The Corner

A Case Study of Jeff Sessions’s Concern for Racial Justice

At the Wall Street Journal today, I tell the tale of one way (of many) that Jeff Sessions, the U.S. senator from Alabama and nominee for U.S. attorney general, fought against racial injustice, largely to the benefit of black people, with very little credit afforded him for his efforts.

Some of you may hit a firewall and not know how to navigate past it, so here’s an excerpt:

Sen. Sessions was on a mission. He wanted somebody, anybody, to write about the importance of American policy toward Colombia. That U.S. ally was at risk of being toppled by the narco-financed, communist guerrillas known by the acronym FARC.

It was a subject far from my interests. But Mr. Sessions put the stakes in memorable context. The senator can be a discursive speaker, but he kept returning to a central contention: FARC-allied drug lords were responsible for much of the cocaine that polluted the American streets. As a former federal prosecutor, he was concerned about the violent crime accompanying the cocaine scourge.

He spoke about addicts and criminals not with vilification, but with compassion. “You’ve got these poor guys in the inner city,” I remember him saying. “Nobody provided them much of an education; they can’t find a job; and somebody tells them they can get high for relatively cheap by smoking these crack rocks. They get addicted and they do something terrible and end up in jail and their lives get ruined. We’ve gotta help our Colombian allies defeat these drug lords at the source, where they grow this stuff. It’s just ruining all these lives.”

It was this same train of thought — compassion for the users of crack cocaine — that led Sen. Sessions to introduce the Drug Sentencing Reform Act in 2001 . . . 

There will be plenty more to say (I hope here in this space) about Senator Sessions’s long and admirable record. It is ludicrous for the Left to try to paint the man that I describe in my column as a racist — someone who actively campaigned against racist governor George Wallace, and who helped drive a stake through the heart of Alabama’s Ku Klux Klan, among many other accomplishments.

On a related note, if the Left keeps going to the same well and pumping out accusations of racism, again and again, against people who clearly don’t merit the charge, the backlash against the Left will grow ever stronger, and its political decline will (blessedly) continue.

Real racism is a horrid thing. False allegations of racism are almost (and sometimes equally) as horrid. Most decent people understand both of these truths. Most decent people therefore should rally to Senator Sessions’s defense.