The symbolism of a Sen. Tim Scott

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

I was delighted to learn that Tim Scott would replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. senate. In fact, I may have been the first commentator to publicly suggest that Scott should be considered.

Scott is a solid conservative, so his elevation to the upper body of Congress helps cement DeMint’s legacy as a leader who helped increase the number of young conservatives in the senate.

But it’s also worth noting that Scott now becomes the only black senator. Despite all the GOPs problems, the amount of talented and diverse Republicans serving in high-level elected positions is a cause for hope.

There is some interesting symbolism at play here. As Jim Geraghty noted earlier, Tim Scott defeated Strom Thurmond’s son in a 2010 primary. Thurmond, of course, ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist ticket. Now, like Thurmond, Scott will be a senator.

This reminds me of something else I recently learned. Almost exactly fifty years ago, the Washington Redskins had the shameful distinction of being the last professional football team to integrate. Twenty-five years later, they were the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl with a black quarterback. And twenty-five years after that, they have Robert Griffin, III.

Today, the biggest celebrity in Washington is an African-American quarterback named RG3 — and South Carolina now has an African-American U.S. senator.

We’re not there yet, but we’ve come a long way.

Matt K. Lewis