McDaniel, Thompson failed to be responsible

Last weekend, Thompson did an interview with a New Nation of Islam radio program during which he accused Gov. Phil Bryant and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of racism and called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.” Thompson said he knew of no other president who has been treated like President Barack Obama, adding that Republicans’ “blatant disrespect” of Obama “is all about race.”

When the comments were made, both McDaniel and Thompson were talking to a small, narrowly defined audience. They were telling listeners what each of them knew the listeners wanted to hear. McDaniel doing so for ratings; Thompson for political popularity. What neither of them was doing was being responsible.

If what each of them said is a reflection of their true beliefs, then they each face a far graver situation, for their comments reflected a judgmental attitude comfortable with alienating those who differ from them. The remarks were highly prejudicial — against races, sexes and political beliefs.

But if they truly were playing to their audience, then their crime is simply being irresponsible each has as a leader. Instead of tackling serious issues with serious discussions, they played to the lowest common denominators, thus fanning flames of hatred, dissent and division.

Clarion Ledger Editorial