On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder called us “cowards” with regards to all things race. Yesterday, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn says that any Republican governor’s refusal to take federal “stimulus” money, strings and all, is a slap to the face of black people. So this is what post-racial America looks like.
First on the list: Holder.
Last I checked, it wasn’t the place for an Attorney General to talk policy, but rather to enforce the law. What exactly does characterizing America as “essentially a nation of cowards” have to do with his role as the top law enforcement officer in the country?
Furthermore, call me a coward, but I’m already growing a bit weary of hearing how Eric Holder is the nation’s “first African-American Attorney General.” Of course he is, but I don’t remember Alberto Gonzales, as vilified as he was by the mainstream press for firing nine at-will U.S. Attorneys (remember, please, that Clinton fired 92 U.S. Attorneys at the start of his first term), ever labeled as the nation’s “first Latino Attorney General.” Actually forget the whole “African-American Attorney General” thing — I’m growing a little sick and tired of the general idea of the hyphenated American at all.
“This nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate in a truly meaningful way the diverse future it is fated to have,” Holder said. “To our detriment this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race.”
Get over yourself, Mr. Holder. I seem to recall that slavery existed long before the establishment of the United States of America, but that despite the history of such oppression running back thousands of years, the United States of America actually was the one to do away with the practice. And, gosh, less than 50 years after the final roadblocks for black suffrage were torn down with the Voter Rights Act, it looks to me as though we have a black man in the White House. Sitting at the Resolute desk. Call me a coward, but I’d say we Americans have been pretty revolutionary when it comes to race relations. I’d even venture to say this nation of cowards has done more with regard to race equality than any other nation in history.
Second on the list: Clyburn.
Former President Ronald Reagan once quipped that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Well, thanks to the thankfully thankless work done by Sen. Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the suddenly pro-unilateralism congressional Democrats, the massive spending bill masqueradeing as an economic recovery package has the federal government knocking on the doors of the several states, standing not on the doormat but on a now-tattered copy of the Tenth Amendment.
For Rep. Jim Clyburn to say that gubernatorial scrutiny placed on the federal government’s extended hand and creepy smile is a “slap in the face of African-Americans” who presumably need the federal stimulus money at the state level is to ignore the basic foundations of our representative republic. Republican governors such as South Carolina’s Mark Sanford, Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Texas’ Rick Perry and Alaska’s Sarah Palin are taking it upon themselves to do what self-serving Washington politicians like Clyburn refused to do — actually look at the contents of the so-called “stimulus” package, line by line, and figure out exactly how each provision will affect the people they have been charged to represent before signing off on any aspect of it.
Barbour, for one, cited a provision in the bill which would extend unemployment benefits to people making no effort whatsoever to find a full-time job. That’s all well and good, he said, but when the stimulus money dries up, the taxpayers in his state would be left to pick up the difference in the form of needlessly increased taxes. These states need less unemployment, not more, Barbour said today, and sticking taxpayers and businesses with a higher tax burden after the federal funds are exhausted would only increase unemployment down the line.
These funds have strings attached, and these governors are doing the right thing in scrutinizing the bill when lawmakers on Capitol Hill did not. They’re being responsible with taxpayer money, plain and simple. For Jim Clyburn, praised today by New Orleans Mayor [and Evacuation Expert] Ray Nagin, to state that such fiscal responsibility–a concept utterly lost on Democrats like himself–is directed somehow by animosity towards or ignorance of the needs of black citizens is nothing short of disgusting.
How does this kind of polarizing, divisive rhetoric get us anywhere? If this is the sort of thing Clyburn feels comfortable telling a national news audience, what sorts of filth is spewing from his mouth behind closed doors or in a meeting with a small number of supporters? How does this kind of overt racism help anything?
My goodness, yesterday we had the Rev. Al Sharpton screaming about the racist overtones in a New York Post political cartoon. You’ve all seen it by now, I’m sure. Call me a coward, but I don’t see how black people could be offended by it. If anything, chimpanzees everywhere should be offended for being compared with congressional Democrats. People like Sharpton, like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, like Clyburn and indeed like Holder seem to find offense in everything, and seem to enjoy calling the rest of us out as cowards and bigots. For Sharpton and Jackson, after all, that’s what pays the bills.
It’s this culture of political correctness, this divisiveness in the name of diversity that fosters any reticence among Americans to talk about race, not the other way around. By labeling the rest of us “cowards” with regard to racial discourse in American, I’d venture to say that, in this case, Holder is very much the pot calling the kettle–well, nevermind.
Listen, it’s time we move on. It’s time we drop the hyphen, silence the divisive rhetoric, and just be Americans who want the best thing for America. That means that Eric Holder should do his job as, yes, the first African-American Attorney General and uphold the United States Constitution. That means that Jim Clyburn should do his job and adequately represent his district in the Palmetto State (perhaps he could start by actually reading the legislation he votes on).
We all need to remember our common thread here. We all need to stop thinking in terms of black and white, and start thinking in terms of Red, White and Blue.