WALLACE - (cont'd)
Five days, several cities, and many rolls of film later, Sonia found herself in the 23rd floor offices of the managing editor of LIFE magazine, Phil Kunhardt, Jr, looking down on a lightbox of her slides. George Wallace had been shot and critically wounded in Laurel, MD, and shehad been the only still photographer in the press pool. Not only did she get shots of the governor sprawled on the ground bleeding, but she had narrowly missed getting shot herself.
The $5000 LIFE paid her for the full-page photo was a fortune in 1972. The fact that no wire service photographer was present that day was a huge embarassment for the AP and UPI, who only had TV stills to send over the wires. It was fter that gaffe, that the wire services instituted a policy that all presidential candidates were to be covered at all scheduled public events.
Wallace’s disdain for niceties was legendary. But his outspokenness and powers of persuasion together with his Southern country-boy humor had an appeal no matter what you thought of his prejudicial slams. Here was a man who taunted DC politicians by calling them “pointy-headed intellectuals.” And in a way he was right. He amused and repulsed all at the same time. His demagoguery followed in the footsteps of Adolph Hitler and will no doubt be a precursor of demagogues to come. He understood the fears of the ordinary white working man and woman, and he played off of them brilliantly.
The people who supported Wallace were in a category unto themselves. They were "Wallace Country." Though George Wallace has since died, people of Wallace Country remain a part of the American fabric. Politicians of the future will surely tap into their fears again for a large pool of votes.
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