As Mark Steyn noted this past weekend, the smearing of tea-party members by elected representatives and their media acolytes demonstrates the desperation and bankruptcy of many of today’s arguments in support of the liberal agenda — in this case, health-care reform. The claim that black Democratic congressmen courageously defied being spat upon and being called the n-word reflects a pathetic attempt to equate their support for the cynical, corrupt process by which the health-care bill was passed with the heroic efforts of the civil-rights movement.
Unable to marshal coherent arguments in favor of the bill’s merits, Obamacare supporters resort to a most reliable standby: accusing their opponents of racism. But time has passed these liberals by. The ubiquity of new media exposes the calumny as a fraud. Despite the presence of dozens of reporters, recorders, and cameras, no evidence has been produced in support of the accusations.
Crying racism whenever there is a legitimate policy dispute is an old, tired, and increasingly ineffective tactic. The Congressional Black Caucus would have us believe that although virulent racism is now subterranean, it’s just as dangerous and pervasive as it was 50 years ago and surfaces whenever liberals try to do good.
But more and more Americans refuse to be cowed into guilty submission by this maneuver. A majority of Americans were born after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Segregation and de jure racial discrimination are not part of their experience. Nor do they feel responsibility for it.
Continued use of the “cry racism” tactic — despite its diminishing effectiveness — is partially the result of groups like the CBC having long since lost their reason for being. The battles that the CBC ostensibly was organized to fight have largely been won. All of the major civil rights legislation that can be passed has been passed. The nation has elected a black president, black CEOs run some of the largest corporations in America, perhaps the most celebrated neurosurgeon in the world is black, some of the most popular and powerful media personalities are black, we’ve had two black secretaries of state in the past ten years, etc. — and yet the CBC would have us believe that majority opposition to an unconstitutional, galactically expensive health-care plan must necessarily be motivated by racism.
While members of the CBC tilt at windmills from decades past, they adamantly refuse to engage or even acknowledge the actual problems that currently plague the black community — single parenthood, dysfunctional schools, the debilitating effects of the welfare state (if you want to see the promised splendor of Obamacare right now, go to the inner city), to name a few.
These problems don’t fall neatly into the anti-discrimination model with which liberal groups are most comfortable. And they refuse to leave their comfort zone.