I felt kicked in the gut yesterday.
I was sitting at the dinner table watching the news when I heard the NAACP and various politicians were calling for Trent Lott's resignation. I thought, oh good grief, what NOW??
I will admit, I did not know Strom Thurmond's history until yesterday. I didn't know why he was actually a historical figure - other than living over a century. I didn't care to ask my parents why, everytime Strom was mentioned, they would get a scowl on their face.
Now I know why.
In 1948, Strom Thurmond ran for President. His platform was based on segregation. Strom believed "seperate but equal" was needed and that Jim Crow laws should be enforced.
At Strom's recent birthday celebration: Lott said Mississippians were proud to have voted for Thurmond, the Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948, "and if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
My mouth fell open and yes, I did feel kicked in the gut. My God, did he say what I think I just heard??
Had Strom Thurmond, the "Dixiecrat" won, think of the implications.
- There would still be "White's Only" businesses
- There would still be "White's Only" hospitals and medical centers
- I would have to drink from seperate drinking fountains, use a seperate restroom
(The above examples were all "Jim Crow" based laws)
So, WAS Trent saying that by keeping these things in place that Strom based his platform on, we wouldn't have the problems of today?
I'd like to think that Trent got caught up in the moment of trying to honor someone who has been in congress for a lifetime, but somehow, I don't think so.
Edited to say: This is distressing, because it's possible that Trent is expressing what a lot of people in America might be feeling. That they would have been better off if minorities were never allowed to vote, still had to be seperated from whites, and never allowed ANY civil rights.
Strom Thurmond is also known for the longest filibuster in history: 24 hours AGAINST the civil rights bill.
Some may say we are overreacting, but, today I feel... sad.
Trent Lott's Remarks
Dec 11, '02
In fairness to TL, it most certainly is NOT clear that he was talking about segregation in his comments, and he probably was not (he's far too politically astute to have voiced racism intentionally), but was simply lending his cheers to a MOST senile outgoing senator, who appeared to be too far gone to even understand what the event was about. Much like RR's last public events.
ST is a hero in much of the South simply because he, on numerous occasions, "stood up to the Yankees," on many issues, which they always cheer. Not to mention the questionable achievement of living to be 100. TL was probably referring to this general issue. IMHO, anyway.
I'd hate to think what it would sound like if ANY of us were recorded 24 hours a day and phrases taken out of context were played back on national TV.
[And no, I didn't vote for either one of these dingbats.]
Last edit by sjoe on Dec 11, '02