The senior senator from the state of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, has defended his reference to the era of segregation as the “good old days”, saying his description was with “deep sarcasm”.
Putting a question to Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday, Graham sought to suggest that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that defends a woman’s right to opt for an option without overwhelming restrictions, was not a super-precedent (a ruling that has long been unchallenged).
“One of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown vs. Board of Education is super-precedent is you’re not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation,” said Graham to Barrett.
But the senator’s comments did not go unnoticed by the millions of Americans and certainly the media who were watching the proceedings. Questions began to fly and the senator was forced to clarify his comments via CNN.
“It was with deep sarcasm that I suggested that some legislative body would want to yearn for the good old days of segregation,” explained Graham, adding that “there is nobody in America in the legislative arena wanting to take us back to that dark period in American history”.
But Jaime Harrison, Graham’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming senatorial election in the state, seized the opportunity to slam Graham. Harrison, a Black man, took to Twitter with an 11-second video of the exchange between Graham and Barrett, and tweeted: “.@LindseyGrahamSC just called segregation “the good old days.” The good old days for who, Senator? It’s 2020, not 1920. Act like it.”
Last week, Graham provoked another controversy in a debate against Harrison. Speaking on the issue of race in the state, the senator said: “I care about everybody. If you’re a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
Critics pointed out that Graham’s comment was tone-deaf and condescending seeing that he sought to argue that only Blacks who are conservative will be successful in South Carolina.