"If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it." Well, don't be surprised if the drama that is the real world has started looking like a rerun. Too often, when Mississippi appears to be discarding the vestiges of racism that has crippled it for decades, someone here does or says something, well, stupid. Needless to say, it's kind of embarrassing how we've yet again given a platform for ignorance to rear its ugly head.
In recent weeks, our past has come back to haunt us. Or even still, taunt us, watching to see if we've learned anything from past mistakes. Quite honestly, that answer is a resounding no. Case in point: Recently, the U.S. Senate voted to finally apologize for not passing any anti-lynching legislation. It's bad enough that lawmakers couldn't get it right after nearly 200 attempts. It's even worse yet that the apology now would be nothing more than a gesture. What hurts our image the most is the fact that out of 80 senators who co-sponsored the resolution, two of our own, Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, were missing during the vote.
Given Mississippi's infamous history of civil rights atrocities, this duo should jump at the chance to spit-shine the state's image. The more I analyze it, the more I'm faced with the harsh truth that there are some who still long for those days when black folk "knew their place." The good ol' boy network seems to be alive and well here. We've yet to cut that virus out of our system.
Cochran's excuse that he shouldn't "apologize for something he did not do" is ridiculous—plain and simple. Although you may not have pulled the trigger or tied the knots, Thad ol' buddy, you lived in a climate that allowed it, and said nothing. As a lawmaker, and one elected by the people, that makes you an accessory. Your silence, and the silence of many of your colleagues past and present, cost hundreds of African-Americans their lives.
Bottom line, there is no excuse! Bottom line, any senator who failed to sign that resolution is a racist! No one even knows where Lott was, but he's already shown where he stands anyway. I would expect nothing less—especially from a state that led the nation in lynching.
Then, as if bad taste wasn't enough, they capped it off with bad timing—the resolution passed on the first day of the Edgar Ray Killen trial. Way to set us back 50 years, fellas!
I understand if you see me as an angry black man, but walk a mile in my shoes, and you'll see my cynicism is warranted. Mississippi has been a laughing stock the past few months. All of us good, decent citizens are paying for the ignorance of a few. The state continues to be racist, because it seems we want it that way. And we can't prove different because we keep electing these yahoos into office.
And that's the truth. ... sho-nuff.
Kamikaze, I've never voted for Trent Lott but I voted once for Thad Cochran on the principle that he's different. I should have known better. Neither of them are getting my vote next time around.
Not that I expect them to be quaking in their boots over this; if they had to rely on Jackson to support them, they'd never have been elected in the first place. White, rural Mississippi seems to be where it's at.
I'm glad we at least have Bennie Thompson representing us here in Jackson, but then we also have Chip Pickering. Though I suspect Chip is miles better than Thad or Trent on race issues, even if his father is miles worse.
- Tom Head