Sincerity is better than false apologies
What was the point of having Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., apologize for comments he made during Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration?
At the South Carolinian’s party earlier this month, C-SPAN caught Lott saying he was proud that Mississippi had backed Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist Dixiecrat presidential bid.
“We’re proud of it,” Lott said. “And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
Civil rights leaders have thrown their arms up in disgust. People are calling him a racist. Some even want him to resign his leadership post.
His words were alarming. But it’s his opinion. We can disagree with him, but why ask for an apology? Does anyone really believe it was sincere? It was a cop-out to the Politically Correct Police.
I would much rather hear what someone thinks than have them tell me what they think I want to hear. I want them to speak their beliefs — even if I disagree with it.
I am a huge supporter of the First Amendment. People should be able to say what they feel and think. I don’t have to like what is said. But the critical thing is that people — especially politicians — should be allowed to say what they want and not have to apologize for it.
If the voters of Mississippi don’t like what comes out of their representative’s mouth, then they can oust the bugger next time his name is on the ballot.
We seem to live in a world where people are too afraid to be honest. Face it — there are racists in this country. I don’t know Lott. I don’t know if he is a racist. But if I were a voter in his home state, I would start doing some research to see if he is someone I want representing me because I don’t want a racist speaking for me.
We all have certain prejudices even if they are minor. It’s the big ones that have no business in a public forum such as the United States Senate. It should be up to voters to make the final call.
But when it comes to private entities, it’s a whole different ballgame. I am all for private clubs even though I don’t belong to one.
If the Augusta National Golf Club wants to exclude women, then by all means exclude my gender. Of course things change when you mix men and women. Why shouldn’t men have their own clubs if they are privately funded?
Single-sex institutions become a problem at places like The Citadel which is a state-supported comprehensive military college in South Carolina. Tax dollars fund this bastion of higher learning. It wasn’t until 1995 that the courts intervened to allow Shannon Faulkner to be the first woman cadet.
And we thought segregation was abolished in the 1960s. Wrong. We should never allow our tax dollars to support programs that discriminate against anyone or any group of people.
If private groups want to fund an all-black, all-Latino, or all-white university, fine by me. If civic groups are privately funded, let them be filled with just one gender.
As long as no public money is in the coffers, people should be able to convene in private with whomever they want without the government mandating otherwise.
Being so politically correct with our rules and our speech is getting us nowhere. Open dialogue is the only way problems can be solved. We may not like what we hear, but we need to listen. We may not like that some people are not permitted on private property, but those are the rules. I get to decide who enters my home. Augusta and other places like it should have the same right in deciding who walks through their doors.
Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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