Back in 1986, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was well into his career as an Alabama political lifer. By that, I mean that Sessions was born in Selma and that he didn’t venture a whole lot further than his gulf state home, the Heart of Dixie. He was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama — don’t act like you couldn’t imagine a deeper south than The Deep South™ — and he was ready to move on to bigger and better things. So when Ronald Reagan nominated him to be the US District Court Judge in the same area, Jeff was grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater (that means happy in Alabama, I’m told).
But Karma had other ideas for Jeff Sessions, and his nomination was held up because he was… well, it’s hard to imagine, but he was too racist.
Now, remember, the 80’s were a time when you could sit down at a restaurant called Sambo’s and eat pancakes while you read from a copy of Br’er Rabbit you checked out from the school library. In 1986, one of the biggest films of the year was about a white dude who pretends to be black to get into Harvard, because as everyone knows, it’s WAY easier to get into an Ivy League school when you’re black, provided you’re not killed by a police officer who pulls you over for a broken taillight on your move across the country.
In short, it was hard to be “too racist” in 1986, but somehow Jeff Sessions managed to pull it off. In fact, he was so notoriously racist that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary that said,
Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
But time passes and times change, and we all expect ideas and attitudes to advance, so when Sessions was nominated by Donald Trump to be US Attorney General, we heard much of the same — “he once said that he thought the KKK was okay until he heard they smoked pot” — but we didn’t know whether Sessions really still was the virulent racist who called black court clerks “boy” and told judges to be “careful what you say to white folks.”
Thankfully, on Monday, Mr. Sessions removed any doubts from our heads as to whether he’s still a bottom-of-the-barrel, Confederate flag-waving, Dixie whistlin’ good ole boy.
“The office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement. We must never erode this historic office” : Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association winter conference in DC. @vicenews pic.twitter.com/gPS6AbkS30
— Tess Owen (@misstessowen) February 12, 2018
Guess we never have to wonder about that again.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images