Re "Lott Tries to Quell Furor Over Remark," Dec. 10: By now Sen. Trent Lott's (R-Miss.) remarks, captured by CSPAN, are part of the public record: "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."
Anyone who knows the platform that Thurmond ran on in 1948 -- racial segregation at any cost -- knows what Lott meant by "these problems."
This is the same Trent Lott who saluted the former members of the Council of Conservative Citizens for how they stood up for their principles, i.e., white supremacy.
This is the same Trent Lott who pushed so hard for the nomination of a friend, Charles Pickering, who passed on undercover intelligence reports he had received from the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission to an employer that was having "union problems." This commission is another relic from the days when Mississippi refused to recognize those parts of the Constitution it didn't like and the rights of African Americans.
All the spinning in the world cannot change the fact that the Republican Party now has a leader who is an unreconstructed white supremacist and who promotes the cause whenever possible. That Mississippi has sent him to the Senate is regrettable. That the rest of his party has made him their leader in the Senate is inexcusable.
As a Republican who hates racism, the issue is no longer Lott's statement or unbelievable "apology" about a "poor choice of words" that could never have been made by anybody other than a man with racism in his heart or no brain in his head.
The issue is the reaction of the Republican leadership. Without a swift, unambiguous statement by President Bush, all elected Republicans and Republican officials that condemns Lott and urges his resignation as Senate Republican leader, the Republican Party will rightly be seen as endorsing either racism or complete stupidity. Every hour that ticks by without such a statement decreases the credibility of any such statement when, and if, it finally comes.
Allan J. Favish
We have reached a new low. The head of the party of Lincoln in the Senate makes a racist remark and the head of the Senate Democrats, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), makes excuses for him. It is not hard to understand the basis of Lott's remarks. Lott spoke from his heart, and his heart is racist. Shame on both Lott and Daschle! They should resign in favor of people who understand what it is to lead.