Lott's Resignation: Now the Real
[December 19, 2002]
By Nicholas Provenzo
While the Center can
claim victory in its campaign to remove Trent Lott as Senate
Majority Leader (more that 9,750 visitors to our website sent our letter to
their Senators demanding Lott's removal) the real job will now be to repair the damage that
Lott's statement and his subsequent apologies have caused. According to
AP, incoming House
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that Lott's stepping
down was an "important step" but that Republicans still needed to do more
to address the issue of race.
In Pelosi's context, doing more on the issue of race does not mean advancing a colorblind society, but
advancing a society where color means everything. All one has to do is
visit almost any college campus with their endless parade of racial
preferences, racially themed departments, and racial pressure organizations to
see just how divisive the left's view of race is in practice. With the
painful loss the Republican Party's of credibility on racial issues as a
result of Lott's statement and the party's plodding pace in removing him,
the supporter of the left's neo-segregation will clearly be on the rise.
Yet the question of race in America needs
to be answered properly once and for all. The right place to do this is
the upcoming Supreme Court case on the University of Michigan's affirmative
action program. This case, actually two suits, was brought by students who were
refused admission because of the University of Michigan's policy of
granting racial preferences to blacks and other ethic groups in
the university's admission practices.
Yet it has been reported that the Bush
administration is conflicted as to what its position in the University of
Michigan case will be. According to The
"a number of administration lawyers, led by Solicitor General Ted
Olson, are eager to take a position against the Michigan programs. But
the sources said Bush's political aides and White House counsel Alberto
R. Gonzales oppose an administration stance against affirmative action
because it could impair Bush's efforts to woo Hispanics and other
minorities to the Republican Party.
The argument has become complicated by the Senate leadership battle
provoked by Republican leader Trent Lott's words in support of Strom
Thurmond's segregationist 1948 presidential campaign. In his bid to save
his post, Lott on Monday proclaimed himself a supporter of affirmative
action, a program long derided by conservatives as racial quotas."
Lott can be written off as a pragmatist doing anything and everything
to save his job, but the rest of the Republican Party is going to have to
more sophisticated if it expects to win long term. The only legitimate
position of the government concerning race is that race is wholly
irrelevant. If racial prejudice against blacks and other ethnicities is
wrong, the same must be said for racial preferences.
To win the race debate, the Republicans are going to have to be
forceful in their defense of the government's colorblindness, regardless
of the Lott debacle. Trent Lott unwittingly put race back on the table for
debate. The right should seize upon this opportunity with more
intelligence than has thus far been displayed by our leaders in Congress.
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