Conyers: Should Great be the enemy of Perfect?

Since when did “great” become the enemy of “perfect?”

I’ve been pondering that thought since protest demonstrators sat-in in the office of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), a Founder and now the Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The protestors, are angry that Chairman Conyers has not initiated impeachment proceedings against President George W. (for Worst in history) Bush, and his combination brain and gonads, Vice President Dick Cheney–also known as Darth Vader.

Get a life, protestors. John Conyers is a good man, and a great member of Congress, who deserves the respect and admiration of all Americans and all peace loving people on earth.

If you want to get in a lively conversation with lots and lots of opinions, just ask a group of music aficionados, “Who is the most important musician in Jazz?” So, I figured I was on pretty safe ground, when I wrote10 years ago, in a profile in Midwest Arts Magazine, that “John Conyers is the most important non-musician in Jazz.”

His contributions to American Classical Music are monumental; HR-57, the Act of Congress which proclaims Jazz to be an “American National Treasure,” and The American Classical Music. Of course there is the annual CBC Jazz concert which he has sponsored and hosted for more than two decades during the CBC’s Annual Legislative Weekend, and much, much more.

When I told Rep. Conyers about the quote he responded, “what do you mean non-musician?” He reminded me of the bass violin in his office, which he said he still plays. Nobody’s perfect!

So, I have taken to calling the Detroit CBC member: the John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker of Legislation and Social Justice, “Mr. J.C.” John Conyers.

Mr. J.C., as in JowCol, as in the author, no, the composer who’s been in The Vanguard of political thought in these troubled times for 50 years! For workers. For peace. For example, beginning in 1968 John Conyers introduced every year until it was enacted into law, legislation to make the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday. Mr. J.C. is the composer of that tune.

But my first awareness of Rep. Conyers was in early 1973, when, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he called for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. What I did not know, was that even as he forged the way in The Vanguard of political thought in that troubled time, he had already introduced a bill to make the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday, in five previous sessions of Congress.

John Conyers introduced that legislation every year until it was enacted and signed into law by President Reagan.

When civil rights icon Rosa Parks left Birmingham, she relocated in Detroit, where she was employed for more than 25 years, performing constituent service for Congressional Black Caucus founder, John Conyers. She never had to worry about a salary, or about health or dental insurance for the rest of her life, working in the office of John Conyers.

In 1987, the 100th anniversary year of the birth of The Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Subcommitee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaires by John Conyers, held hearings to discover if Garvey deserves a pardon for the crimes for which he was fraudulently convicted by the U.S. government.Every year since then John Conyers has introduced HR-40, a commission to study the question of reparations owed by the United States to the descendants of slaves! Every year. Just like he did with the King Bill. He was right and courageous then. He’s right and courageous now. On Dec. 18, a Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on that important proposal.

His voting record reflects enormous courage. John Conyers did not join the stampede of House members who voted in lock-step this year, 400-plus-members strong, to condemn Iranian President Ahmadinejad on phony trumped-up charges.

John Conyers did not join the stampede of House members who voted in lock-step last month, 400-plus-members strong, to authorize HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet, and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism.

He is a good man and a great member of Congress. One who shows a commitment to conscience, that I admire so much in him. He was the WPFW-FM, Pacifica Radio Peace and Justice Award Recipient on Dec. 15, Mr. John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan.

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