December 20, 2002
By Ted Westervelt
In the immediate wake of the event, Senator Daschle brushed
off Trent Lott's daydreams of segregation. Democratic pundits
stood largely mute. Bill Clinton still hasn't made a public
peep. Al Gore, God bless him, finally lampooned him on SNL.
Given the current political climate, who could blame them
for thinking that paying homage to a segregationist's Presidential
candidacy wouldn't have legs?
The real story here is that the corporate media ran with
this story. After spending 25 months massaging of George W.
Bush's ego, carrying Republican PR initiatives ad nauseam
and glossing over any serious attempt at investigative journalism
into their roles in innumerable corporate scandals, Dick Cheney's
secret energy task force or Saddam's dubious connections to
bin Laden, General Electric, Fox and America Online suddenly
turned on an incoming Senate Majority Leader through their
Democrats are still wondering how it all happened. We have
become so accustomed to the kid glove treatment that every
Republican has gotten in the 24 hour spin cycle - we didn't
think that Trent Lott's wistful reminiscences of segregation
could even create a ripple. And obviously neither did he.
We were all wrong.
Somehow, in a sea of unreported Republican scandals, general
warmongering/electioneering, and the international posturing
that all of these heavy GOP contributors have been doing through
their 24 hour news arms, they found time, space and editorial
wiggle room to lambaste a southern Senator for admittedly
cryptic racist remarks for the umteenth time.
What the... Who the.... Where the.... Huh?
Turn off your flashlights and get into your sleeping bags,
this is getting a little creepy. Hold your friends close,
and enemies closer. The GOP boogeymen are again on the loose,
and this time, party affiliation provides no protection. Having
recently slain so many key partisan enemies with mega-million
dollar fusillades of vicious ads, derogatory statements and
blurted whispers questioning the very patriotism of their
Democratic rivals, did we really expect them to turn their
bloodthirsty tendencies off like a light switch on November
Instead, with their Senate majority hanging by a thread,
Republicans are willing slice into their own razor thin majority
in what amounts to a leadership and PR battle, and appear
to have given their clients in the corporate media enough
editorial rope to hang one of their own. You don't have to
look too closely to see the it in Pat Buchanan's face.
Trent Lott's dark faux pax(s) were as well documented as
Jesse Helm's, David Duke's, even Ronald Reagan's. Not to mention
that the man whose birthday celebration provided the gruesome
stage for the Roman tragedy ran for President as a segregationist,
after all. He wasn't the first target of dark and stealthy
group of predators whose keenly honed attack senses were picking
up a long awaited scent of blood. But he was the first to
be stalked by a dark and stealthy group of Republican predators
whose keenly honed attack senses were picking up a long awaited
scent of blood.
Meantime, their illustrious leader in the White House was
willing to go to extreme lengths to keep crazy old uncle Jeff
hidden in the deepest darkest corner of their bags of campaign
trix. Rules of engagement would have to be enforced: The ghost
of President Davis was only to be trotted out on special occasions
in front of very select crowds. Trot that ol' boy out in Washington,
DC in front of a bipartisan crowd and live TV, and you may
find yourself living in a shotgun shack.
So George W. Bush, despite his recent history of making campaign
speeches at a university that banned interracial dating, loudly
offers no comfort or aid. Other aspiring Republican leaders,
themselves fresh from kissing the ring of the former segregationist
Presidential candidate, steal in from the shadows to tear
his wounds open wider. We are witnessing a bizarre spectacle
usually reserved for avid Discovery Channel viewers like myself.
This isn't like the story a group of survivors from a horrific
plane crash in the Andes or a hapless wagon train in the Sierras
going to extreme lengths to insure their mere survival....
Or is it?
Pull up a chair, pop some corn. They're coming for their
own blood. Wouldn't it be cool if this was finally the "new
tone" we've heard so much about?