When we last met in this space, I was telling you about Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist … about how he was pontificating on healthcare reform … about how the anger out there isn’t really a manifestation of the unhappiness with the way healthcare reform turned out, according to Mr. Rich. Instead we were angry, Frank Rich informed us – or more accurately, fearful – because a black man is president, a woman is Speaker of the House, a Latina is on the U.S. Supreme Court and a powerful congressman is gay.
Painful as it may be to read his tripe a second time, here it is, just so you may recall that either a) you are a bigot or b) Frank Rich is a shameless left-wing twit:
“That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964. …
“If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.”
Frank Rich’s predictable observations stem from an episode that might or might not have happened – the shouting of racial slurs at two black congressmen outside the Capitol before the vote on ObamaCare. No need to re-hash that story except to say: no audio proof has turned up to support the allegation. And as for the “spitting” episode which supposedly took place when a white Tea Party demonstrator let loose on a black congressmen – well, video shows it didn’t quite happen that way.
Yes, the demonstrator was shouting at the congressman as he walked by — just as he had been shouting at white members of Congress — but from the pictures it looks like the protestor was guilty of nothing more than saying it and spraying it at the same time. Not nice, but not racist either.
So based on these incidents we not only got Frank Rich’s two cents about racist white America, but also a dirty little piece of work by Colbert King in the Washington Post which ran under this headline:
In the faces of Tea Party shouters, images of hate and history
It gets a lot worse after that. “The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956 as Autherine Lucy, the school’s first black student, bravely tried to walk to class,” is how the column begins.
“Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.”
So the tea partiers are no different — no better — than the racist thugs who tried to block integration some 50 years ago.
King goes on. “Tea Party members, as with their forerunners who showed up at the University of Alabama and Central High School, behave as they do because they have been culturally conditioned to believe they are entitled to do whatever they want, and to whomever they want, because they are the ‘real Americans,’ while all who don’t think or look like them are not.
“And they are consequential. Without folks like them, there would be no Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Pat Buchanan. There would never have been a George Corley Wallace …
“Hence, an explanation for the familiarity of faces: today’s Tea Party adherents are George Wallace legacies. They, like Wallace’s followers, smolder with anger. They fear they are being driven from their rightful place in America.”
This is nothing less than slander. And shallow slander at that. Even if one or two or three – or 10 or 15 – demonstrators crossed a very bright line and shouted racial slurs, does this mean the rest of the crowd – thousands of others – were also racists? Does it mean that the entire Tea Party movement is rotten to its core? No serious person would conclude that. No serious person would write such nonsense.
But here’s something that seems to have escaped Mr. King and his sophisticated editors at the Washington Post: Yelling racial slurs is indeed hateful, but so is yelling racism just because you feel like it. Yes, some people see a racist behind every tree. Some think it’s still 1957 in America. This is their problem. They should not make it ours.
I suspect we haven’t read or heard the last of this kind of journalistic sludge. Its goal, of course, is to silence critics of President Obama. Who, after all, wants to be called a racist? (By the way, if we really were a bunch of racists, we wouldn’t care!) So be careful out there: if you criticize President Obama for almost anything, you run the risk of being tarred a bigot.
The election of President Obama was supposed to take us to a new better place. He was, we were repeatedly told, not the usual politician. He was The Future. With the election of the first black president in a predominantly white country, race was supposed to fade into the background.
How’s that working out for you?