I know, I always get into trouble when writing anything about politics. Why? Because liberals (oh, excuse me, progressives) attack me and so do conservatives. That’s because I go after stuff that is, quite literally, dumb. It’s not a political bend in the classic sense, it’s much more like taking a look at things that make no sense. In this case, it’s like standing in your own reeky cesspool while claiming that the opposition smells much worse.
During a senate confirmation hearing regarding Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., and addressed to then-senator Strom Thurmond. The year was 1986 and Thurmond was chairman of the powerful Committee on the Judiciary (US Senate.) In part, King wrote that Jefferson B. Sessions “… used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens [and] should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
King urged the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge and he did, in fact, fail.
My point has nothing to do with how you or I feel about Warren now because Sessions was sworn in as US Attorney General. That part is history and I’m not going to argue with anyone. Period. What disturbs me is something else.
While Warren and Bernie and every other Democrat (save one) screamed bloody murder over “the letter” that was not allowed to be read by her, they failed to look at one thing that stands out like a giant hemorrhoid. (Aside from the fact that Bernie did read it while castigating the majority party.)
What is it? It’s Strom Thurmond and the inconvenient truth that reeks of hypocrisy. Total hypocrisy, and it’s what always gets my dander up. You can take sides, but you’d better be able to back yourself up with a concrete foundation. In this case, you cannot. Sessions was accused of racism and the media only skimmed the surface. You never saw or heard or read anything but that, and the 1986 letter became the star attraction. Why the right said nothing is beyond me, too, but I guess they had no desire to stir the racial pot when it comes to dead politicians. Opening cans of worms come from all directions and they point at many living politicians.
Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond was a racist, pure and simple. So was late Senator Robert Byrd, also a Democrat, and a one-time Exalted Cyclops of the KKK. However, the Democratic Party rehabilitated both and turned them into legends. Byrd filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights act and supported the Vietnam War, but later renounced racism and segregation. Poof! That’s all it took. All because he was a Democrat. A Republican who even hinted at something similar? Look out, because that’s precisely what was just attempted.
In 1948, Strom Thurmond ran a presidential campaign. The King family was aware of it, too. Here’s part of his platform:
“I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, there’s not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and accept the Negro into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”
In 1957, he ran the longest filibuster in Senate history, 24 hours and 18 minutes, against school desegregation. When President Lyndon Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall as the first African American justice of the Supreme Court, Thurmond tormented him at the conference hearing by asking 60 broadly obscure legal questions. Thurmond v. Thurgood. Guess who won.
Thurmond was at one time such a racist that he never truly loved or accepted the bi-racial daughter he fathered with his parents’ underage maid. She was 16-years-old at the time and he was 22. In her autobiography, Essie Washington-Williams wrote: “As much as I wanted to ‘belong’ to him, I never felt like a daughter, only an accident.”
Do you understand why reading that particular letter only perplexes me? Granted, the letter was intended to be read to the entire senate and Thurmond was the judiciary head, but it made absolutely no sense to castigate someone you claim to be a racist by reading a letter addressed to a racist, albeit, a “self-rehabilitated” one. There must have been better examples to choose from.
I hope you understand that I would do the same thing to any Republican taking the same kind of stand. I will never stop pointing fingers at hypocrites. When George Zimmerman (indeed, no Democrat!) claimed he was not a racist, I pointed fingers his way. And they haven’t budged.