Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Half-Hearted Defense of Harry Reid

We're so childish in the way that we deal with racial issues in this country.

Race ought not to be a factor in politics. Race is a factor in politics. I don't cast my vote because of a candidate's race. Many people do.

Because so many people will be influenced by race in casting a ballot—because race indeed is a factor in politics—people who analyze politics are going to analyze the racial factors in politics. It is just that simple.

I guarantee you that Harry Reid voted for Obama. Were I a betting man, I'd bet money that Harry Reid would vote for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or Mike Tyson or [insert African-American person here] before he would vote for any Republican. The subject matter is not Harry Reid's personal feelings about the candidates.

If he's opining that Obama's light skin color and refined diction make him more electable than Black candidates who lack those features, then Reid is analyzing OTHER PEOPLE'S racism, and not demonstrating his own. Reid's having to apologize is silly; calls for his resignation are outright ridiculous.

I think that even Michael Steele and my own Senator John Cornyn probably even think the same thing (although each is calling for Reid's resignation). They've just been overcome by the temptation to engage in a little tit-for-tat. Certainly, any Republican who uttered anything vaguely resembling Reid's comments would have been interred in Guantanamo already (Remember President Carter's "analysis" of Joe Wilson's comments?).

But two wrongs don't make a right, and somebody has to show the way forward in race relations in the US. Democrats are obviously and demonstrably incapable of doing so. The more opportunistic that Republicans become in their attempts to hasten the inevitable Ides of March for Democrat control of the Hill, the less optimistic I become that they, either, are willing to lift race-rhetoric in this country to someplace higher.


Tim G said...


kws said...

Another example of why you could never be successful in politics. This post is way too thoughtful and makes too much sense.

Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary.

Race has been an effective political weapon in our country for 200 years. First, in slavery, then in the Jim Crow South, then in Civil Rights, then in Affirmative Action, and as proposed in so-called "Reparations", and constantly as a shaming techique against one's political opponents.

In just the last few years, we have watched Jesse Jackson, Trent Lott, Robert Byrd, Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, Joe Biden, and George Allen (just to name a few) all undergo a public flogging about something they said related to race. Now, Harry Reid (and to a lesser extent, Bill Clinton) is in the cross hairs.

The only good thing to come out of all this is to show, again, that our society does not approve of racism.

The negative thing is that we have to endure political points scored by opponents in "gotcha" moments, with the results being non-uniform and unfair. So, Trent Lott makes a stupid toast at a 100 year old's birthday party, and loses his senate seat over the outcry of several pols, including the current President. So, Harry Reid says something terrible (I want to here him say what at "Negro dialect" is) but because of political alliances and the current balance of power, will escape official censure. (But will probably not escape removal from his state's voters this year if the polls are any indication).

The way home on race, in my opinion, is what I observe in common ordinary life. I live in the South. Not the deep South, but the South. We have several mixed race couples in our church, and families of one race adopting from another race. We just had a young couple return from Kenya with twin one year old boys 2 days ago.

This trend is not going to abate. It will make race much less of a factor in the future.

That will go much further than any of the manufactured outrage (even against things that truly are outrageous), quota systems, so-called "reparations" etc. that we have to endure.

It's not 1964 anymore, and the sooner we admit that, the better off we're going to be.

Now, got to get home to catch Chris Rock on television tonight. His act contains absolutely no controversial racial statements.