is not a hero of mine, but is an indubitably important American public figure, and I admire him for many things (i.e. his longevity - not many people live to be 100). However, he was a segregationist prior to the 1960's, but virtually every politician from the South was a segregationist at that time. (It would have been impossible in most parts of the South to be elected to public office without being an advocate of segregation. Remember, racial segregation was common in all parts of society throughout the USA, not just in the South, prior to the 1960's. For example, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and President Truman integrated the armed forces around 1950, after
World War II).
However, after 1964 Thurmond, like most of his colleagues, changed and repudiated his segregationist views. He was the first Senator from the South to hire black staffers, and as member of the Senate Judiciary Committee he advocated several black jurists for federal judge appointments.
Sen. Lott was trying to compliment Sen. Thurmond in a flattering way during his 100th birthday, and it would have been OK had he stopped after the first sentence mentioning his 1948 Presidential run. However, he went too far with his second sentence, implying that America would have been better off had it embraced Dixiecrat segregation. His words are not the words that a leader of a major political party should say during any public setting, especially the party that is less favored among most people in the media and members of most racial minority groups.
I have been reading much commentary about this event since I first heard about it, and most of the opinions from the conservative press have been negative towards Lott and repudiate his comments, and many commentators urge that he resign his leadership position. I believe that Lott should resign as Senate Majority Leader, because there are many Republican Senators who would be far better for the position than Lott and would advance the Republican Party's interests and goals far better then he would. An example of a good column that closely mirrors my views is by Deroy Murdock
of National Review
. You can also read other columns on the opinion site Townhall.com
, on the Wall Street Journal
, and newspapers from the South such as the Mobile Register
of Alabama and the Clarion-Ledger