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What Would Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Think About the Trent Lott Debacle?

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By Donna Rogers

He would be too wise to focus on proving Senator Lott a racist. He would see it as a God-sent opportunity to advance his dream, not seek revenge.

For Reverend King, the real problem would rest with the Lott-minded rather than with Trent Lott, the lone senator.

Reverend King would be too enlightened, too just and too faithful to succumb to the short-lived thrill of punishing the Senator for his past sins, however repulsive and long-standing they might be. The Reverend would focus on the men and women who continue to cast their votes for Trent Lott and other like-minded politicians.

He would see the opportunity to take the Republican Party to task for its stand on civil rights and the needs of the underprivileged. He would empower the new Senator Lott – the Born-Again Civil Rights Advocate – to make good on his promise to right past wrongs.

The Reverend’s deep abiding faith would lead him to offer the Senator the same opportunity afforded all sinners: the chance for redemption. He would surprise the world by doing what the Senator’s colleagues are afraid to do.

The Reverend would turn the other cheek and throw a rope to a drowning man. He would use Senator Lott to reach the powerful Old Guard conservatives who mysteriously disappeared when the Senator fell from grace.

The Reverend’s political foresight would lead him to seize the moment and reach for the racist mindset behind the racist subtleties that render the Republican Party Line discriminatory.

He would fully comprehend the long-term advantages of allowing Senator Lott to refute his racist past. The observant Reverend King would take advantage of the shift in power, knowing full well that Trent Lott was at his mercy. The Reverend would praise the Lord for such a glorious opportunity and propose new legislation post haste.

True to form, the beloved Reverend King would focus on how the country can attain the most good from this telling chapter of our civil rights struggle. The Reverend would have the foresight to see Trent Lott for what he really is: a means to a much bigger end.

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