Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mississippi Senators AWOL on Lynching Apology

Although Mississippi led the nation in the number of Jim Crow-era lynchings (Texas came in third), neither one of its senators was on hand to cosponsor a Senate resolution apologizing for not doing anything to stop the lynchings.

Sen. Thad Coleman says he couldn't sign on because he had to make an official trip to the Paris Air Show. Thurmond-lovin' Sen. Trent Lott had no comment on the matter.

While the lynching apology is primarily a PR move that does nothing to right past wrongs, the Mississippi senators' conspicuous absence speaks volumes about how far they'll sink to court the support of dead-end racist scumbags. Our own Sen. John Cornyn keeps Texas from looking much better by being another one of the senators that didn't cosponsor the resolution.

Although the House passed anti-lynching legislation three times in the first half of the 20th century, Southern senators derailed it for decades via filibusters. Because this week's apology was passed by voice vote rather than roll call, senators didn't have to go on record as opposing the resolution. As it is, guys like Lott can use their inaction to get out the racist vote while maintaining a thin veneer of plausible denial.

Given the GOP's spirited defense of its diversity in the face of Howard Dean's recent attacks, I was quite surprised to learn all of the senators currently on record as not cosponsoring the lynching apology are white Republicans.

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