COMMENTARY: A More Diverse Congress, a More Perfect Union?

By Julianne Malveaux | 1/6/2019, 8:02 a.m.
The 116th Congress, sworn in on January 3, is the most diverse our nation has ever seen.
U.S. Capitol Wikipedia

It’s not about MAGA (Make America Great Again), it’s about MAF, or Make America Fair. This is what Congressman James Clyburn shared when he spoke at the ceremonial swearing-in. He opened with the words of French historian Alexis Tocqueville, who observed when visiting this country: “the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

Clyburn went on to list the many ways our nation has attempted to self-correct, from the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation to the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring “separate but equal” to be “inherently unequal.” Clyburn talked about the Great Society legislation, another of our nation’s attempts at self-repair, and he concluded by saying that, “America does not need to be made great again, she is already great. Our challenge is to make that greatness apply fairly and equitably to all of our citizens.”

Can this diverse new Congress make our nation fair for many who have never experienced our nation in the way it is supposed to be? In the words of Langston Hughes, “It never was America to me.” We’ve come a long way since he wrote his 1935 poem, but we still have so much to do. After these last two dystopian years under the leadership of President Genital Grabber (let’s just call him GG), this new Congress offers us many possibilities. May they manifest!

Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via for booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visit