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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Our Commonalities

May 18, 2015
Civility Message

Dear Friends,

A while ago, I spent a great deal of time thinking about and grieving over the situation with Richard Incognito and Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins. As many surely know, the voicemail messages that Incognito, who is white, left for Martin, who is African American, include racial epithets and other vile statements. Appropriately, Incognito was suspended from the Dolphins. Martin was so impacted by the bullying that he has quit the team and walked away from a multimillion dollar contract.

My rumination on this national football issue has led me to conclude that these NFL millionaires should have been close personal friends. Here are my reasons. Both of them were:

  • NFL football players
  • On the same team
  • Both offensive lineman
  • Both on the same side of the line
  • Both starters
  • Both wanted to see their team win
  • Both loved the sport

Unavoidably, I thought about us, the Members of Congress. Like Incognito and Martin, we have much in common:

  • The same process of getting to Congress
  • The same oath of office
  • The same rules of the House
  • The same goal of serving the nation
  • The same desire to succeed in our job
  • The same military
  • And the list goes on

It makes me wonder why we wage this unwarranted war within. There are issues vital to the nation that we could address if we begin every debate by reflecting on our commonalities.


Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress