Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), soon to be the Senate majority leader, announced that he is proud of his state's vote for a segregationist for president ["Lott Decried for Part of Salute to Thurmond," news story, Dec. 7]. Mr. Lott further stated, "We wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Strom Thurmond had won in 1948.
The Post reported Mr. Lott's despicable comments on Page A6. How outrageous do the public pronouncements of the regime in Washington have to become before The Post takes more notice?
Almost four years ago, amid public pressure, an aide to Mayor Anthony A. Williams was allowed to resign after he used the word "niggardly" to refer to the manner in which he administered a fund. (He was later rehired.) Now, Sen. Trent Lott suggests that our country would have been better off if we had gone the route of segregation, and hardly anyone says a thing.
What in the world is going on here?
One of the leaders of the Republican Party has implied that the civil rights movement -- one of our country's greatest achievements -- wasn't a good thing. Yet virtually everyone is letting this slide. Our "compassionate conservative" president, let alone most prominent Democrats, hasn't said a peep. What kind of bigoted remarks would it take for our political leaders to express some outrage?
In 1962 I was a freshman at the University of Mississippi, and I hope I made a small contribution to positive change during that turbulent time. But the price was high. My name appeared on a dossier in the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission's secret files. One of Mississippi's U.S. senators at the time called my grandmother to say that my grandfather would have rolled over in his grave if he had lived to see what I did. I think the senator was wrong. I think my grandfather would have been proud.
Trent Lott was an upperclassman at Ole Miss in 1962. If he shared Sen. Strom Thurmond's views then, he was undoubtedly part of the problem in Mississippi, not part of the solution. If he feels today that the Dixiecrat movement would have been good for Mississippi or for the nation, then he is misinformed.
I love Mississippi unreservedly, and I firmly believe that it is a better place today than it was in 1948 or 1962.