Biden Defends Bull Connor Analogy for Opponents of Voting Rights BillBreaking News
tags: Republican Party, civil rights, Joe Biden, Bull Connor
The questions seemed simple enough.
Speaking last week in Atlanta to push voting rights legislation, President Biden asked elected officials how they hoped to be remembered.
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” Biden said. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
The response was outrage.
Biden was referring to Wallace, the segregationist and former governor of Alabama who fought to stop the integration of his state’s flagship university; to Connor, the Southern sheriff and white supremacist who turned fire hoses and police dogs on civil rights activists; and to Davis, the president of the Confederacy. And he was exhorting many of his former colleagues to stop filibustering the Democrats’ attempts to take up the two voting rights bills that have been languishing in the Senate.
If the Republican response to some critics seemed outsize, it was not necessarily surprising, said Eddie Glaude, chair of African American studies at Princeton University, who called the reaction “disingenuous.”
“So you’re going to clutch your pearls when someone implies you’re on the side of Bull Connor, when you are making decisions that are based out of the era from which Bull Connor came?” Glaude said. “People are more concerned with being called a racist than they are with the racist implications of their practices.”
At least one person who was critical agreed with the content of Biden’s remarks but simply wished he would have updated his historical figures for the modern era.
“Nobody knows who Bull Connor is,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters last week. “You know, if we’re making the case to say, ‘We’re going to be with Martin Luther King or Bull Connor’ — who’s that?”
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