- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

Lott of naivete
On June 18, 1994, Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, delivered the opening remarks at a Mississippi state reunion in New York City's Central Park.
Afterward, he was briefly interviewed by Karolyn Wrightson, a New York-based writer and acquaintance of this columnist who wanted to get a jump-start on a free-lance story she was writing surrounding the anniversary of Freedom Summer.
Freedom Summer was the 1964 campaign organized in part by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to end political disenfranchisement of blacks in the Deep South. And what better state for the campaign to concentrate its efforts than Mississippi.
In 1962, barely 6 percent of blacks in Mississippi were registered to vote, the lowest percentage in the country.
Among other measures, the campaign established 30 Freedom Schools throughout Mississippi, for the first time teaching a curriculum in black history. More than 3,000 students attended the schools, taught by volunteers.
Before she departed for Mississippi to conduct her interviews, Mrs. Wrightson asked Mr. Lott where he was during that unsettling summer of 1964. The senator replied that he was working around the state to recruit students for his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, and said he didn't recall being too affected one way or another by Freedom Summer.
"I was never into that type of thing," Mr. Lott explained. "Maybe I was naive, and of course I had been at Ole Miss. But I have never found that it does good to focus on the negative." Mr. Lott was at Ole Miss during the deadly riots in 1962, when President Kennedy sent federal troops to Oxford to protect the school's first black student, James Meredith.
Mrs. Wrightson told Inside the Beltway yesterday that she continued to press Mr. Lott about his feelings that summer. She pointed out that Mississippi had become ground zero for the national civil rights struggle, and she "remind[ed] him we were the same age and how I felt that summer, being frightened of what might happen."
The Freedom Summer campaign might have contributed, Mr. Lott finally said. "It's been a hard 30 years, but now there is more racial opportunity down in Mississippi than ever before.
"But at the time, I rathered they didn't come," Mr. Lott said. "But who is to say what would have happened if they hadn't? Maybe it had to be."
He concluded, "Mississippi has always had a tremendous aversion to being told what to do."

Birthday song
Doug Gamble, director of the Washington-based White House Writers Group, can't help but get caught up in the controversy swirling around Senate Republican leader Trent Lott.
Rather than writing his thoughts down in a story, however, Mr. Gamble has penned the "Trent Lott Song Parody," sung to the tune of Rick Nelson's "Garden Party." Unfortunately, Inside the Beltway doesn't have space for the entire parody, but here are a few lyrics:
"I went to a birthday party, to reminisce with my friend Strom,/but when I said he should have been president, I really dropped a bomb.
"When I got to the birthday party, I was a political star of the South,/but I got carried away on Strom's big day, put my dang foot in my mouth.
"But it's alright now, I learned my lesson well.
"You see, you can't save everyone, so I have to save myself."

Slave trafficking
The White House has appointed former Rep. John R. Miller, Washington Republican and chairman of the Discovery Institute in Seattle, to lead the new Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The State Department office was created just more than a year ago and deals with problems of slavery and forced servitude worldwide, including sex slavery rackets, the selling of servants and child labor.
Slavery as a modern global phenomenon has received more attention in recent years with authenticated reports of the capture of slaves in Africa and a large international sex trade in women, girls and boys.
Some cases have involved domestic locations in the United States. Worldwide, however, the State Department estimates that more than 700,000 sex slaves were trafficked last year.
A moderate Republican who retired from Congress in 1992, Mr. Miller was known on Capitol Hill for his advocacy of human rights around the world. He served on the House Committee on International Relations and was active in the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He also helped nurture the struggle for democracy in Eastern Europe at the end of the Soviet Union era.

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