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Archive for Friday, December 13, 2002

Remarks at Thurmond event may force Lott to shuffle on home

December 13, 2002

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This time he may have to pack his bags and shuffle on home. He may have to lie on his back at night and think of how perfectly things were run in his home state before 1860.

We'll see.

The "he," of course, is Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. In late 1998 and early 1999, when I was writing column after column about him and calling for his resignation because of his connection to the Council of Conservative Citizens, there was no response from the media, with the exceptions of Frank Rich and Bob Herbert of The New York Times.

That proved to me that all the talk about a liberal media bias was bunk -- at least when it comes to race.

What better target could there have been? Here was a man from Mississippi, a heaven for rednecks. Here was the council, an organization that described itself as "pro-white," that published articles in its organ, the Citizens Informer, that advocated separation of races and discouraged interracial marriage.

Lott had published a column in the Citizens Informer and had his picture on the cover of an issue in 1992. The photograph showed Lott giving a speech to the council at "the exclusive" (guess what that means) Green Country Club in Greenwood, Miss. The accompanying article quoted Lott as saying: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries."

We can go back further. While addressing the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Biloxi, Miss., in 1984, Lott said: "The spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican platform." Jefferson Davis was a traitor, as you might know, since he was the president of the Confederacy that tried to split the Union over slavery after Abraham Lincoln was elected president.

In the fall 1984 issue of Southern Partisan, Lott is quoted as referring to the Civil War as "the war of Northern aggression." I do believe the Confederates fired the first shot.

Now there is plenty of talk, because Lott went to the microphone last weekend and let his collar slip, revealing the deep crimson in his neck.

It was a celebration of the retirement of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who switched from Democrat to Republican when he concluded that the Democrats had become too liberal.

Politics will put unlikely heads on the same pillow. Thurmond went up against his Senate buddy from North Carolina, Jesse Helms, over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday when Strom knew it would be political suicide to vote against it.

Given such political smarts, I doubt that Thurmond expected Lott to proudly tell the audience that Mississippi had voted for the old man in 1948 and add that if the country had followed suit we would not have had all of the problems that we had later. Thurmond ran as a segregationist, and I believe I saw some old footage of him on a podium with a klansman.

Lott might survive all this. He is not black. If he were, and if he had associated with a racist black organization, the media would have pressed his pants while he was wearing them.

In the name of true equality brotherhood, I wish Brother Lott a daily hot iron or two. He would then better understand the Negro.




Stanley Crouch is a columnist for the New York Daily News. His e-mail address is scrouchedit@nydailynews.com.

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