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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Thomas Sowell on Trent Lott

In "Lott is Too Much", Sowell concludes:

...all that Senator Lott would need to do to spare his party would be to step aside from the role of Majority Leader in the Senate. Will he do it? Time will tell.

A tin ear and a loose tongue are a bad combination for any publicly visible leader, and Senator Lott has shown both on other occasions and on other issues besides race.

Well, fine. But the real prize of the column is a little anecdote from Sowell's days as a US Marine stationed in the South:

during the Korean war I was a young Marine who was stationed in the South. On a long bus ride down to North Carolina, the bus stopped very briefly in Winston-Salem so that the passengers could go to the restrooms. And in those days there were separate "white" and "colored" restrooms.

The bus stopped next to the white restrooms and I had no idea where the restrooms for blacks might be located -- or whether I could find it in time to get back to the bus before it left. So I went to the men's room for whites, leaving it to others to decide what they wanted to do about it.

I figured that if I were going to die fighting for democracy, I might as well do it in Winston-Salem and save myself a long trip across the Pacific. It so happened that nobody said or did anything. But I should not have had to face such a choice while wearing the uniform of my country and traveling in the South only because I was ordered to.

Thanks to the Hammer for pointing it out.

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