Saturday, January 11, 2003

Let's put one myth to bed. One of the defenses of Charles Pickering, meant to highlight his supposedly enlightened past, was that Picking testified against the Klan at a atrial. The implied assumption in all tellings of this tale is that Pickering was testifying against the Klan in a case which involved violence or other activities against African-Americans. The truth we now know (thanks to Nathan Newman) is that Pickering was testifying in a trial due to his concern about violence by one group of segregationist assholes (the Klan) against another. The violence, including the bombing of a staunchly pro-segregation newspaper, was against other members of the White establishment, segregationist to the core, who objected to the Klan's tactics and extremism (by the standards of the time), and more importantly their choice of targets, if not their basic beliefs as this passage makes clear:

It was Henry Bucklew, the mayor of Laurel and a top official in segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s presidential campaign, who had rallied the White establishment to take on the Klan, mostly for safety and economic reasons. He was quoted in one 1966 news account: “I am a segregationist but I’m not a criminal. For that reason, I’m going to accept the law.”

A group of law enforcement officials, including Jones County Attorney Pickering, issued a statement expressing the same sentiment. According to “Clear Burning,” the statement read: “…While we believe in continuing our Southern way of life and realize that outside agitators have caused much turmoil and racial hatred, let there be no misunderstanding, we oppose such activities, but law and order must prevail.”

The article also makes clear that Pickering himself has brought up the "testified against the Klan" issue to mount a defense against his opponents. Can the liberal media please stop trumpeting this as a defense of anything other than the fact that Pickering didn't want his white friends being attacked?

This truth of this story both undercuts what little defense he had, as well as demonstrates his willingess to be extraordinarily dishonest to cover up his past. Who has played the race card here?