Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid is under fire for a comment he made during the 2008 campaign about Barack Obama: that he could win because he was a “light skinned black” who did not use “the Negro dialect” unless he chose to do so. What a stupid, insensitive, disgraceful comment!
However, Reid apologized to President Obama, and the President immediately accepted the apology, as he is not a person who holds grudges, as for example when he encouraged a committee chairmanship for Senator Joe Lieberman last year despite his support of Obama’s election opponent, Senator John McCain. Obama is a man of dignity and class, and does not act petty and vindictive, as so many politicians and other public figures have the propensity to do!
But the Republicans are calling on Reid to resign his leadership, as they compare him to their own Senate Majority Leader in 2002, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, who resigned after touting the career of retiring South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, by saying that if only we had elected Thurmond President on a third party line in 1948, then we would not have had all the troubles Lott said we have had in recent times.
The difference is so great that to compare Reid’s comment to Lott’s comment is ridiculous to the extreme! Thurmond was indeed a long time segregationist and racial supremacist, who ran as a “Dixiecrat” on the States Rights Party line in 1948, and utilized racist language as he did for most of his career, until a decade after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he finally started to de-emphasize the issue and even hire African Americans to his Senate staff. Even with that gesture, Thurmond was one of the most despicable racists in the Senate’s history!
In addition to that, Trent Lott himself was an obvious racist, as he often spoke before white supremacy groups, although he claimed he did not know of that fact. He was extremely insensitive on race matters all through his time in the Senate, and his championing of Thurmond in the manner he did in 2002 was extremely outrageous, and even President George W. Bush was critical of the tone and manner of Lott’s statements, so he appropriately resigned.
So when the GOP brings up Lott and compares him to Reid, it is really an issue of hypocrisy, not of righteousness. But then again, the Republican party has been on the wrong side of civil rights for a long time, and are certainly NOT the party of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Sumner, and Thaddeus Stevens in the era of the Civil War. In today’s world, the Republicans ARE the “Confederates” who support states rights and secession, as for instance, Governor Rick Perry of Texas!
So Harry Reid is no Trent Lott, clearly and absolutely!