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Two Delayed Reactions

Some days — or some hours each day — the thought of discontinuing Dust in the Light makes its appearance in my head. Today, because of complications following scheduled maintenance on my Web host's part, I was without the blog and, obviously, access to it. No matter how small my regular audience, I found it frustrating to be thus silenced, even for a few hours.

The lack of a blog was not my only reason for not commenting on the recent controversy over Senator Trent Lott's comments at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party (you can stream video of the "party" here; Sen. Lott comes on around minute 32):

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. 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."

I try to stay away from discussions of individual politicians beyond their current activities because my experience with and knowledge of them individually is limited. Many writers whose political opinions I trust have suggested that Lott, based on his last go at Republican leader in the Senate, ought not become the majority leader now. Many of the same people are suggesting that the above quotation ought to be cause to force Lott to hand over the reins of the Senate to somebody else.

Not knowing much about Senator Lott, I'm not as willing as some to see his statement as one step removed from "if it warn't fer dem damn Negroes." However, even giving him the benefit of the doubt — that he had in mind something other than civil rights, like federalism, or was merely being hyperbolic for the birthday boy — that a politician wouldn't know the obvious implications that some would draw from such a statement suggests that he isn't the best person to be the pointman of the party outside of the Presidency. Additionally, if the benefit of the doubt is merited, then Lott should strongly declare how he has been misinterpreted. Hopes to let such things fade do not speak well of leadership qualities.

As for Senator Thurmond, it seems to me that this controversy might illustrate how inadvisable it is for a politician to stick around for so long. The world changes, the nation changes, and although individual people change as well, we do carry our words and deeds with us long after their context has been forgotten by our fellow citizens.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:57 PM EST