A long, long time ago in 1986, Jeff Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in Alabama. But the Senate Judiciary Committee was all, “Uh, no, you’re way too racist.”
Fast forward 30 years and Donald Trump is all, “There’s no such thing as too racist! Here, have the whole Justice Department, Jeff!”
So what if Sessions called the ACLU and NAACP “un-American” for forcing “civil rights down the throats of people”? So what if he called a white civil rights lawyer a “traitor to his race”? So what if he brought trumped up voter fraud charges against three civil rights workers for the “crime” of registering black voters?
All of this stuff happened SO, SO LONG AGO. Nobody who was alive in 1986 is even still alive today so what’s the big deal?
Ha. Just kidding; 1986 is, like, yesterday, historically speaking. Fun fact: Trump was a wee 40-year-old back then.
Another fun fact: In the 1970s, the Justice Department sued Trump’s company for discriminating against black people trying to rent apartments. Twice. Putting Sessions in charge of the Justice Department really would be the ultimate revenge, yes?
Of course, a person can change a lot in 30 years. Some people who were racist/sexist/anti-gay/thought-The-Clan-of-the-Cave-Bear-was-a-great-movie have, through a willingness to be educated and an ability to admit they were wrong, changed for the better.
But not Sessions.
After getting rejected by the Senate in his bid to become a federal judge, Sessions went on to become Alabama’s attorney general and then a U.S. senator where — get this — he’s on the Judiciary Committee. The same committee that told him to go pound sand in 1986.
He’s pretty much spent his career being racist and demonizing immigrants. All you have to do is look at his voting record and it’s pretty clear that 1986 Sessions is alive and kicking.
And, of course, no surprise: Sessions is not exactly down with the LGBTQ crowd. Marriage equality? Against it. Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? Against it. Hate crimes protections for LGBTQ people? Against it. Employment Non-Discrimination Act? Against it. Trans people using public restrooms? Against it.
The Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard gives Sessions a big ol’ ZERO, which is not surprising considering his support for an anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the so-called First Amendment Defense Act which allows people to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of “religious freedom.”
“It is deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has such clear animus against so many Americans – including the LGBTQ community, women and people of color – could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release.
You know who has a total boner for Sessions, though? The white supremacist Nazis who call themselves the “alt right,” like they’re some kind of cute little indie band.
Racist scumbag Richard Spencer said of Sessions, “The fact that he is going to be at such a high level, I think, is a wonderful thing.” Spencer is the head of the National Policy Institute, a white power think tank, and is a proponent of “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” an oxymoron if there ever was one.
Also so excited is Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, professional LGBTQ hatemonger. “FRC has worked with Sen. Sessions on a number of issues and could not be happier to watch him usher in a new era at DOJ — one that cherishes the Constitution and its protection of our freedom from government oppression,” Perkins said in a statement, apparently forgetting to add “for heterosexual Christian men only, of course.”
Sessions will need Senate confirmation to become attorney general. Time to put your senators on speed dial like it’s 1986.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2016.