As if we needed more racism in politics these days, a South Carolina lawmaker admitted in court on Tuesday that he had replied "amen" to a supporter's not-at-all subtle email comparing black people to "a swarm of bees going after a watermelon." Classy.
We can't control what people say to us, but we can control how we respond, and the reply to such a letter should not be, "amen, Ed, thank you for your support," but something closer to, "That's a highly offensive and inappropriate way to refer to the citizens of this state." Yet that's what Republican State Rep. Alan Clemmons, who wrote South Carolina's voter ID law, said he dashed off in reply to a supporter when he was working on the law, which has since been challenged in federal court as unfairly disenfranchising minority voters. "If the legislature offered a reward for identification cards, 'it would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon,' [Ed] Koziol wrote," according to McClatchy's Rebecca Cohen. Clemmons called his response "poorly considered" in court, but he didn't deny he sent it. Clearly, though, he knows it's bad to be racist, as this next bit of testimony suggests:
Beeney asked Clemmons whether he remembered distributing packets of peanuts with cards that read “Stop Obama’s nutty agenda and support voter ID.”
Clemmons said he did not, though Beeney said he had testified in June that he did.
No wonder Republicans are having such an impossibly hard time drawing minority voters this election.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.