The Columbus Dispatch runs this article, "Senate Debate turns nasty," that tries to explain a "racially tinged" confrontation between Senator Ray Miller ("a black Columbus Democrat") and Senator Jeff Jacobson ("a white Republican from suburban Dayton"). Because it is not a long story you should read it yourself just to note how confusing it is. This may be a good exmaple of how not to write a news story. The article makes everything clear but the most important things: What was the cause of the confrontation and why was it racially tinged? The cause, somehow, had to do with "Lincoln’s actual view on slavery." Yet, this is not elaborated upon at all, save to say that the confrontation had to do (somehow) with a bill to declare September 22 Emancipation Day in Ohio (no further explanation is given) passed 33-0. The claim that the debate was "racially tinged" seems to have something to do with the fact that the President of the Senate (Sen. Bill Harris) put an end to the disorder (he called for a 10 minute recess). While Miller doesn’t claim that Harris is a racist, he says this: "What we have to be care of at all times is not to engage in some action that is racist, whether it is intended in a malicious manner or not." Another Democrat, C.J. Prentiss, however said this: "We absolutely perceived racist behavior. We’re not calling Bill Harris a racist, but it was racist behavior." I get it now. Thanks for the clarification. Why was it "racist behavior"? Perhaps this paragraph explains it:
"Democratic senators said they objected to Jacobson’s questioning Miller’s view on black history, including Lincoln’s stance on slavery. And they objected to Harris gaveling Miller out of order but allowing Jacobson to continue, even violating Senate rules by moving from behind his desk to continue the debate."
Well, maybe it doesn’t explain it, after all. I sure would like to know Miller’s opinion on "Lincoln’s stance on slavery" and what Jacobson’s objection to it was. Now, that would be interesting! Just for the record, Lincoln was always against slavery.
Update: A video of the exchange can be found here. The video does, however, end before the state troopers are called in.