Some GOP leaders are the descendants of racists of the...

Letters to the Editor

January 07, 1999

Some GOP leaders are the descendants of racists of the past

Your editorial "GOP's gaffe" (Dec. 29) was on target.

Anyone who believes that such Southern, backwoods politicians as Mississippi Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochrane and others of their ilk are not kissing cousins of racist individuals and organizations of the old South has been living on another planet for the last half century.

Those of us who pay attention to man's inhumanity to man, political and otherwise, view their denials as typical behavior of small men of even smaller minds who still dwell in the psychological swampland of racism.

What else should one reasonably expect from men who are, in a real sense, the political godsons of such racist former Mississippi senators as Theodore Bilbo, James Eastland and John Stennis?

Ironically, the collection of Southern gentlemen who dominated leadership positions of the 105th Congress label themselves Republicans.

While their predecessors paraded under the banner of Democrats, they were, in fact, Dixiecrats, who gave aid and comfort to devout racists.

Thirty-five years ago, A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union, offered a prophetic description of that unholy alliance:

"Look for the enemies of Medicare, minimum wage, Social Security, federal aid to education and equal opportunity, and you'll find enemies of Black Americans: the coalition of Dixiecrats and reactionary Republicans, who seek to dominate Congress."

Cliches aside, it does seem that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

George W. Collins Baltimore

I was outraged by your editorial "GOP's gaffe." Your editorial said that the move by the Republican majority to elect Rep. J. C. Watts of Oklahoma to a leadership position was not taken seriously because it was criticized as an affirmative action selection.

Mr. Watts has been an outspoken proponent of the values and ideals that the Republican Party attempts to promote and is deserving of his new leadership position. It is shameful for you and your staff to try to minimize his achievements because you believe that other agendas are at work in the Republican Party. The fact is that the Republican Party recognizes the achievements of its supporters and promotes them because of their efforts.

In Maryland, the Republican Party continues to reach out to all its citizens with the same message of values and ideals. The recent election of Michael Steele as vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party is an example of the state party giving recognition for advocating that message. It just happens to be that Mr. Steele is an African-American. While you and your staff may disagree with the Republican message, you cannot deny Mr. Steele's efforts to advance it.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party continues to tailor its message for expediency and short-term gain. At what cost?

Allen J. Furth Annapolis

Your editorial "GOP's gaffe" was right on the mark. (Or should I say the far right?) It is beyond belief when such notable Republican politicians as Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice feign ignorance of the nature of an organization they publicly address. In this case, the group in question was the Council of Conservative Citizens, which has ties to the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations.

As you justly state, these prominent officials have ample staffs to investigate groups that request their appearances and support.

These politicians should take off their white hoods so that the American people can see who they truly are.

David Bavaria Baltimore

Olympian can't appreciate plight of poor adult smokers

Olympic gold medalist skater Tara Lipinski spoke out in Baltimore against teenage smoking ("Stay clear of cigarettes, Lipinski urges teen-agers," Dec. 30). She endorsed increasing the tobacco tax so that fewer teen-agers would be able to afford to buy cigarettes.

Well, that tax would apply to poor working adults as well. It doesn't matter to poor little rich girl Tara Lipinski if poor adults are deprived of a simple pleasure if they cannot afford it.

Philip A. Thayer Baltimore

City hepatitis vaccinations have been ignored by Sun

I read with great interest the brief article "Pilot project boosts hepatitis B vaccine" (Dec. 21) highlighting a hepatitis B pilot immunization program in Kansas City, Mo.

The state of Missouri and six cities across the nation are finally putting together programs to immunize school-age children against hepatitis B.

I say "finally" because Baltimore has had a similar program to immunize fourth- and fifth-graders against hepatitis B for the last four years. This program has provided more than 14,000 shots to almost 5,000 schoolchildren, right here in our own city.

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