Sunday, January 10, 2010

Republicans Argue A Reid/Lott Double Standard: Rubbish

Now usually I would stay out of this because a person of non-color, like myself, has no business weighing in on whether what Harry Reid said in what he thought were off the record remarks about President Obama’s skin color and “accent” was appropriate or not.

I’ll just say that in weighing who to support during the run-up to the primary season, I did not choose Barack Obama as my first choice at the time because I didn’t think America was ready to elect an African-American as President of the United States.

History and Obama’s masterful oratory proved me wrong.

But now that my senator, junior Senator John Cornyn has weighed in, and is calling for Harry Reid to step down from his leadership position – because of a double standard – well yes I do have to offer an opinion on the senator’s assertion: Rubbish.

John Cornyn is quoted in Politico as saying this:
“…any Republican who said what Reid said would be under attack from Democrats, leading African-Americans and the media.”
Enlarging on Cornyn’s observation RNC Chairman Michael Steele made the analogy that should make every progressive American’s blood boil:

“What’s interesting here, is when Democrats get caught saying racist things, an apology is enough. If that had been Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for president of the president of the United States, trust me, this chairman and the [Democratic National Committee] would be screaming for his head, very much as they were with Trent Lott.”
So, OK, we need a brief history lesson, then, don’t we?

In December 2002, at an event that feted the 100th birthday of Senator Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott as Senate Majority leader made the seemingly innocent observation that America would have been better off with Strom Thurman as President when he ran for the office in the 1948 election:

“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either.”
Republican apologists at the time claimed that Lott was simply showing his respect for the most senior senator (at the time). Others scratched the surface of his remark and didn’t like the smell that filled the room.

Trent Lott, like his mentor, Strom Thurmond, was a segregationist of the first order. When Lott attended university, the University of Mississippi, during the turmoil and race issues in the early ‘60s, Lott oversaw a controversy whereby his fraternity, Sigma Nu, was considering admitting African-Americans to its exclusive whites-only club. Recalls former CNN president Tom Johnson, a Sigma Nu member, “Trent was one of the strongest leaders in resisting the integration of the national fraternity in any of the chapters.”

In short, Trent Lott’s remarks in 2002 bespoke those of an unrepentant segregationist, someone who wished for simpler times when Whites held office and Blacks poured coffee.

In other words, Harry Reid’s remarks, while unfortunate and very much reflective of his White Judeo-Mormon Nevadan background, cannot hold a candle to Trent Lott’s racist reverie.

And even to suggest equivalence between their remarks is a trip down the path toward a bovine male’s defecation.


Z. Vaughn said...

Regardless of whether a Lott analogy is appropriate, Reid's comments are disgusting. They're also insulting to Obama as well as voters. And it should be noted as such.

Anonymous said...

Reid said nothing that wasn't true. How can you disagree when a person speaks the truth?

Hal said...

While I agree with that, and incidently, George Will said the exact same thing on Sunday, I can also get with the notion that his choice of words could have been better. That is, he could have said what I did in the blog without focusing in on aspects of President Obama's ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

Reid's comments were insensivity, true enough; however, he spoke a truth that is an actuality. The insensitivity comes into play when something is stated which is actual, hard truth and it stings and hurts to hear it spoken out lout. I'm African American so I know what I'm talking about.

My family ranges in all skin tones from light skinned to dark skinned.
It has been noted in our family that one of my brothers who is very light skinned always got hired on jobs quicker than some of the other siblings. And seemed to flow seamlessly from one job to another while others in the family who were, although, gainfully employed, but had a little more difficulty in getting hired on jobs and did not have the ease of flowing from one job to another if the opportunity presented itself in the same manner as the fairer skinned brother. I could go on and on. My son who is dark skinned but articulates "White" has been let go on harassment stops (Driving while Black-type stops) by police because as one policeman called to tell me--he speaks like he's from a good family. Good meaning he speaks “White” so he must be good.

I cannot bash Reid too harshly because he spoke truth. Now Trent Lott, lauded apartheid in these United States as a nostalgia occurrence. So what Lott stated and what Reid stated is altogether different.

Reid’s got caught speaking aloud about an ugly truth that is real, but we are embarrassed to say so aloud. Reid has a great voting record regarding civil right for minorities which also includes women. I forgive Reid.

Lott spoke about passé ugliness in a nostalgic lauding manner desiring the return of those ugly days. Furthermore Lott had a poor voting record regarding civil right for minorities which also includes women. I do not forgive Lott.

The Republicans want to make hay out of Reid’s comment because they want to defeat Reid’s political power. Republicans aren’t really concerned about this remark in that they are being sensitive for Black folks—it is just political games for the Republicans.