The Left's Refusal to Evolve on Race
Whenever you hear a liberal politician talk about race these days, it's a pretty safe bet that they're not doing so in the context of issues like unemployment, inner-city violence, education, and the make-up of the American family - you know, discussions that could actually benefit minority communities. No, they're typically just accusing Republicans and conservatives of being racists -either directly or indirectly.
The frequency of these charges usually picks up around election time, as we've seen lately from the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Eric Holder, Charlie Rangel, and Steve Israel.
The "evidence" put forth by these lefties to substantiate their claims often goes back to how fiercely opposed conservatives are to President Obama and his policies. They only oppose him because he's black, is the message they pride themselves in spreading across the national airwaves.
The charge would be amusing if it wasn't so painfully irresponsible and incredibly divisive. Plus, for it to be true, it would require conservatives not to be conservative.
What do I mean by that?
While there are certainly different forms of conservatism in this country, the fundamentals that virtually all conservatives passionately share are those of small government, free market capitalism, and individual responsibility. They are the basis for the Tea Party and the basis for the conservative movement as a whole.
It seems to me that if conservatives can overlook a $17.5 trillion national debt, government-mandated healthcare, job-killing over-regulation, insolvent entitlement programs, a culture of dependency, the lowest labor force participation rate since the 1970's, and the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, and instead derive resentment from our president's skin color, that would be truly astounding.
The charge, of course, is absolutely ludicrous.
George Will recently defined the issue well when he said, "Liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days. It’s just constantly saying the word racism and racist." He went on to explain that using the charge of racism as a political tactic was a form of "intellectual poverty" because liberalism hasn’t had a new idea since the 1960’s, other than Obamacare which the country doesn't like.
While the outspokenness of racial provocateurs is indeed largely tied to politics, I do think that a lot of these people actually believe what they're saying. I think that despite a glaring lack of evidence, they view conservative opposition to the Obama administration as being motivated in large part by race. It's not a mindset exclusive to the elites, either. I see the same sentiment expressed from time to time even by my liberal friends who I consider to be good people.
The question has to be asked: Why is it so easy for liberals to believe in this nonsense? How can they look at people who are every bit as affectionate toward (and protective of) notable black conservatives like Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Dr. Ben Carson, Allen West, Tim Scott, Herman Cain, and Mia Love, as liberals are of President Obama, and so easily categorize them as racists?
I believe the answer is that many liberals just haven't evolved on race the way the rest of the country has. Their inclination is to perpetually view race relations through the lens of the 1960's (the era that George Will believes their last fresh ideas came from), and not the 21st century.
As someone young enough to have grown up after the civil rights movement, the racial slandering really is an astonishing thing to witness. In school, as I sat among kids of different ethnic backgrounds, I was taught for long hours about this country's dark racial past, and educated on the many terrible things we did as a society. As future generations are supposed to, I learned from those lessons, and never spent a lot of time thinking about what made people of color different than me.
It wasn't until decades later that I was introduced to the racial stereotypes and racist dog whistles of the 1960's, when the American Left began incessantly trumpeting them through the ears of anyone who would listen. The modern-day liberal movement's desperation to open up old scars by continually dredging up our country's reprehensible racial history, and finding ways to apply it to modern day motivations, is nothing short of perverse. You can't even get these people to acknowledge the significance of the country electing its first black president anymore.
Now, my contention is not (and never has been) that racism no longer exists in America. Of course it does. It's a sad statement on the maturity-level of our culture that I even need to clarify something so obvious, but that's the country we live in today. Everyone's looking to mutilate people's words into an argument they're not even making.
Yes, racism is real. What's unreal is how determined many on the left are to keep it from dying the natural death that it had been for decades, up until we got our nation's first black president. This is one of those things that puts liberals squarely at odds with the rest of the country.
Most of the country wants to move on. They want the racial wounds to heal. They want to stop identifying people by their race. They want to stop talking about racism, as actor Morgan Freeman profoundly suggested they should as the best way to defeat racism, back in 2009.
It's not conservatives that are preventing this from happening. They aren't the ones continually playing the race card. They aren't the ones routinely engaging in identity politics. They aren't the ones preaching ethnic victimization. Rarely do you ever even hear conservatives tossing out charges of racism.
There's a reason for that. To a typical conservative-minded person like myself, calling someone a racist is still a pretty big deal. Despite the best efforts of the left, the charge hasn't quite yet been reduced to that of impulsive name-calling that doesn't warrant proof or some coherent rationale. It still means something to people like me and I believe to most Americans. And really, it absolutely should mean something in an evolved society.
Those on the left who continue to wield race as a weapon against their opponents, regardless if they suspect it's real or not, are fighting against that evolution tooth and nail. The victims of that battle aren't conservatives, but society as a whole.
Whether or not some people can bring themselves to admit it, the 1960's are over. It's time to move on.