Sword 2 , the Wallace example

The preceding post doesn’t capture part of the conversation I had with my wife as we discussed this news event.

I am a better angel man. Lincoln you know, and a perfectly respectable Democrat is being flayed for a youthful stupidity. He wasn’t accused of attempting to rape anyone after all. But I just heard the Republican Party’s chairman tell NPR that Governor Northam should resign. Every Democrat seems to be jumping on this bandwagon.

Let me offer some perspective.

I mentioned to my wife the incredible generosity that former Alabama Governor, George Wallace received from Black Alabama in his twilight years. And remember, this was Mr. “Segregation now, Segegration tommorrow, Segregation forever!”

Wallace didn’t start politics as a racist. He lost his first race for the legislature to a racist and being practical out-racisted all future challengers up until he became Governor. But in his last days he sorrowfully apologized for the part he had played. Black Alabama prayed for him and with him and forgave him. They were better angels.

Claudia has recently read Jon Meacham’s book Soul of America. She loved it. She told me that during his Presidency Lyndon Johnson got Wallace in his office and asked him if, after his death, he would be proud to be remembered for his racist politics and go to his grave with a little plaque saying “he hated” on it. Wallace backed off his persecution of black Alabamans.

I’m not sure Johnson’s words made that much of an impact on Wallace in the short term. Wallace conducted his independent 1968 Presidential campaign with a vengeance. But after a second presidential run and an assassination attempt that left him paralyzed he was a shattered man. His apology gave black Alabamans a chance to be generous.

Today politics is once again a blood sport and I’ve heard a lot of Democrats so wound up over Northam’s shoe polish that there isn’t a shred of mercy left. That troubles me.