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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

On Senator Reid's Comments About Justice Thomas

If you're unfamiliar with the story, read it here.

I have to be honest, I don't see either Senator Lott's or Senator Reid's comments to be racist at all. I may be one of few in the world with that view. Let me give my arguments for each case. First, Senator Lott's remarks

To understand Lott’s comments, you have to take into account the CONTEXT. As you know, reviewing writings or remarks out of context will leave you, almost always, with a mistaken view of said writings or remarks. Sen. Lott was at a birthday party for a very old Sen. Strom Thurmond. At what, for all Lott knew, could be Sen. Thurmond’s last birthday party ever, Lott was one of many people in attendance who praised Sen. Thurmond, each for different reasons and different areas. Lott said, and I’m paraphrasing, America would be better off today if Strom Thurmond had won his bid for the Presidency in 1948. And his platform was unabashedly and rabidly segregationist. But it is highly doubtful that Lott was referring to segregation when he said we’d be better of had Thurmond won.

I believe the main reason he said what he did is that he knew Thurmond was close to death. He and others were showering the man with praise so he would feel that he’d led a good life, done things people would be proud of, and done important things. Given an elderly person the gift of pride and self worth is an honorable thing, and I believe that is why Lott made his remark.

And if I had to say that Lott WAS referring to a specific issue Thurmond lobbied for, I would say it would be states’ rights. When Thurmond ran in 48, he ran as a third party candidate in the “States’ Rights Party” that he helped create.

Having met and spoken with Senator Lott a handful of times, I can tell you he is not a racist, though he does hold a strong position on states’ rights. And that, if anything in particular, is what Lott was referring to when he said we’d be better off had Thurmond won.

As for Reid, all he said was that he didn’t think that Justice Thomas was that bright. He also said that his opinions weren’t well written. Personally, I don’t know Justice Thomas and I’ve only read a couple of his opinions. From what I can see, he seems fairly intelligent and good, though not excellent, writer. Reid never said “Justice Thomas is a dumb black guy,” or that “Justice Thomas is obviously dumb, look at him, he’s black!”

Just my thoughts

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