No, I haven't forgotten about my blog...
...it's just that tomorrow is my LAST day of classes at Harvard EVER, and I'm trying to write three or four different papers tonight on African Diasporic archaeology, postcolonial violence, narrative strategies in the modern Sudanese novel, and the like. So I'm sitting here rereading The Wretched of the Earth with a splitting headache in severe withdrawal from my usual heavy dosage of news and political analysis (today is one of those rare days I didn't get up early and skim newspapers and blogs and the like for a few hours)... anyway, for now why don't you sit back, relax, and check out the transcript of Trent Lott's appearance on BET last night? Includes such gems as the following exchanges:
LOTT: I believe that I have changed and that I'm trying to do a better job. But yes, I'm a part of the region and the history that has not always done what it was supposed to have done.And so on.
But let me tell you...
GORDON: Let me do that before you go on, and I promise you I'll let you get to that. But clear up a couple of things for me, if you will.
First being, in the statement that you say was off the cuff--an off-the-cuff remark, you said "We wouldn't have had all the problems that we've had over these years," and as you know it's been reported that 22 years ago you essentially said the same thing about Strom Thurmond.
What problems specifically are you talking about when you say that?
LOTT: When I got to know Strom Thurmond--really know him, was in the--I guess, in the '80s--late '70s or '80s, I saw a senator that was committed in the fight against communism, that had fought Nazism, a senator that was for fiscal responsibility, you know, and one that also thought that law and order was very important, protecting people of all races against crime. That's what his focus was.
GORDON: But you also saw a senator that personified for years segregation.
LOTT: Yes, but let me tell you...
GORDON: Did you not, though?
LOTT: I did. I did.
GORDON: And you knew and understood what he stood for? LOTT: I--absolutely I did.
* * *
GORDON: Let's be honest: You would not be sitting here with me this evening had it not been for this.
LOTT: That's true, except that, you know, years ago, I've done interviews before with Black Entertainment Television reporters.
But, look, I don't want to get this into a position of making excuses. I accept the fact that I made a terrible mistake, used horrible words, caused hurt. I'm sorry about that. I've apologized for it. I've asked for forgiveness. And I'm going to continue to do that.
But in answer to your question a moment ago, it is about actions more than words. As majority leader, I can move an agenda that would have things that would be helpful to African-Americans and minorities of all kinds and all Americans, but specifically aimed at showing African-Americans that they have particular concerns and needs that we have to advance an agenda that will help rural and...
LOTT: ... urban areas, education, so that every child really does have an education.
GORDON: But, Senator, many of those African-Americans believe, quite frankly, that that was you speaking in code to constituents with a wink and a nod saying, "You know, the good old days."
So you tell us, so we won't have conjecture on what you meant, what did you mean when you said, "those problems"?
LOTT: I was talking about the problems of the defense and communism and budgets and governments sometimes that didn't do the job.
But again, I understand, Ed, that that was interpreted by many the way it was. And I should have been sensitive to that.
I, you know, obviously made a mistake. And I'm going to do everything I can to admit that and deal with it and correct it. And that's what I hope the people will give me a chance to do, to show that I--there's an opportunity here. This is a wake-up call.
GORDON: All right.
LOTT: And this is an opportunity for me to do something about years of misbehavior.
GORDON: Well, Senator, let's talk about those years of misbehavior, as you put it, and also go down your record, let you clarify some things.
* * *
GORDON: Let's talk about the King holiday.
LOTT: I want to talk about the King holiday. I want to go back to that.
I'm not sure we in America, certainly not white America and the people in the South, fully understood who this man was; the impact he was having on the fabric of this country.
GORDON: But you certainly understood it by the time that vote came up, Senator.
LOTT: Well, but...
GORDON: You knew who Dr. King was at that point.
LOTT: I did, but I've learned a lot more since then. I want to make this point very clearly.
I have a high appreciation for him being a man of peace, a man that was for nonviolence, a man that did change this country. I've made a mistake. And I would vote now for a Martin Luther King holiday.