Who Could Have Imagined It

There was much to dislike about the Sonia Sotomayor hearings in the Senate.

Here was a woman who turned on herself, who renounced her own views, not once but over and over again.  When asked by Republicans what she meant by this controversial statement or that, we got fog.  What about that “wise Latina” comment?  Sorry, if you misunderstood what I meant, Senator.  Once she claimed she had used the wrong words to say what she had intended.  Thanks.  But what we saw for the most part was a woman prepared to abandon her most fundamental beliefs – only until the final vote on her confirmation is in, it’s safe to assume — to insure what was a sure thing in any case:  that she would become the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

If you know the outcome in advance, if you know you’re going to get the job, why not have the guts to stick by your own words, your own beliefs?  What harm could it do?

But this is how the game is played and only a political naïf would be surprised by the show Judge Sotomayor and her Democratic friends in the Senate put on last week.  Some said the hearings were dull.  I found them depressing.

Sonia Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that dismissed, virtually without comment, the case of the New Haven firefighters who claimed they were victims of racial discrimination.  New Haven officials refused to give them the promotions they had earned, the firefighters said, simply because they were white (one was Hispanic).  The city had another story; it said it feared lawsuits since no blacks did well enough to get promotions.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the firefighters indeed were victims of discrimination, based on the color of their skin — but only by the narrowest possible margin.  The vote was 5 to 4.

The closeness of the vote is depressing enough.  Four liberal justices were willing to tolerate racial discrimination because of some imagined fear that the city would have to fight costly lawsuits. Would liberals see it the same way if the victims of discrimination had been black firefighters?

Then we got the Senate hearings and had to endure more of the same shameless acceptance of racial discrimination.  Every liberal senator on the Judiciary Committee was more than willing to accept Judge Sotomayor’s decision against the firefighters.  Tolerance of such obvious racial discrimination was a small price, they figured, to make sure a liberal judge like Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed (even though the nomination was never in doubt).

But the price for putting up with discrimination is never a small one.  Sometimes it can cost you your soul.  Remember, liberals were the courageous ones who back in the day led the fight against racial discrimination.  Now, liberals are the ones who are not only willing to tolerate discrimination, but actually support it, to champion it, so long as it is done in the name of diversity and so long as the victims are white males, even blue-collar white males like the New Haven firefighters.

This is why so many of us who started out as liberals have moved on.  We have evolved.  Liberals, on the other hand, have forgotten how to be liberal.  They talk about empathy but have none for those firefighters, simply because of the color of their skin.

Who could have imagined back in the 60s when the fight for civil rights was in full bloom that someday it would come to this:  liberals defending discrimination based on race?

Not me.

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  • Mike

    Is it my imagination or has the 911 trial been put out there to take heat off off the health care debate and we are all being taken in by it. I have noticed lately that when discussions on the cable channels start talking facts and figures on health care ( I have seen this too many times over the past two weeks to be co-incidental) , the moderator or host then seques into discussing the 911 trial especially at CNN. It is almost like it is a programmed response. Maybe I’ve seen too many conspiracy theory movies,.

  • John

    Hi Bernie.
    I think it is time to make a distinction between “racism”and “racialism”. What made this country great was the principle of rights, which are by definition “indiviual”. Individual rights thus recognizes no other discrimination except “individual”. (When discussing rights, “individual” is actually redundant.)And while racists are found in every society, a racist is racist because he seeks his identity not through himself, but through his ethnic group, and in turn sees all other individuals the same way, through one’s body chemistry, or “blood”. Racism is thus a form of collectivism, the enemy of republican democracy, which is based on individual rights. However, there are some individuals who, although nurtured by racist thinking, achieve much success and a sense of individuality by their individual merits, in the face of their racist upbringing. They have, in a real sense, out grown their group, and are now conflicted. Many are imbued with a sense of guilt, which may account for their blatant hypocrisy. Judge Sotomayor may or may not be a racist, I do not know if she SEES every individual through a collectivist ethnic lens. Only she knows for sure. But she is a racialist because as a judge she will OVERLOOK the individual (and therefore rights) in order to justify to herself her rulings that discriminate outside the “individual”.

  • Alan

    I also never imagined that the same people (Bill Ayers, for example) that fought the establishment, to the tune of terrorist attacks in the 60s, would embrace that same establishment today.

  • John

    Bernie is one of the very few grown-ups in the media, when it comes to discussing the issue of race.

    It’s amazing to me, in our current culture, that standing up for blind justice is seen by so many as being socially insensitive.

    By the way, best deal ever: I got Bernie’s first two hardcover books (I’ve already read the other three) for $1 each at my local book store. Almost done with “Bias”. A great read.

  • http://libertarianmother.blogspot.com/ Mary

    I love reading your posts Bernie. I am sick and tired of white people receiving the short end of the stick because, for some reason, we still need to make up for taking the lands from the Indians and slavery in the 1800s. Well, guess what. My great-grandparents on both sides didn’t arrive in America until the late 1890s and early 1900s!

    Why are Caucasians (especially males) the only people who can be racist? Why are Caucasians (especially males) not allowed to be discriminated against?

    Here’s one for you Bernie. When the KKK shows up it seems the whole STATE makes a ruckus about it. But when an Islamic extremist group holds a recruiting conference only a few people show up to protest and it doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as a KKK rally. Why is that?

  • l robinson wallace

    Where in North Carolina does Bernie Live ?

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    We need more people, like this, who can tell it like it is. Discrimination is discrimination, whether it’s gays and lesbians not permitted to enter a public school, male victims of domestic abuse being disallowed in shelters, or firefighters being denied promotions because they’re Caucasian.

    • Bernie

      Exactly!

  • timn

    Thanks Bernie for having the guts to say what needs to be said. My father had to leave school after the sixth grade to help feed his family. He survived the depression by working fields in Minnesota farms. A third serious wound in combat during WWII to finally send him home with the third Purple Heart pinned to his pillow by General Patton. He returned to the farm fields and saved enough money to move to the big city. He got married, put four kids through college, and retired from a management position at a major corporation. All with a sixth grade education. And as a white man, he was a Democrat converted by Ronald Reagan and supported civil rights and the belief that all Americans were guaranteed the right to pursue the American Dream. So I would have liked to personally ask Nominee Sotomayor during the hearings how a wise Latina could reach a better conclusion than a white man? The man that bled for her rights to rise to the Supreme Court.

    • Bernie

      Your father sounds like a great man. I know you’re proud of him.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Liberals have nothing but contempt for blue-collar white males.

  • Leland

    As a victim of reverse discrimination it troubles me deeply that Judge Sotomayor will be moving up the food chain.

    Contrary to what President Obama wants, the place for an empathetic judge on the trial bench. Once the trial is concluded, the only thing at issue is whether or not the law was properly applied. Empathy for the outcome does not come into that. Only the words written in the law books and the US constitution.

    For that you need someone that can set their feelings aside and apply the law no matter how cold and harsh the outcome may be.

  • PJ

    Thought-provoking article, Mr. Goldberg. Excellent. Like you, the Sotomayor hearings made me sad. I kept thinking my Senate rep., Lindsey Graham, would come down harder with his questions, but he wimped out in the end. Disappointing. What a contrast Sotomayor’s hearing was compared with Judge Thomas or Judge Allito, etc. After the two firemen spoke, I was positive that even some of the Democrats would question the “wise Latina” a little harshly. Wrong! I feel like our freedoms, as we know them, are gasping for breath in the Intensive Care ward. How I pray they’ll survive.