The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, December 09, 2002  

But If Not, The Hell With All of You

I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, is going through the minds of the likes of Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today, that in light of the latest, and only the latest, evidence of the poorly disguised racism that is one of the defining characteristics of soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

In the event that Sen. Lott declines to resign or even to apologize for having heaped praise upon the 50-year-old, thoroughly discredited, and unconscionably heinous agenda of the 100-year-old, quasi-corpse known as Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the refusal of Sens. Chafee, McCain, Snowe, and Specter to abandon the oh-so-cleverly-subtle racist enterprise that is today’s Republican Party will speak volumes, not only about American politics today, but about political power generally and the morality and character of these particular senators.

In this country only a very select few -- 100 men and women at one time -- occupy the lofty, prestigious, and powerful post of U.S. Senator. We as a polity are right and just in holding these 100 persons to the highest of ethical standards.

And so, if, in the face of such disgraceful conduct by their own elected leader, these Republican senators, these otherwise reasonable men and women, again, namely, Sens. Chafee, McCain, Snowe, and Specter, and whoever else might choose to surprise us -- Sen. Ben Campbell (R-Colo.), perhaps? Ha ha ha! -- decide to stand by and stand behind the despicable white supremacist known as “Trent Lott,” then the hell with all of them. I’d rather not have them join the party and in such case I hope we will hear none of such “party-switching” nonsense again.

[Post-publication update, December 12: Today’s New York Times quotes Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) on the subject of Sen. Lott’s trip down memory lane: “His comment was an inadvertent slip, and his apology should end the discussion.”]

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