I looked for a transcript of Charles Rangel’s post-censure speech given to Congress yesterday. Since I was unable to find any transcript, I decided to transcribe the speech myself. Why? I wanted to read and study carefully the words of someone whom I had admired and respected over the years. When I first heard his speech on the internet, I was disappointed in not hearing a contrite, humble apology, acknowledging his wrongdoing. Rather, what I heard was an appeal to a higher body—perhaps a heavenly tribunal—to judge his life’s work. How sad, how disappointing, how tragic for our youth, who need to know and learn the consequences of doing wrong. Equally as distressing and appalling was the sound of applause by certain members of Congress, expressing approval of Charlie’s non-contrite, non-apology (Charlie merely apologized for members of Congress being placed in this awkward position presumably of having to vote on his censure: give me a break).
But you be the judge. Perhaps I am being too hard on Charlie Rangel. Here is my transcript of his speech and you have the video, too:
I fully recognize that constitutionally that this body has the full jurisdiction to determine the conduct of one of its members. My predecessor suffered because they did not allow him to be a member before they decided that he should be expelled. But notwithstanding that we do know that we are a political body and even though it is painful to accept this vote, I’m fully aware that this vote reflects, perhaps, the thinking not just of the members but the political tide and the constituency of this body.
Having said that and having my opportunity to do what I wanted to do initially, and that is to make certain that this body and this country would know that at no time has it ever entered my mind to enrich myself or to do violence to the honesty that is expected of all of us in this house.
I think that has been proven and that has been what I’ve been asking for and that’s why I have admitted to mistakes and was prepared to do what I have done. I understand that this is a new criterion, a breakthrough, in order to teach somebody a higher lesson than those that in the past that have done far more harm to the to the reputation of this body than I.
But I just would want all of you to know that in my heart, I truly feel good. It’s not all the commitments that I made to God in 1950. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I know in my heart that I’m not going to be judged by this Congress, but I’m going to be judged by my life, my activities, my contributions to society. And I just apologize for the awkward position that some of you that are in. But at the end of the day, as I started off saying, compared to where I’ve been, I haven’t had a bad day since. Thank you.