To the Editor:
Enough is enough; Lucas has to go
Three front-page Tribune articles report on the latest embarrassment from District 69 representative Jim Lucas. (Tribune article “Lucas accused of racist post” on May 13; Tribune article “House duties for Lucas changed” on May 16-17; Tribune article “NAACP calls for Lucas to resign” on May 20).
News outlets across the country picked up the story.
Jim Lucas published a picture of young black kids dancing. Innocent enough until he added the caption “We gon’ get free money” to create a meme that, in my opinion, turned innocence into a well-worn racist depiction of black people.
Lucas uses a language trick called a false dilemma (false choice) to defend his actions. He claims he is not a racist and does not believe his meme to be racist, but he says if you think the picture is racist, then you are a racist. He wants us to believe there are only two choices: If you agree with him, you are not a racist, but if you disagree with him, you are. Sorry, Mr. Lucas. The facts and the choices are seldom this simple. This picture is a dog whistle to racists who can infer that an elected Indiana official supports their racist views.
I see it as something we as adults would not tolerate from sixth-graders. With the responsibility that comes with his office, we must demand a higher level of thought, discretion and action. We can’t tolerate his misbehavior anymore.
Lucas says he was trying to get people thinking about the ramifications of a stimulus package that added trillions to our national debt. There are better ways to send that message without relying on racist memes. Here are two examples.
First, he could show a picture happy Boeing executives shouting “Free money.” Boeing is eligible for a $17 billion tax break in the stimulus package. This is the same Boeing that recently spent $43 billion buying back its own stock to enrich its executive team (rather than invest in the business), the same Boeing that sits on $24 billion in cash, the same Boeing whose leaders bungled the engineering on the 737 Max jetliner that reportedly caused two deadly crashes.
Second, he could show a picture of oil executives shouting “Free money.” The oil industry is eligible for $2 billion in tax breaks in the stimulus package.
This is not the first time Lucas has brought ridicule to himself, our district and our state. And it likely won’t be the last. The Indiana House Republican leadership finally said “Enough is enough.” They removed Lucas from two study commissions and demoted him from a leadership position in a third. And The Tribune reported that the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP submitted a resolution to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly calling for the resignation and censure of Lucas.
There is an easy fix for this. District 69 voters can stop these embarrassments by simply voting Jim Lucas out of office. Enough is enough.
Joe Bradley, Brownstown