Brutalist
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The Million Dollar Question: Is Senator Jeff Sessions a Racist?

ottobattista
@ottobattista
on Jan 13, 2017 at 10:42AM in Politics, 2016 Elections, North America

Is Senator Jeff Sessions a racist? This will be the constant drum beat of the Left during his confirmation as President-elect Trump’s cabinet pick for Attorney General. Senator Sessions is not new to the rodeo. He knows EXACTLY what awaits him on this journey to confirmation by the Senate. It is this same Senate confirmation committee process that rejected his nomination, made by President Ronald Regan, for a federal judge pick back in 1986.

Let it be understood, we now live in a culture, where if the alleged crime is committed by a Conservative and the alleged crime is one of perceived bigotry/prejudice of any kind, that Conservative is GUILTY until proven innocent. Forget the concept of being “innocent until proven guilty” spill. Adding to this, is the fact that Session’s 1986 nomination was rejected due to perceived “prejudice and insensitivity” just makes it a guarantee that between now and confirmation we will hear a lot about those allegations of racial prejudice.

As an American, I am concerned about the racist allegations against Senator Sessions. As a Black woman, with a Black family, I’m especially interested in what Senator Sessions said, the context in which he said them, and what it all means as a potential Attorney General. I was born not too far from where Senator Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama. We both grew up deep enough in the South to know the ugly face of racism.

So, here is what I found. Several allegations were made against Senator Session at the 1986 judicial review. However, these are the two most significant allegations:

1. He allegedly called the NAACP & other organizations un-American…

  • Senator Sessions was denied the federal judge position for what was deemed as him making “prejudice and insensitive” comments, specifically calling the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the National Council of Churches un-American organizations with anti-traditional American values.
  • Key testimony of Sessions making this statement came from Assistant U.S. Attorney of Alabama, Thomas Figures who worked for Sessions and whose office was across the hall from Session’s.
  • In the Senate Judiciary documents, Sessions gave his account of this conversation and said that he recalled it differently.
    • He recalled saying that “when organizations like the NAACP and SCLC move away from discriminatory issues and start to take up political issues they lose their authority to speak to the people” as unbiased parties.
    • He said the NAACP and ACLU lose support when they “involve themselves in promoting un-American positions.”
    • When challenged by Senator Ted Kennedy on what “un-American positions” these organizations have taken up, Sessions said:
      • Sanctuary movement – a.k.a., liberal immigration policies
      • Sandinistas – Nicaragua rebel group…Iran/Contra band…

My thoughts:

  • I agree with Sessions’ overall point here. Organizations, such as the NAACP, do, in fact, lose their authority to speak when they move beyond their reason for existing.
    • The NAACP has been flailing for some time since the Civil Rights Movement to legitimize its continued existence.
    • Similarly to the fading away of the Freedmen’s Bureau organization that helped emancipated slaves integrate into society, some may argue that it’s time for the NAACP to also fade away.
  • Furthermore, Sessions’ conversations with his assistant, Figures, were cubicle banter, water fountain philosophizing, playing devil’s advocate conversations.
    • Who, among us, have not had such unguarded conversations with co-workers?
    • I know I have. I would, more than likely, greatly regret most of those conversations coming back to define me today.

2. Sessions: “I thought those guys [KKK] were OK until I learned they smoked pot.”

  • Sessions confirmed he said this. He said it was a joke and did not think anyone took him seriously. Apparently, some did. He said it in front of a mixed-crowd of people.
  • Two attorneys from the Justice Department, who were in the room, testified that they heard Session say this, but thought it was a joke. They called it operating room humor.
  • FACTS of the case: Sessions’ office was prosecuting the case of one of the Klansmen who brutally murdered a young Black man who was walking home from the local 7-Eleven. It was a brutal kidnapping, beating, mutilation, slashing, murder, and inhumane disposal of this young man’s body.
    • According to Sessions, he was trying to analogize a report he was reviewing that stated one of the Klansmen left one meeting to attend another meeting and along the way he stopped to smoke pot. He thought the statement was a weird one to make and tried to analogize it with this course “joke.”

My thoughts:

  • This is a hard one. I will not sugar coat that reality. This is a hard one to hear and just bypass as though we’re checking off items on a grocery list.
  • However, in context, I can clearly see that this was not meant to be taken seriously. Session called it “an ill-timed joke.” I call it NOT funny, at all. But, I don’t see it as malicious.
  • It was poor timing, at worse. But, I do not believe it was hateful or done out of spite or ill-will.
  • Hillary’s statement that called young Black men “super predators” is racist. It’s cruel. It’s racially insensitive.
    • Yet, she was running for President of the United States. What a double standard Democrats hold themselves and others to with little regard.
  • Hillary called Blacks, Romanians, and Mexicans losers, while Jews and Asians were described as winners no matter what economic situation they are placed in. The latter group will always find a way to succeed, according to Hillary. This is prejudice. This is blatant racial insensitivity.
  • I suggest we force Democrats to hold themselves to the same standard they want to measure others by.

In closing, Senator Jeff Sessions was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama for 6 years, at the time of these allegations. Is this all they could come up with? Having been born and raised in Southern Alabama, not too far from where Senator Session grew up, I know with great certainty that if he was racist there would be many opportunities to exploit and much more egregious charges then these two brought against him. But, leave it to Democrats to never let a bad idea die. They will dig up and plaster these moot allegations all across the news. What’s notable is that Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who was on the judiciary committee and voted against Session in 1986, now says that decision was a mistake. We will see how this all plays out in the media. But, for what it’s worth, I approve this pick.


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