When this is racist and that is racist appears more than once a month in a new story or interview, eventually the word loses its effectiveness.
For example, television viewers are no longer shocked to see interracial kissing. The insistence that most shows feature at least one openly gay character seems to be unimpressive to audiences today. All-black or all-Hispanic sit coms fail at the same rate as all other shows. Liberal Hollywood used exposure to deaden the shock to traditional expectationsit is an effective strategy, and one used today by advertisers, movie makers, savvy conservatives, and news organizations. Keep pushing the shock value and eventually no one is shocked by it.
The same thing happened to racism: charges of racismpatently falsebecame such a knee-jerk reaction to anything liberals could not argue against that today it has become largely humorous. Fifteen years ago, the charge of racism was devestating. Today, it is nearly a badge of honor because it indicates that the recipient of the charge must be onto something good.
No better example of this was the recent charge that Newt Gingrich was a racist because he addressed a reporter by his first name, despite years of personal friendship, on live television. When challenged how this could conceivably be racist, the Left replied that it wasready for this?a racist dogwhistle, meaning that use of a persons first name carried a special code only racists could understand.
Against government spending? Racist. Oppose public sector unions? Racist. Prefer to drive rather than use public transportation? Racist. Like ketchup more than mustard? Youre probably racist; hang on while we check. Rhetorically, when a person uses the R-word to counter another argument, it has become a reductio ad absurdum defense: reduced to the point of adbsurdity.
Had liberals used the racist charge only when it actually applied, it might not become the punchline it is today.
Look, the liberal track record here is not very good. Generally, when the Left charges someone with racism, one of the following is certain to occur:
1. You got the wrong guy. No better example of this is Al Sharpton: virtually any side he picks will wind up being the wrong one. If you feel you have a case, and Al Sharpton flies down for solidarity with you, you have to realize that youve lost your argument. His track record is that bad. Likewise, Jesse Jackson is equally likely to demand an investigation and then be utterly embarrassed by the outcome. These demogogues are like the Washington Generals of causes.
2. He actually is a Leftist himself. Racism, whether embodied by Nazis, the Klan, Communists, fascists, or other folks no one likes, tends to be a liberal phenomenon. Most liberals, in return, fail to realize that racism is incompatible with conservative principles for a variety of reasons. Sure, there are right-wing racists; there just are very few of them, and they rarely have much of an effect beyond their immediate circle. And unlike the Left, the Right tends to identify and isolate these crackpots as quickly as possible.
3. He has a strong argument and the Left knows it. When Rep. Joe Wilson inappropriately heckled President Obama with You lie! during a speech on government takeover of healthcare, he was attacked as a racist under the assumption that he could not accept that Obama was black. The reality is that President Obama was in fact lying through his teeth: the President knew it, Rep. Wilson knew it, and the Left most assuredly knew it. Since they could not explain why Wilson was wrong, they turned to their overdrawn racism card once again.
4. He most definitely is not. On a bizarrely paneled CNN debate, actor Jay Thomas accused editor Joel Pollack of being afraid of black people simply because the latter linked President Obama to radicals. Pollack refused to acknowledge this, and returned to a point-by-point syllogism of how Obama has associated with radicalism. Pollack might, however, have mentioned that his wifeand therefore half his family through marriageis not only black, but his mother-in-law is a friend, acquaintance, and political associate of Nelson Mandela. Similarly, this is why the Left accused Republicans of supporting Herman Cain: because conservatives are trying to hide their racism.
Frankly, this is all a good thing. Conservatives have gone, in a few short years, from playing defense on racism to exposing the Lefts flamboyant hypocrisy at every turn. Were not sure if anyone really believes it anymore. Let us hope not.
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