the state level. The then explains that the Constitution today is more acceptable than it was when it was created, and acknowledges that he is sworn to uphold it:
“Again, my actual remarks do not say what she claims, but there are a couple of fairly obvious points even if they did: in the intervening years since the Founding of the nation the Constitution has been amended many times. The most important changes occurred immediately after the Civil War, in what some call the “Second Founding,” when we adopting the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. These reforms abolished slavery, established Due Process in the states and Equal Protection under the law, and forbade restrictions on voting based on race. Of course, all of these have been subverted by legislation at various times (especially at the state level), but the fact remains that our Constitution is significantly more progressive now than in its 18th Century form. In fact, one of the original geniuses of the document was exactly that ability to be amended, so that specific provisions like the Fugitive Slave Clause are now dead letter. It is this amended Constitution, a living document supplemented by monumental laws like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act (which must be renewed, following the “Shelby” decision), that I have sworn to uphold and defend, as well as the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the Charter of the Municipality of Anchorage,” Dunbar wrote on Facebook.
“No document written by human beings is perfect. All of our laws are creations of people, and like all people are fallible. Fortunately, our laws can be changed, and hopefully changed for the better. Our nation has come a long way, but there is still much work left to be done. Ignoring our history or denying our shortcomings in the present will not bring us closer to that “more perfect Union” we seek. Like many of you, I have sworn an oath to, as the Preamble to the US Constitution states, “provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” I look forward to doing so again, because I believe this is a nation where change is possible, and where those blessings can be more equitably shared with people who have historically been cast aside.”