Sen Sessions testifying

Senator Theodore G Bilbo testifying

Attesting to the perniciousness of the infected DNA carried by this nation, although he was not born at the time, Sen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions duplicates the same oily, vehement, skin-crawling southern drawl that I recall emanating from the lips of arch segregationist-racist Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi, back in the 1930s. Among the “Colored” community and as a fixture in the prolific Negro press, “Bilbo” was the watchword and dean of the southern legislators in Washington who made it their personal business to suppress any attempt by FDR or any of his predecessors to exert any federal control over the widespread, at-will, broad daylight lynching of Black folk all over the South. Although Senator Sessions’ southern drawl carries a 20th century patina, devoid of the “Nigras” and other de rigueur racial derogations in those same halls of congress, it still evokes that same, skin-crawling sensation.

While Bilbo and his supporters – either active or by default – throughout the U.S. were demeaning and marginalizing minority populations, during that very same period, similar actions were taking place in Europe. Although Jews in the U.S. were not subjected to the same, stringent restrictions as were African Americans, anti-Semitism was so strong throughout the U.S. that it would not allow FDR to take in those relatively few refugees from Hitler’s horror who lingered in vain aboard the S.S. St. Louis, off the coast of Florida.

It seems odd that these two cultures, with so much in common, would be locked in a death struggle at the end of the decade. It was even U.S.-produced science on, “racial inferiority” that fueled the continuation of those studies in the Third Reich. Apparently, the idealism contained in our 18th century documents is so much more enduring than the darkest of human emotions.

That is why, after struggling through the centuries and decades of inch worm progress, one wonders what on earth is this resurgent, “Greatness” being offered up via the accents of a skin-crawling southern drawl.

***** ***** *****

Once, I heard a scratch on the board.
What a sound, so cruel and untoward!
Time and workaday
Made it go away.
Now, it’s back again – ain’t y’all hoard?

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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