Daily Archives: December 18, 2002

I don’t know what’s in Trent Lott’s heart, although he’s already talked far too much about it for my taste,

says Abigail Threnstrom in her NYT op-ed Trent Lott’s Blow to Civil Rights

But two things are clear. A lot of Americans, including most black Americans, will never believe his contrition. And Mr. Lott, by playing the supplicant while clinging to his post as Senate majority leader, has conceded Republican leadership on race-related issues to the Democrats and the traditional civil rights community.

Let’s stop right here. “Including most black Americans”? Weren’t we the offended parties in all of this? Not at all, in Thermstrom’s view. The true offense was the way the L’Affaire Lott has conceded Republican leadership on race-related issues to the Democrats and the traditional civil rights community.

In other words the Civil Rights movement is a wholey owned and operated subsidiary of those opposed to the Civil Rights movement. And that’s the reason why so many “Conservatives” have been so bellicose in their rage against Lott’s loose lips.

For those unfamilair with Thernstrom, whose NYT op-ed states that she is “a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a member of the United States Comission on Civil Rights,” one should go here, and to the Gore Vidal essay to which it refers. But in many ways the NYT op-ed is a perfect starting point.

In his interview Monday on Black Entertainment Television, Mr. Lott called the controversy a “wake-up call,” talked of a bipartisan “task force of reconciliation,” came out for “across the board” affirmative action and savaged his own lawmaking decisions with the bizarre claim that “my actions, I think, don’t reflect my voting record.” Read between the lines: he will now take his cues from the Democrats and their allies like the N.A.A.C.P. and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

And that is the problem. For Lott is only encouraging African-Americans to by-pass the plantation the Republican party has been so anxiously constructing for them over the last deade. And what’s worse his words may spur a revolt by whites (as always Thernstrom’s chief concern) as well. To whit —

Thus, the original tragedy — remarks that certainly sounded racist at Strom Thurmond’s birthday bash — is compounded by his new posture as groveler-in-chief of the Republican Party. At a time when fighting racial inequality requires a willingness to challenge the mainstream civil rights establishment, Mr. Lott’s party will no longer be able to stand tall.

Oh sure it will. Hypocrisy is the Mother’s Milk of the Republican Party.

On BET, Mr. Lott was defensive about receiving an F on the latest N.A.A.C.P. Congressional report card, saying that that “I have been changing.” Yet this report grades politicians on such partisan, non-civil rights matters as their votes on extending unemployment benefits to aviation workers and increasing global AIDS financing. Not surprisingly, every Senate Republican received an F — even moderates like Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snow. Mr. Lott can aim for a better mark, but he won’t get one, not as a Republican.

So he should become a Democrat?

The shame is that surrendering civil rights issues to the left would not be in the public interest or that of black Americans.

That’s worth repeating.

The shame is that surrendering civil rights issues to the left would not be in the public interest or that of black Americans.

So Civil Rights, rather than being in the public interest overall, can only be viewed as legitimate if handed-down from the Right.

Democrats and civil rights organizations are stuck staring into a rearview mirror. Of course, racism has not entirely disappeared, but the Democrats’ attachment to yesterday’s ideas — that inequalities can best be corrected through policies of racial preference — is a golden opportunity for Republicans to advance new ideas.

One need not look in a rearview mirror when standing right in front of you is a white racist as Senate Majority Leader in the year 2002. And as everyone knows “policies of racial preference” have been practiced by whites — hell, enshrined by whites — for centuries. Seeking to redress the balance by encouraging minority hiring in a policy known as “Affirmative Action,” African-Americans were quickly confronted with a wall of opposition armed with a pack of spurious lies that has led to the widespread belief that “Affirmative Action” would require the firing of superior whites to have their jobs taken by inferior blacks.

Take what is arguably today’s most important civil rights issue: the racial gap in academic achievement. Robert Moses, a luminous figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, says that “the absence of math literacy . . . is an issue as urgent as the lack of registered black voters in Mississippi was in 1961.” English literacy is equally important.

One can see Thernstrom reaching for her copy of “The Bell Curve” — doubtless always at hand.

Yet the political left talks almost entirely of “re-segregated” and underfunded schools, and pushes for more busing and more spending, a strategy that has failed for decades.

Failed to flatter white racists like Thernstrom.

Democrats also believe in collective bargaining rules that allow dreadful teachers to retain their jobs.

We all recall how the Board of Education was contracturally obligated to “hire the dreadful,” don’t we?

Their emphasis on “self-esteem” results in the dumbing-down of educational standards, what President Bush has rightly called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

In other words “how dare they force us to hire those dumb niggers!”

After an era of liberal leadership, the typical black or Hispanic student graduates from high school today with junior high skills, according to the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Thus making them ideal for the sort of help she wants around the house. The only problem is minimum wage. Happily “illegal immigration” comes to the rescue on that score.

If Mr. Lott cedes civil rights issues to the Democrats, how can Republicans in Congress join the majority of black parents who want vouchers so that their children can escape public schools that have become graveyards for hope?

And how can Thernstrom at this very late date still be pushing for vouchers when even this fraud’s most active proponents have conceded that it can in no way fulfill so much as a limited conversion from public to private education?

For years, Republicans have run in terror from most controversial race-related issues. But it was not always so. More than 80 percent of Republicans in Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Congressional Republicans can recapture the moral high ground — but not if their Senate leaders are unable to stand up to groups that are often at odds with the interests and even the views of their own minority constituents

And they will continue to run in terror, as Aaron McGruder demonstrates on a daily basis in “Boondocks.”

As for the Civil Rights “leaders” that most trouble Thernstrom, she’d be advised to take heed of Cedric the Entertainer in Barbershop. In fact, if she were serious about race relations in this country she’d be advised to visit an actual African-American barbershop.

But of course that would be asking too much.