Among the earliest and clearest voices to condemn Trent Lott’s benighted remarks last month were those of conservatives and Republicans, who were repelled by his nostalgia for segregation and quick to call for his ouster. When will liberals and Democrats show the same maturity and forcefully repudiate the noxious racial lout in their own tent, New York demagogue Al Sharpton?
And when will the media, which aggressively mined Lott’s racial history and prominently reported the results, show a similar interest in digging into Sharpton’s record — a record far more shameful and egregious than anything Lott has to answer for.
This is a subject of more than idle interest. Al Sharpton says he is running for president. He has no hope of landing the White House, the Democratic nomination, or more than a handful of convention delegates, but that won’t stop him from getting plenty of ink and air time. And maybe it shouldn’t; presidential campaigns have often been enlivened and even enlightened by candidates who had no more chance of winning the presidency than they did of winning the Preakness.
But it is impossible to imagine, say, David Duke running for president as a Republican and not being shunned by every leading figure in the party. Impossible to imagine his campaign appearances being covered in news accounts that made no mention of his history in the Ku Klux Klan and his links to neo-Nazis. Impossible to imagine that he would be treated as just another candidate, albeit one with a “controversial” past. No one would roll over for Duke. Why are they rolling over for Sharpton?
After all, Sharpton’s r
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