Shouting into the Storm Rantings, ramblings, observations and musings from the insipid to the sublime

Tuesday, December 17, 2002 :::
Why the Trent Lott mess matters

It's been pretty tough to get away from the car-wreck that has become Trent Lott's political life these days. As we all know by now, he got a little carried away during old Strom's centennial birthday party, and issued a rather breathtaking statement about segregation. After the media sat on their hands for a few days, the storm finally hit. He pulled a Clinton and apologized....for the words he used. And he got slammed, and apologized again, and got slammed again.

Great, you are thinking, but what's the big deal?

The big deal is that Lott isn't just another Senator with an opinion. He is, at the moment, slated to be reinstated as the majority leader in the Senate. This is an immensely powerful position, and makes him one of the top five mouthpieces for the Republican party. The majority leader oversees who gets committee seats, sets the legislative agenda, decides what gets to the floor for debate and a vote. He is, in short, one of the two poster children of the GOP Congressional caucus.

OK, you might say, but still, it's just an old black vs. white thing again, right?

Absolutely not. It is a deep cultural riff inherent in many a southerners heart. You don't think these views are still around? The I direct you to none other than the Council of Conservative Citizens. The site pretty much speaks for itself. Trent Lott has written for them, he has spoken at their meetings, and is a firm believer of that whole "Southern Heritage" crap. And here is where it becomes more than just black vs. white. That might have been how the debate was framed in the 50s and 60s, but not now. At it's core, it is a white Christian vs. non-white, non-Christian battle. So that means this affects the Jews, the Hispanics, the Arabs, the gays. It is all the people who moved here from India to help the economy boom in 90s.

And the kicker of this is?

Even though he came out and publicly scolded Lott, this is Dubya's political base. He spoke at Bob Jones University during the campaign in 2000, an institution that prohibits homosexuals and inter-racial dating. The Bush tactics in South Carolina during the primary there were equally on par. And former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed is now the head of the GOP in Georgia. Lott is not merely one person who shot is mouth off. He is a powerful man who let slip a dirt little secret - the Old South hasn't gone away quite yet. And the more these people are exposed for what they truly stand for, and what they want the Red White and Blue to stand for, the better.

::: posted by Chris at 12:15 AM

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Rantings, ramblings, observations and musings from the insipid to the sublime

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