I talked last week about what a bad man Jeff Sessions is. He has a long and sordid history of standing against civil rights. If you need reminding, here’s an explainer. If you need more reminding, here’s a letter former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick wrote about Jeff Sessions.
Sessions is also considered by many on both sides of the aisle in the Senate as a kind and patient man. This is the way of the South where — no matter our politics — our manners always come first. Among most Southerners, politeness is a virtue beyond any other. Knock on any strangers’ door in the Deep South — no matter your skin color — and most people are trusting and kind enough to invite you in, let you use their phone, and make you some iced tea and give you a few biscuits. They’ll even help you fix that flat. Face-to-face, there’s no better place to be than the South.
But that pleasantness is often — though hardly always — also very dishonest. Because those “honeys” and “darlings” and cups of coffee can often mask bigotry. Jeff Sessions has been masking his bigotry for years in the Senate. This kind and polite man was also one of the very first to back Trump, on the basis of Trump’s statements with regard to the “rapists” and “criminals” crossing the border from Mexico.
When a guy — as a federal prosecutor — tries to imprison black people for aiding elderly, poor black people trying to register to vote, you know exactly where his heart is.
His confirmation hearing is tomorrow. This comes three decades after the Senate — on a bi-partisan basis — rejected his nomination for the federal bench. However, those hoping that Sessions’ nomination will be blocked again should probably give up that hope. The Democrats would need to peel off a couple of moderate Republicans. The most likely target: Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins.
Sadly, it’s not going to happen. Not only is Collins vouching for Sessions — who once said the KKK was cool with him until he found out they smoked pot — but tomorrow, she is introducing him to the Senate. Collins is going to be Sessions’ champion.
I say this mostly for my fellow Maine constituents: Remember this. Remember when she comes up for reelection again in 2020 that Susan Collins — who refused to endorse Donald Trump — stood by Jeff Sessions. When, as AG, Sessions looks the other way on voter suppression efforts, remember Susan Collins stood up for him. When, as AG, Sessions starts enforcing federal drug laws on marijuana users even in states where marijuana has been legalized, remember that Susan Collins stood next to him. Remember when Sessions creates an expedited process to deport thousands of out-of-status immigrants that Susan Collins gave this man a thumbs up. When Sessions looks the other way while cops beat and kill black men, remember Collins.
For every civil right that Jeff Sessions deprives us of over the next four years, always remember Susan Collins. She could’ve done something. She could have helped to prevent a racist from becoming the chief law enforcement officer of the land. She could have stood up for Civil Rights. Instead, she helped to enable a racist.