red white and blue — and white 23 August 2008Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, U.S. Senate.
[W]hen I first arrived in the Senate, in 1972, I met with John Stennis, another old Southern senator, who became my friend. We sat at the other end of this gigantic, grand mahogany table he used as his desk that had been the desk of Richard Russell’s. It was a table upon which the Southern Manifesto was signed, I am told. The year was 1972.
Senator Stennis patted the leather chair next to him when I walked in to pay my respects as a new young senator, which was the order of the day. And he said, Sit down, sit down, sit down here, son. And those who serve with him know he always talked like this.
And he looked at me and he said, Son, what made you run for the Senate? And like a darn fool I told him the exact truth before I could of it, I said, Civil rights, sir. And as soon as I did I could feel the beads of perspiration pop out of my head and get that funny feeling. And he looked at me and said, Good, good, good. And that was the end of the conversation. (LAUGHTER)
Well, 18 years later, after us having shared a hospital suite for three months at Walter Reed and after him having tried to help me in another pursuit I had, we’d become friends.
I saw him sitting behind that same table 18 years later, only this time in a wheelchair. His leg had been amputated because of cancer. And I was going to look at offices, because in my seniority his office was available as he was leaving.
I went in and sat down and he looked at me as if it were yesterday and he said, Sit down, Joe, sit down, and tapped that chair. And he said something that startled me. He said, Remember the first time you came to see me, Joe? And I shook my head, I didn’t remember. And he leaned forward and he recited the story.
I said to him, I was a pretty smart young fellow, wasn’t I, Mr. Chairman? He said, Joe, I wanted to tell you something then that I’m going to tell you now. You are going to take my office, aren’t you? And I said, Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman.
And he ran his hand back and forth across that mahogany table in a loving way, and he said, You see this table, Joe? This is the God’s truth. He said, You see this table?
And I said, Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. He said, This table was the flagship of the Confederacy from 1954 to 1968. He said, We sat here, most of us from the Deep South, the old Confederacy, and we planned the demise of the civil rights movement.
Then he looked at me and said, And now it’s time, it’s time that this table go from the possession of a man against civil rights to a man who is for civil rights.
And I was stunned. And he said, One more thing, Joe, he said. The civil rights movement did more to free the white man than the black man.
And I looked at him, I didn’t know what he meant, and he said in only John Stennis fashion, he said, It freed my soul, it freed my soul.
Strom Thurmond’s soul is free today. His soul is free. The Bible says, Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow, come now and let us reason together, though your sins may be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
“… they shall be white as snow…”
My my, look at how easy it all was…with generous old Southern gentlemen like Thurmond and Stennis to feel the movement in their hearts, and dedicated young men like Biden to have always been there for Civil Rights.
Yes, how easy it all was.
I was honored to work with him, privileged to serve with him, and proud to call him my friend.
His long life may well have been a gift of his beloved God, but the powerful and lasting impact he had on his beloved South Carolina and on his nation is Strom’s legacy, his gift to all of us. And he will be missed.
The British essayist William Hazlett once wrote, quote: “Death conceals everything but truth, and strips a man of everything but genius and virtue.”
It’s a sort of natural canonization.
The truth and genius and virtue of Strom Thurmond is what I choose and we all choose to remember today. To Nancy, to Strom, to Julie, and to Paul, to all his friends, the people of South Carolina who knew him so well and love him so much, America mourns with you. I mourn with you. For I knew Strom well. I felt his warmth as you did. I saw his strength as you did. I was the beneficiary of his virtues, as you were. And I’ll miss him as you will, as we all will.
He lived a long and good life. And I know that today a benevolent God has lifted his arms to Strom. I just don’t know what Strom is saying to that benevolent God, because you know he’s saying something.
So I say, Farewell, Mr. Chairman. We stand in adjournment until we meet again.
Not a dry eye by the funeral bier, I would guess…………
Not to worry! Joey B was there for Jesse as well:
Last month, Biden was one of just a handful of prominent Democrats at Helms’ funeral in Raleigh
Just because I need a laugh:
[T]hen Biden reached a crescendo of his effort to link McCain closely to the unpopular Bush.
“You can’t change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush’s presidency.”
This time, however, the crowd broke into the familiar Obama rally chant, “yes we can, yes we can, yes we can.”
Does that mean they think that Obama can change America by looking like the last eight years? Or that they think McCain can? Or does it mean they weren’t really listening any more to what Biden was saying?
They weren’t listening…
I also laughed earlier when Kathryn Jean Lopez posted to The Corner that she has no trouble finding the gates for her connections to Denver: follow the Obama Wear… 8)
Ed Jackson Jr., executive architect for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, appearing before the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts Thursday, stands in front of projected images as he points out the subtle changes on the 28-foot sculpture of Dr. King that will be the focal point of the memorial. [Rick McKay/Cox Newspapers]
Off and on when I would think of it, I have been following the rather tawdry trajectory of the Martin Luther King memorial statue for the planned Civil Rights memorial on the Mall in Washington.
At the hearing, Jackson told the commission that Lei had been selected as the sculptor almost by happenstance. A group had gone to China in search of light brown granite for the memorial and visited the artist’s studio, where they were “rendered speechless” by his model for the King statue, Jackson said.
“His interpretation spoke to us,” he said.
Jackson showed photos of renderings byother artists, but he said Lei’s was the one that captivated the foundation and members of the King family.
After the hearing, foundation president Johnson gleefully announced “We’re moving forward,” He brushed off the recent controversy over the statue as “part of the process” for national memorials.
The “stone of hope” containing the statue is to be hand carved out of 39 blocks of granite and will be partly made in China and then brought to the United States, where Lei will oversee the work of American artists.
Johnson said most of the memorial’s structure, including a wall and walkways, will be constructed from American granite, to be purchased with oversight by Angela Fortson, an African-American granite broker based in Stone Mountain.
The memorial is planned for a site next to the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial.
Do you think, for one from our pantheon of New World saints, we could have found an American sculptor, of any color or race, and GODDAMMIT, some native granite from the South for his memorial?
This is from the end of the last thread, and fits here…
81 – I’m betting the lack of enthusiasm is more about recent Hill(ary) history. After all the poo flung at HRC (the first viable – as in, primary-winning – female candidate, whatever else her campaign signified), each turd (ok, the majority of turds) carefully labeled and targeted for her AUMF vote, her Washington Insiderism, her Big Biz Connections, her I/P Position, her Intolerably Aged Boomerism, or (a boyblogger favorite, everybody gasp on cue) her Insidious Racist Gaffes, along comes Washington White Guy Joe, of the Clean and Articulate Beltway Shit-Eating Grin.
There are bound to be women (especially working women) out there saying, WTF? So much for all those fatal flaws! So much for all those high-falutin’ objections! What’s Joe got that Hill don’t? Unh hunh.
FWIW, two of my family members were very fuzzy on Biden’s particulars, including his participation in Judiciary confirmations. One remembered he was present during Watergate. (The other was fairly pleased by the pick in hopes it would shut down the GOP’s not ready for prime-time angle of attack.)
This looks interesting – interview transcripts from Biden, Hill, and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree on the (1991) Thomas proceedings: Revisiting the Thomas-Hill Hearings.
Blackhippychick remembers the hearings, too. And she’s ticked about O’s brother George, whose plight made it from Italian Vogue to CNN in the last day or two.
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Ooops! Here is another from Intermittent Bystander from the last thread (and I replied to it below, comment # 1)
Clearly many of the commenters at blackhippychick’s post do remember Biden from Thomas/Hill, and found her blog while Googling for echoes in the Memory Hole.
And here’s The Caucus (NYT blog), from today: Biden and Anita Hill, Revisited (Kate Phillips).
For women of a certain age, perhaps, the memories are still vivid, and Senator Biden’s pivotal guidance and leadership on the Judiciary Committee remain a matter of controversy. The advent of the Internet and YouTube preserve and resurrect that era. Perhaps because of Mr. Biden’s failed presidential bid earlier in the cycle, there are several takes of his questioning of Mr. Thomas posted on YouTube. It’s a very interesting spot in time, captured on video. Several takes are now uploaded: One | Two | Three | Four.
“He was basically playing judge,” Susan Deller Ross, a Georgetown University law professor and expert in workplace sex discrimination said of Mr. Biden, adding “the other side was playing advocate” for Mr. Thomas. “I’m sure you remember nobody played advocate for her. I don’t think he did well and he bears responsibility for Mr. Thomas being on the court.”
Ms. Ross, who was one of the lawyers assisting Ms. Hill, asserts that Mr. Biden treated Mr. Thomas too even-handedly because of the racially charged nature of the hearings. (Remember Justice Thomas’ charge that he had been subjected to a “high-tech lynching.”) Ms. Ross said that Mr. Biden “was accused of being labeled racist, so the Republicans were blackmailing him and he pushed the levers to make the case look like there wasn’t a case when there was.”
From not permitting other witnesses like Angela Wright to testify who would have been favorable to Ms. Hill, to not permitting affidavits from an expert on whether a pattern of behavior needed to be established to prove sexual harassment, Ms. Ross concluded: “He did everything to make it be good for Thomas and to slant it against her.” (Mr. Biden and his staff at times indicated that Ms. Wright and others weren’t willing to testify, but the record and books written since appear contradictory, as these women were held waiting in the wings for days.)
Echo echo echo.
In the last few days, as we tried to reach out to people involved in the Thomas hearings, we kept hearing the same thing. Mr. Biden’s role in the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas saga was so long ago as to not be relevant. It was a long time ago.
Funny how that phrase, though, “get over it” keeps coming back. It’s the one Mr. Obama used in a meeting with supporters of Senator Clinton about how women, once they really learned what Senator John McCain represented on their issues, would “get over it.”
Last year, when Mr. Thomas published his memoir, Anita Hill wrote an Op-Ed in The Times, basically saying well, she wasn’t over it. And in another interview this year, now on YouTube, she talks about the role of gender and politics in the 2008 cycle, although she never mentions Mr. Biden or her own role.