In One Eye

Friday, June 27, 2003
OK. So you can fool some of the people all of the time.
For many blacks, Strom Thurmond could never have lived long enough for them to forget his segregationist past.

But as far as 104-year-old Mamie Rearden is concerned, he lasted long enough for her and other blacks to at least forgive.

"They forgive him for the things that he did wrong and they remember you can change," she said from her home here, where the homegrown governor and U.S. senator died Thursday at the age of 100.

Whether Thurmond truly had a mid-career change of heart toward blacks or just pandered to them, he got enough of their votes--20 percent in his last election--to stay in office for nearly half a century.

And many blacks in his home state Friday were willing to remember Thurmond as much for his efforts to reach out to them as for the racially inflammatory rhetoric that started him on his political path.
Oh brother.

Nothing can exonerate this racist--not even death. He was a segregationist today; he was a segregationist tomorrow; he was a segregationist forever.

If my opinion makes me a less compassionate person than Ms. Rearden, so be it.