Senator Lott’s words a poor choice

At Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party last week, incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott shocked listeners by a comment made about Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign.

“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,” Lott said.

Almost immediately after the celebration people began speaking out against what Lott said. The reason there is such an uproar is that Thurmond’s presidential campaign was run on a pro-segregation ticket.

Some of Lott’s colleagues have gone so far as too ask for Lott’s resignation from the Senate.

While Lott didn’t come right out and say he supported or may still support segregation, he hasn’t come to fully explain what he did, in fact, mean. This is the problem.

Furthermore, Senator Lott made a similar comment in 1980 in his support for the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign. Lott made these comments after a speech by Thurmond.

This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, even though it has been made out to be one. This is a human rights issue.

Segregation always was and always will be one of the worst ideas in America. The comment by Lott may not have directly supported segregation, but it leaves too much room for interpretation.

Further proof that this goes beyond party lines is that President Bush came forth yesterday condemning Lott’s comments.

“Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized and rightly so. Every day that our nation was segregated was a day our nation was unfaithful to our founding ideals,” Bush said to great applause.

This is a classic example of the old adage that one must think before one speaks. Obviously people make mistakes and it can happen while speaking about others. This was not an acceptable mistake, though. When television cameras and colleagues are near, caution should be used even more so than when in private.

Lott is being asked to step down as Senate Majority Leader This may not be absolutely necessary at this time.

However, what is necessary is that Senator Lott hold a press conference and explain himself. He must explain to Americans as to why he said this and what he meant. We deserve more than just an apology, we deserve to know exactly how he feels about segregation. Then, perhaps, asking for a Lott’s resignation will be necessary.