Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bill Crawford: We Need More Sonnys

The day before election days harried politicians scurry to and fro making last minute connections and headlines to squeeze out those last few votes.


The first "day before" this year for Mississippi elections landed on August 5th. That is also the birthday of a Mississippi politician who seldom had to scurry for last minute votes. The late Congressman G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery would have turned 99 this year. That's also about the margin of his tightest race, his 1955 election to the Mississippi State Senate over then Lauderdale County School Principal Donald Williamson.

In remembering Sonny, the stark contrast between him and today's state and national politicians stands out. Aggressive partisanship embraced today casts those from the other party as enemies. Sonny was above partisanship, seeing others as potential allies. Indeed, Sonny worked tirelessly to unite, not divide.

Former Senate Majority Leader and Republican Senator Trent Lott said at Sonny's 2006 memorial service, "A long-time Democrat, Sonny was truly above party. And no one, on either side of the aisle, ever questioned his sincerity, his integrity, or his independence. A loyal son of Mississippi, one of ours, from his birth to his passing, he really belonged to the nation. For although he saw things from the wisdom and experience of Mississippi's people, what he always looked out for was the national good."

Hmmm. "Above party … national good," attributes all but erased from today's politics.

Sonny believed there were some things too important to leave to partisan politics. One was the absolute necessity for the transition from the draft to an all-volunteer military to succeed.

Army historian, Col. Michael Meese, Ph.D., explained, "Transitioning to the All-Volunteer Force was the most important change the Army made since WWII; the Montgomery GI Bill was the policy vehicle that allowed this to happen." This comes from a book appropriately entitled "Across the Aisle." It chronicles Sonny's persevering seven-year bipartisan leadership to get this historic legislation enacted.

The unabashed partisanship of today suggests there are no decisions needed in Mississippi or Washington that are too important to leave to partisan politics.

If so, leaders like Sonny must no longer be needed.

In a letter to Sonny, former Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia wrote, “You are one of the most reassuring things I have found in congress. Your honesty, your statesmanship, your commitment to your country & your love of God will be sorely missed.”

“We loved his humor, we loved his patriotism and we loved his faith,” said the late and former First Lady Barbara Bush at Sonny's memorial service.

Those of us who knew and worked with Sonny saw and appreciated these attributes. He was a true peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).

We miss you Sonny and do need more like you.

(For you history buffs, Sonny's next closest vote occurred after his 10 years of service in the state senate during his first race for Congress. In the 1966 Democratic primary, Sonny won in the first with about a 99 vote margin over three other candidates. He won the general election with 65% of the vote, the next general two years later with 70%, four of the next 11 with over 90% with the other seven uncontested. He won in 1992 with 81% and in 1994 with 68%. Sonny retired after 30 years in the Congress in 1997.)

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this is about Sonny's BBQ on 80, defunct, I agree. Otherwise, Crawford is, as always, an imbecile.

Anonymous said...

I went to Sonny Montgomery's funeral and George H W Bush was so grief stricken that Barbara Bush had to speak for the ex president. It was a wonderful ceremony with military flyovers, etc. That is not what we have going on in D.C. these days. They were absolute best friends. There was absolutely no bi-partican rhetoric..

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't matter if we had more like him today because he would never get elected today. He would be called a Hollywood Libtard and accused of being a Socialist.

Anonymous said...

8:34...among other things.

Anonymous said...

Sonny's BBQ?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Montgomery was a fine man; loved dogs and children and was kind to old people. But the last thing we need is another 30 year Congressman. Do you know why government is so large and complicated; why our national debt is mind boggling? It is because the longer elected officials remain in power the bigger and more complex they get. Congress and this nation get into the predicament we are today by men and women serving a couple of terms and then going to the house.

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't know much @8:34 because if you did you'd realize that Sonny couldn't get elected as a Democrat in today's United States.

Anonymous said...

8:34 pm is right. We can't seem to elect people who put their duty to country first or who can get along well with others.

Of course, in the past, the political parties could vet the candidates on their slates. It kept out those who were obviously mentally unbalanced and unqualified or who had easy to find shady backgrounds.

Also, in the past, newspapers would quote a lie without also printing why it wasn't true after a fact check. Commentators had some expertise in the subjects they discussed and weren't drug addicts and didn't have a shady personal history.

But, in the past, winning and money was less important than honor and truth. And, being self-centered was seen as character flaw.


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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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