Despite latest gaffe, Lott good for state

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 16, 2002

There was a dead silence in the room after Senator Trent Lottmade his now-famous comments during Senator Strom Thurmond’s 100thbirthday party. That silence has turned into a roar of condemnationof the Mississippi Republican, and calls for his resignation fromthe leadership of the Senate continue to mount.

It has not been a good week for Mississippi. Lott’s wordstarnished the state’s image and further stereotyped us to oursegregationist past. His words were unfortunate, inappropriate anddisgusting, especially from a person of his stature and position ofauthority.

He has apologized – four times. The President has slapped hishand and questions remain if he will retain the leadership positionthat has brought so much prestige to the poorest state in thecountry.

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It has not been a good year for Mississippi. First WorldCom, nowwe may lose the power and prestige of Senate Majority Leader.

For a Democratic Party licking its wounds from a disastrousmid-term election, the comments by Lott were a gift, the perfectsound bite for elections of the future. For Republicans basking inthe glory of the mid-term election, Lott’s comments are a reminderthat in politics things change quickly.

For opportunistic politicians on both sides of the aisle, Lott’sgaffe is a chance to rise in power from the political vacuum a Lottleadership resignation would create.

Some Mississippians are outraged by Lott’s comments and havecalled for his resignation, but they should also remember thatregardless of political ideology, social economic status or thecolor of our skin, Trent Lott has been good for Mississippi – hehas been good for the country.

Lott’s leadership and dedication to this state have carried usmuch further than opponents would care to admit. Agree with him ordisagree with him, there is no question; he has used his power andprestige to improve the lives of everyone in this state.