How many times must Lott make an apology?

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 16, 2002

The same people ready to crucify Sen. Trent Lott, a Republican, by the way, are the same people who have probably said and done similarly stupid things that went unnoticed.

For those of you who missed it, Lott was at Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party and was trying to praise the centenarian’s leadership abilities in the past. According to a story by the Associated Press, in 1948 Thurmond went on a third-party campaign that emphasized segregation, banning multiracial marriage and guarding the South from &uot;anti-lynching&uot; proposals.

Obviously, and thankfully, Thurmond lost.

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Lott put his foot in his mouth when he said the South Carolinian: &uot;We wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years” had Thurmond been elected.

Not a smart thing to say, as Lott acknowledged, but adding that he was &uot;winging it&uot; and obviously got caught up in the moment of making the old guy feel good.

Naturally, there has been talk of Lott resigning.

Nonsense.

The senator made his apologies in his hometown of Pascagoula, Miss., of all places.

Certainly he should be chastened or officially censured by his peers, but losing an otherwise qualified leader is a waste. What’s to say his replacement doesn’t harbor stronger, more vile sentiments? At least with Lott we have an idea of where he stands. When the time comes, his constituents can vote him out of office and ignore him in the future.

Finally, let’s show a little of the so-called forgiving spirit for which Americans are supposedly known.