Gutter Politics

Boston Globe, Friday, January 22, 1999, p. A30

The Council of Conservative Citizens, an extremist organization linked to several ostensibly mainstream politicians, from Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, to Dapper O'Neil, the Boston city councilor, objects to being called a "white supremacist group."  Yet it is hard to see the council as anything other than plainly racist.

From its own mission statement:  The council is "dedicated to restoring the civil rights of white Americans and to preserving America's culture and traditions."   On its Web site, "Views of the C of CC," the group offers "An open letter to white people" and "What a Southern nationalist movement should be."  The last tract calls for a "constitutional assembly for a new country," to serve as a bulwark against the "third-world immigrants" who are "coming here by the millions.  Bringing their false religions.   Bringing their inferior cultures."

These loony, hateful views would be just more babble in the grand American conversation were it not for the legitimacy conferred on them by political leaders such as Lott, US Representative Bob Barr of Georgia, Republican National Committee member Buddy Witherspoon, and Senator Jesse Helms, all of whom have endorsed the council or spoken at its meetings.  Witherspoon is a member.

Lott, a Mississippian, is distancing himself from the group now that its views have become widely known, but as recently as 1997 he was pictured grinning with members in its newsletter.  It is hard to swallow Lott's initial claim that he knew nothing about the group's views when he agreed to speak and write for it;  the council claims 34 Mississippi state legislators as members.

The Republican National Committee chairman, Jim Nicholson, does his party a great service by calling on all Republicans to resign from the council.  Any Democratic officeholders involved ought to drop their affiliations as well.

Black politicans who are found flirting with Louis Farrakhan's separatist Nation of Islam are properly hammered for it.  It is time for white politicans to consider what it means to be one nation indivisible and renounce these uncivil armies.