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TDs should look to US President Lyndon Johnson for inspiration

It looks like a minority government soon or another General Election.

If TDs need inspiration, they can look at how US President Lyndon Johnson used his powers of persuasion on the then Governor of Alabama, George Wallace, when he visited the White House in 1965.

A Civil Rights Act was passed and the president was ready with the Voting Rights Bill. He spoke to the governor on how American black citizens found it impossible to vote in Alabama. These are some of the highlights:

“Now governor, you’re a student of the constitution. And somewhere in there it says Negros have the right to vote, doesn’t it, governor?”

“Everyone in Alabama has the right to vote,” replied the governor. “If they are registered,” said the president. “White men have to register too,” said the governor.

Johnson leaned in: “That’s the problem, George; somehow your folks down in Alabama don’t want to register them Negros...”

At the end the president said: “Now, listen George, don’t think about 1968; you think about 1988. You and me, we’ll be dead and gone then, George. What you want left after you, when you die? Do you want a great, big, marble monument that reads ‘George Wallace — He Built’? Or do you want a little piece of scrawny pine board lying across that harsh, caliche soil, that reads, ‘George Wallace — He Hated’.”

We don’t have leadership like that at the moment and why there is no government more than seven weeks after the General Election?

Mary Sullivan

College Road

Cork


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