Jeff Sessions’s father was born in rural Alabama in 1913. When he was 72 years old, Ronald Reagan nominated his son to be a federal judge. The father gave an interview to a local newspaper and said that he believed in the separation of races, but that his son did not believe that and no one should attribute his views to his son. In fact, his son had been working to desegregate Alabama schools.
Fast forward to 2017. Now, liberal reporters who oppose Donald Trump nominating Jeff Sessions for Attorney General are using his father’s statement to attack him.
Let’s be honest — Barack Obama’s father had extreme views on race and society and these people were never interested in those. In fact, to bring them up at all was racist. But they are suddenly interested in the views of a man born in the rural South in 1913. It’d be a real stunner if Jeff Sessions’s father believed otherwise.
The founders of this country were specifically bothered by the idea of a father’s crimes being held against his son. In Article 3, Section 3, they prohibited holding a person’s treason against their descendants. It’s called “corruption of blood.” The nation, as a whole, has taken a strong stand against the idea that a father’s views should be imputed to his son. I wrote as much about Barack Obama, that he should stand on his own merits, not those of his father. The same applies to Jeff Sessions.
His father held a view that was common and mainstream for men of his era and, frankly, in the south it was a view held not just by whites. If we are to believe his view then we should take him at his word that those are not his son’s views. We should also look at his son’s record. It is a record of fighting in favor of desegregation, of prosecuting KKK members, of working with Democrats to erase unfair racial double standards in the law, and of appointing people of different races to his own office.
If we are going to hold Jeff Sessions, Jr.’s views against Jeff Sessions, III, then let’s hold Barack Obama’s father’s views against Barack Obama.