Just As I Thought

Trent Lott, segregation, and reality

Trent Lott (R, MS) – excuse my bluntness, but what an asshole. [Please note that I went to high school with his son as well as the son of John Breaux (D, LA). As you would expect, the Republican son was snotty, stuck up, and only deigned to consort with his specific clique. Bill Breaux, on the other hand, managed to pal around with all the different groups inherent in high schools, including the occasional foray into my geeky group. He was a good guy, and made me laugh. Good for him.]
But I digress. How many times do high level Republicans such as Lott have to let their true selves show through the veneer before people get the idea and kick them the hell out of office? How did getting a sexual favor from a smitten intern become an impeachable offense, but lying, fraud, and Constitutional bending are important keystone elements of the Republican strategy? Republicans can say such outrageous things, pledge their allegiance to special interests, wild fanatics, and fascists with impunity, while Democrats and others would be crucified for less.
Anyway, the reality of segregation, as observed by me last Friday: while waiting in the gate at BWI airport for my Southwest flight – not a high-priced airline, by the way – I was struck by a scene straight out of the 50s that Strom Thurmond would have been proud of. In the gate waiting for the flight were about 100 white folks, nary a minority among them. On the other side of the railing were a dozen young black people, sitting on the floor waiting for the plane to arrive so that they could clean it. They were all up at 4am to work cleaning a plane so that we, the white passengers, could go on vacation. Now, there is not a single thing wrong with 1) vacations, 2) young people with steady jobs, 3) being up at 4am to work… but the combination of all of the elements that made up this scene made me slightly sick to my stomach. What was worse was that I realized that this scene plays out constantly, but we the passengers don’t usually see the people who are cleaning that plane – just as we never see the people who clean our offices. In the end, one of the most important things we can do is see the people around us.

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