What Lincoln Said at Thurmond's Party
by Kevin Southwick
"Five score terrible years ago, Strom Thurmond was born. And Senator Thurmond, I’d like to be the first to praise you, for enduring so long in today’s political climate. If I believed in God, I would say that you must have had God’s protection all this time. Take it from me, if you try to govern against the will of the people, they will find a way to get rid of you. I envy your longevity. Had I lived to 100 and met you as a toddler, I would have suggested that when you grow up you should finish the work that was left undone at my untimely death. That is, deportation of all Negroes from this great nation of liberty.
"By the way, Senator, being among the dearly departed is good news and bad news. I can still vote, but only for Democrats. (Loud laughter.) Since 1865 I’ve argued against this among the thousands of Democrat and Republican officials I see on a daily basis, but our meeting room is much too hot for us to accomplish anything. Seems there’s fire everywhere.
"As to the undone work, your 1948 presidential campaign was a good try. But I would like to point out that the idea of racial segregation, for which many people have criticized you, was a bit shortsighted. It is good for what it is – or was. But keeping Negroes (Negro, can I say that today?) out altogether is a much better idea. My own state, Illinois, thought this was a good idea awhile back. We actually forbade the admission of free Negroes. But as to segregation, I say of it as I said of slavery, ‘eliminating it would be a greater evil, even to the cause of human liberty itself.’ But the final solution should be deporting all Negroes to have ‘their places be filled up by free white laborers.’ This goal is also based on my long held view that ‘there is a physical difference between black and white races which forbid the races from ever living together in terms of social and political equality.’
"Yes, Senator, though radicals did talk of freeing Negro slaves, many Northern states had the wisdom to pass laws to make sure that freed Negroes had to leave. And we were glad to see that the Southern states, being ignorant, did allow free Negroes to enter and actually own property. Present company excluded, Senator, but how could Southerners be so immoral? Can you imagine!
"At any rate, Senator, if I had been successful in deporting all Negroes to Africa, Central America – or, heck, anywhere – you would not have had to champion the noble cause of segregation. But since you did, you certainly should have been elected to carry out this great work of humanity.
"But of course, in the year 2002, talk of enforced segregation takes more courage than most people have. I understand that now there is even talk among the – can I say, paleoconservatives – that not only was forced segregation bad, but forced integration is worse. Now I’m beginning to appreciate the magnitude of your challenges, Senator. I can say that if you had at least stopped forced integration, the country would have been spared all the problems and tragedy of forced busing of children across all the cities in the nation (something I understand even the Negro despises because it destroyed the cultural and economic cohesion of their few prospering communities and neighborhoods). I do believe, Senator, that forced integration and busing caused more destruction, want, and misery in America than that glorious and prodigious march to the seas carried out by my wonderful General Sherman.
"So congratulations, Senator. You were doing the right thing. And America has a debt of gratitude, as you a wealth of gratification, in knowing that you at least tried to make this a white nation. It is a strange irony of history that you took only half my position yet many Americans think ill of you while they have made me into their greatest hero. Who can figure history?
"So, happy one-hundredth birthday, Senator Thurmond. May my remarks and your great work resonate throughout the halls and history of this hallowed nation so that we may someday achieve a government of the whites, for the whites, and by the whites.
Your friend forever,
P.S. I disagree with you on that States Rights thing…"
December 23, 2002