Some of you might have read about the Democrats' success this past weekend in winning Louisiana's formerly Republican 6th Congressional District. And what kind of district is the Fightin' 6th? I just realized I mention it in passing in NIXONLAND because from 1943 to '66 it was represented by a relative liberal named James H. Morrison who backed LBJ's Great Society, until he was defeated by a conservative named John Rarick, who served for eight years.
Rarick won that first election by claiming his opponent was backed by the "Black Power voting bloc," said the election monitors watching over the racially tense Baton Rouge district according to the terms of the 1965 Voting Rights Act were "federal spies," and went on to become congress's spokesman for Americans who believed Communists were secretly poisoning Americans by fluoridating the water supply. I mentioned this particular race as one of the many bellwethers that spelled the beginning of the end for Great Society liberalism in the 1966 cycle. And I believe the very last change I made in the page proofs involved Mr. Rarick, when I learned at the last minute that he was elected to congress while a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Left for the cutting room floor, however, were these Rarick gems. This was from 1969:
"Mr. Speaker, the mothers and dads of schoolchildren can expect a further innovation in sex education. Apparently their children are not to discriminate sexually because of race, creed, or national origin. According to the reported discussions at the recent American Association of Sex Educators and Counselors annual conference, we are to believe that many teenaged white female patients expressed interest in interracial sex to show their concern and atone for white guilt... What next will the anti-morality crowd come up with? Perhaps a 'civil rights' amendment to prevent legal marriage of any two people of the same race, religion, creed, or national origin?
In another speech—alas, I'd have to run down to the library to get the full context -- Rarick averred that, "For a red-headed girl with freckles to be told, 'I b et you have freckles on your vagina,' can do lasting damage." That was after Rarick's dear colleague, James Utt of Orange County ("Utt the Nut"), argued, "The Beatles and their mimicking rock-and-rollers use the Pavlovian techniques to produce artificial neuroses in our young people. Extensive experiments in hypnotism and rhythm have shown how rock-and-rock music leads to a destruction of the normal inhibitory mechanism of the cerebral cortex and permits easy acceptance of immorality and disregard for all moral norms." These were in hearings, called by Utt and Rarick, on the horrors of sex education, which both believed one of the most pressing crises facing the nation.
Louisiana's 6th district sent Rarick to Congress four times. Now, they have chosen a Democrat to represent them. --Rick Perlstein