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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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The Trent-o-tantrums continue
Jonathan Pait
January 27, 2003

In the article “The last on the last of Lott” I wrote:
"Trent Lott has shown that now the liberal media and any number of activists can successfully define why we are doing what we are doing. Let’s say that you oppose a national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Never mind that you also oppose any other additional (and some already instituted) national days off of work. They can now simply pull a Trent-o-tantrum and steer the debate into a wholly racial (women’s rights, 'homophobic', etc.) venue. Any past associations you may have had or any other statements that you may have made that they deem racist will also be brought into the mix."
We are seeing this happen here in Greenville County with the recent publicity generated by Jesse Jackson’s declaration of war against the “red necks” on the County Council. Get ready, a Trent-o-tantrum is about to be launched against those council members who do not give in to the pressure. Jesse has given us fair warning and he really knows how to throw one!

Sure, there are certain things about MLK that get glossed over that cause some people pause when it comes to committing a holiday to his memory. However, there is also no denying that the movement he led caused a major shift in our history. Some would argue that it would have happened anyway with less upheaval, but we don’t know that for sure. What we do know is that he was a major catalyst in that change.

It is not an invalid concern that we are getting “holidayed” to death. You would get the same arguments from County Council if a “Ronald Reagan Day” were proposed. The point is that the argument against the day does not have to be a racial issue. Knowing those who voted against the resolution, I am certain it is not.

In this case it is unfortunate that Jesse has to cloud the issue. It does not help that The Greenville News must lower it to a racial issue. Check out the coverage and see the amount of coverage given to the sides of the two arguments. Note the bias that comes into the reporting. The Council side is painted as “suuuurrrrre it is based on a business decision. That is nothing more than a cover for their racist attitudes.”

Another recent case of having the media define what you are saying has to do with the Jerry Thacker appointment to the President’s Commission on AIDS and HIV. One specific thing that bothers me is the treatment of Jerry’s use of the term “gay plague” and its context. Here is what Jerry said,

He had a beautiful family, a good church and a rewarding ministry. He knew vaguely about the 'gay plague' known as AIDS, but it seemed a distant threat. AIDS was something that bad people had to worry about. Not Christians. Not the church. But one Saturday morning in 1986, AIDS came home to the Thackers. . . . For many years, the Thackers kept their condition secret. HIV was something shameful—God's judgment on immoral behavior. Who in the church would understand? But slowly, through years of private anguish and exhaustive research, Jerry came to realize that the church had to understand. If AIDS could come home to the Thackers, it could come home to anyone. The vast majority of infected persons don't even realize they have the virus. Who would minister to them when they got the bad news? Who would counsel broken-hearted parents? Who would reach out to sinners in need of God's love and grace? Who would warn Christian teens of the very real danger of AIDS? With concerns such as these, Jerry started speaking out on the unspeakable. His books and videos are dispelling the myths about AIDS and helping Christians to think "christianly" about the subject.
Understand, that one of Jerry’s purposes in this ministry is to show conservative Christians that they have a responsibility not to turn their backs on those suffering from the disease. Rather, they should be reaching out to them in compassion and with an acceptance that they may not receive in other segments of society. Notice that Jerry placed the term “gay plague” in quotation marks. That was intentional because Jerry is trying to point out that that was the typical attitude toward AIDS at the time his family became infected.

So what we have here is the media taking Jerry’s quotation of a particular view of AIDS and making it his own. They took Jerry’s intention and turned it 180 degrees to put the words in his mouth. Wednesday we will be back with how this twisting has now become “truth”, how it is now being expanded to attack other members of the commission and finally, how Ari Fleischer and the President’s administration owes Jerry Thacker an apology.

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