Commentary by James H. Shott
The word “racist” describes someone with an irrational dislike for people of a different race. In its worst forms racism involves unfair treatment of members of that race and sometimes violence against them.
Most Americans probably believe that racism has been in decline for several decades. However, news reports indicate that racism is not only alive and well in the United States, but has experienced a strong resurgence. In fact, if those making racism charges are correct, there are racists lurking behind every tree.
Examples abound: During the presidential primary campaign of 2008 we learned that anyone who opposed Democrat contender Barack Obama opposed him because he is black. By extension those who supported his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, and presumably even Mrs. Clinton, herself, are also racists. Since his election we are informed that those who do not support Mr. Obama’s policies are racists, too.
We have also learned that people who think America’s borders need to be secured to prevent illegal entry by drug dealers, kidnappers and others who sneak into our country, and think laws to prevent such entry should be enforced, are racists, as well.
We’ve been told that the people associated with the tea party movement are racists. These evil people object to what they see as government running amok, spending and taxing with abandon and exceeding its constitutional bounds. The Tea Party Patriots brazenly claim they want to “attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.” That is a radical concept, to be sure, and these grandfathers, grandmothers, plumbers, doctors, electricians, soccer moms and scout leader dads, and other normal American tea partiers are clearly racists.
And you, dear reader, are likely a racist, too, unless you voted for Barack Obama AND support Cap and Trade AND want another stimulus program AND want socialized medicine and the rationing of care AND favor government taking over industries one at a time AND don’t care who comes into our country, even kidnappers and murderers AND support every tenet of the radical leftist agenda. Presumably, if you don’t like tacos, Gen. Tso’s chicken and/or chocolate ice cream, you are a racist.
Leftists are intolerant of opposing ideas; are incapable of accepting that some people simply disagree with them; are impotent to mount serious intellectual arguments against opposing points of view, and are therefore condemned to defeat political enemies by debasing them, rather than debating them. Thus they stoop to name calling. Being a racist is one of the most damnable, despicable, loathsome, contemptible and vile things that one can be, so that is naturally the insult of choice.
After all, labeling your enemies as racists is easy, requires no thought, calls up awful visions of detestable behavior, and is effective. At least until you stop to examine the charge and realize it is usually devoid of substance. In other words, when leftists call their political enemies “racists” it is an empty, intellectually vapid charge.
In every large faction of people there likely are some jerks, some geeks, some crooks, and even some racists. An example of this truism is Mark Williams, leader of the Tea Party Express, who wrote a blog post that was at best offensive, and at worst racist. Leaders of the National Tea Party Federation, an organization seeking to represent the tea party political movement, responded by expelling Mr. Williams and the Tea Party Express from their organization.
If the tea party movement is as racist as the leftists would have us believe, why would it police itself and cast out bad apples?
It is a cheap political trick to accuse the entire tea party movement of being racist. That charge fails both the laugh test and the smell test and, more to the point, it is unsupportable.
The reckless use of the term “racism” has now entered the mainstream of American politics. Unable to defend the ineffective, irrational and dangerous policies of President Barack Obama and the Congressional leadership, leftists resort to attacking virtually anyone who disagrees with any of their positions, and labeling them “racists.” Saul Alinsky would be proud.
However, this gutter tactic has a downside, a very substantial downside: When you carelessly throw around the term, when you call everybody a racist, you render the term meaningless. and real racism, the target we all should want to eliminate, gets lost in the demagoguery.
And there’s a high degree of hypocrisy here; all incidents of racism are not equal, it seems. The NAACP recently attacked the tea party movement for its supposed racism, but ignored the overt racism by the New Black Panthers whose members have advocated killing “crackers” and white babies. We’ve seen that the tea party people oppose racism on the right; what about the NAACP? Isn’t all racism bad, or just racism by white people?
We can’t gain ground against racism by condemning some instances and ignoring others, or by degrading the term through misapplying it to political enemies.
Which begs the question: Does the left really want to fight racism, or just score cheap political points?
Cross-posted from Observations