As a member of Pam Miles' listserv whose participants and readers are progressives from Alabama and beyond, I was composing a snide comment about Jeff Sessions' unceremonious questioning of Sonia Sotomayor the other day. Sessions makes such an easy target, I think I could have written an entire stand-up routine about "Sessions' session".
But then I opened up an email from an Alabaman in Pam's group who said how humiliating it was that Sessions was reflecting on their state...a state where Bull Conner sicced dogs on human beings and four little black girls died attending Sunday school. A state where George Wallace preached segregation forever and where Don Siegelman was unjustly prosecuted and unfairly convicted for being an effective, dedicated Democratic leader.
And then I realized that it's much more important for me to support and encourage the people of conscience in Alabama and throughout the South who feel the same way I do when hearing those racist innuendos that flow so easily from Jeff Sessions' lips.
It's easy to buy into the stereotype of the white, Southern bigot when you live in liberal Los Angeles like I do. And I suppose the tragedy of these Sotomayor hearings is that there are people in this country who will think that everyone in the South is some variation on the theme that is Jeff Sessions.
But I have met the most incredible people through Pam's listserv. Big-hearted, fair-minded advocates for civil rights and justice...from Alabama! Were it not for learning about the egregious way the system betrayed Don Siegelman, I would not have considered that people like these Southern progressives exist. How short-sighted of me.
Sessions doesn't hold a candle to these good souls with their character and dignity and their righteous moral compasses.
I'm grateful to have connected with these amazing troopers, like Rev. Jack and Ivan and Esther and Grace...and of course, Pam. And Don Siegelman. What an inspiration that man is! I feel so motivated in my efforts to get this country to live up to its promise, because I know that my progressive friends in the South are working with me.