Strom Thurmond’s successor, Senator Lindsey Graham, apparently thought this was funny:
“We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina,” he said. “It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.”
Steve Gilliard says Graham “is being unfairly attacked” for a perfectly innocent joke about the burning of the State Capitol and that
nothing to apologize for, because every South Carolinian knows he’s talking about Sherman’s March and not slavery.
Really? Every South Carolinan? There’s plenty to fault Lincoln for, be it his racism or his erosion of civil liberties. But for a US Senator from a state which attempted to seceed from the union and fought an extended war against the United States, a war which had little to do with slavery for the North but a great deal to do with it for the South (Apostles of Disunion I’d say makes the most succinct case here), to say of the man who is for most Americans the defining symbol of the winning side in that war – the very man murdered by a confederate havinga hard time “getting over things” in the wake of the war – that the people of his state bear him an enduring grudge is shamefully reckless. Whatever Graham’s intentions, it suggests something to the listener – be he Pennsylvanian or South Carolinian – other than disagreement with military tactics. And one can’t help but wonder whether, when Graham constructs the “We” who don’t do dinners for Lincoln, he means to speak for the descendants of slaves who worked and died in bondage in South Carolina as well.