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Trent Lott Calls for Return to Racial Segregation

These are the people who are running America. Disgusting, isn't it?
Lott Decried For Part Of Salute to Thurmond
GOP Senate Leader Hails Colleague's Run As Segregationist

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 7, 2002; Page A06


Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi has provoked criticism by saying the United States would have been better off if then-segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

Speaking Thursday at a 100th birthday party and retirement celebration for Sen. Thurmond (R-S.C.) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Lott said, "I want to say this about my state: 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 all these years, either."

Thurmond, then governor of South Carolina, was the presidential nominee of the breakaway Dixiecrat Party in 1948. He carried Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and his home state. He declared during his campaign against Democrat Harry S. Truman, who supported civil rights legislation, and Republican Thomas Dewey: "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."

On July 17, 1948, delegates from 13 southern states gathered in Birmingham to nominate Thurmond and adopt a platform that said in part, "We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, said yesterday he was stunned by Lott's comments, which were broadcast live by C-SPAN. "I could not believe he was saying what he said," Lewis said. In 1948, he said, Thurmond "was one of the best-known segregationists. Is Lott saying the country should have voted to continue segregation, for segregated schools, 'white' and 'colored' restrooms? . . . That is what Strom Thurmond stood for in 1948."

William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said "Oh, God," when he learned of Lott's comments. "It's ludicrous. He should remember it's the party of Lincoln," referring to Lott's role as Republican leader of the Senate, which the GOP will control when the new Congress convenes next month.

Lott's office played down the significance of the senator's remarks. Spokesman Ron Bonjean issued a two-sentence statement: "Senator Lott's remarks were intended to pay tribute to a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. To read anything more into these comments is wrong."

Bonjean declined to explain what Lott meant when he said the country would not have had "all these problems" if the rest of the nation had followed Mississippi's lead and elected Thurmond in 1948.

Lott's comments came in the middle of Thursday's celebration for Thurmond, Congress's oldest and longest-serving member. Lott followed at the lectern former Senate majority leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan). Initially Lott made jokes about Dole and then became serious when discussing how Mississippi voted in 1948.

The gathering, which included many Thurmond family members and past and present staffers, applauded Lott when he said "we're proud" of the 1948 vote. But when he said "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond had won, there was an audible gasp and general silence.

In 1998 and 1999, Lott was criticized after disclosures that he had been a speaker at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization formed to succeed the segregationist white Citizens' Councils of the 1960s. In a 1992 speech in Greenwood, Miss., Lott told CCC members: "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."

Asked to comment on Lott's remarks at the Thurmond celebration, Gordon Baum, CEO of the Council of Conservative Citizens, said "God bless Trent Lott."


2002 The Washington Post Company

homepage: homepage: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20730-2002Dec6.html

Trent Lott, the Compleat Fool 07.Dec.2002 02:32

a south carolinian transplant

Trent Lott is really the compleat fool. His remarks at the 100th birthday of Strom Thurmond are inexcusable and reveal his atavistic ideals in a true light. Believe me, this type of statement is NOT atypical of Lott, a longtime member (or at least tireless supporter) of the Mississippi Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that was once better known as the White Citizen's Council. The Council of Conservative Citizens is openly segregationist and could really be thought of as the businessman's less tawdry KKK.

These are the kind of people that unfortunately comprise the good ol' boy network that never put away the tools of electoral intimidation and rigged elections; the ones that brought us George W. Bush despite the fact that he lost the election of 2000.

Also keep in mind that Lott's attitude is not a rarity in the South. The man would not have uttered the words if he did not truly believe that they would be taken at face value, and supported.

The fact that Trent Lott is among the vanguard of the right-wing southern conservative branch of the Bush assault on our nation and its core values only serves to deepen the sad reality of his comments.

a little more grecian? 07.Dec.2002 07:40

this thing here

gotta love his hair, his accent, and his total, smooth, smarmy, southern gentleman look. the reason he's so cheesy and creepy smooth is because he's not genuine. he uses all that charm to hide what he really is and what he really thinks.

Call For Lott to step down 07.Dec.2002 14:05

abbie hoffman

Trent Lott really overstepped this time. Exposing the true colors of the Republican leadership. Write to Gordon Smith and demand that if he truely opposes the racist segrational views of Lott and the southern conservatives that he should demand Lott step down as Senate Majority leader. www.senate.gov/~gsmith/

Yet more evidence 07.Dec.2002 15:54

P. Tarquinius Constans

That letting the South back into the Union after the Civil War was the stupidest mistake in all of US history.

to thine ownself lie? 07.Dec.2002 16:24

f0reverneverm0re

i see--or rather *feel*--it everyday in the faces of Portland's Trent Thurmonds or Strom Lotts or Prescott Limbaughs II or whoever. it's that understanding that, one day, soon, their day shall come and they will no longer have to hide in the darkest recesses of their own hearts.

*they* long to be free in a world that suits them, but in order to achieve their freedom, they have make attempts at the freedom of those in this world based on ideals of "modern humanism".

i talk to people everyday who think in apparently strange ways; there's the acquaintance who talks about the coming "Apocalypse" and how it would be a wise thing to get a ton of guns, dry and canned goods and head for the hills (like there's enough ammo and manpower to stop a federal police force); there's the person who just wants to "have some more fun" before it's all over (self-serving, but hey, that's their thing).

then, there are the people who desire for certain people in their general environment to just die and possibly having the willingness to help in anyway they can with the carrying out of such deeds. "Nation First!" and "homeland security" movements in Canada and the US especially speak of such willingness--in my mind, people who blindly go along with such 'evil' might themselves be considerably evil people.

people who rip down peace signs because they feel that they rather like the perpetuation of war; closet racists/fascists who don't like niggers or women but who would have the audacity to even smile in your face on a daily basis if you are of the hated breed.

*they* seem just to want to hate people who sincerely want to express love as best they can--now that's some sick shit :)

yep, i can feel evil, can see it's beady eyes (to paraphrase Thom York).

am i worried, no. i love to bear witness to the truth of myself (acknowledging my own evilness) and the truth of my universe. how will i know if my theory holds true, that evil people abound? i'll just have to wait and see what happens around and to me. if my neighbor doesn't threaten to call the police simply for walking past their house, or if i don't get called names walking down the street, or a posse of thugs doesn't try to roll on me, or "secret agent men" don't try to nab me, then apparently, everything should work out just fine.

i can (and do) have 'love' for human beings, though i neither trust nor have faith in them in terms of their (our) judgement and decision making. and why should i trust or have faith in people when i can prove that they are *potentially* 100% fallible--people can and do make "mistakes" and hoping that they don't make the ones that could be seen as harmful to you goes against reason.