In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the topic of race relations has once again stirred contentious debates amongst liberals and conservatives in this country, considering that the racial make-up of the victims we saw on the news channels broadcasting scenes from New Orleans everyday was/is overwhelmingly black.
The most absurd of the many allegations made against the federal government for their ‘slow response’ to Hurricane Katrina have come from black Democrats in the US Congress, in state governments, and in various ‘leadership’ and spokesperson positions. Their allegation: that the Bush administration, made up of a bunch of ‘racist thugs’, deliberately intended for the response to Hurricane Katrina to be ‘slow’ because the racial make-up of the majority of those affected in La., specifically New Orleans, was/is black. In the minds of these black ‘leaders’ that was the reason for the allegedly slow response. Incompetence on the part of local and state officials did not even enter into the picture. Before I continue, here’s a refresher on some of the comments made by these black Democrat ‘leaders’ in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
Rev. Jesse Jackson, media-proclaimed civil rights ‘activist’ and also founder and president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition: "There is a historical indifference to the pain of poor people, and black people … we seem to adjust more easily to black pain." As far as relief roles, Jackson wondered: "Why are there no African Americans in that circle? …. How can blacks be left out of the leadership and trapped into the suffering?" – Sept. 2, 2005
Randall Robinson, social justice advocate and author. He wrote the following at the Huffington Post: "Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them. I am a sixty-four year old African-American. New Orleans marks the end of the America I strove for. I am hopeless. I am sad. I am angry against my country for doing nothing when it mattered. This is what we have come to. This defining watershed moment in America’s racial history. For all the world to witness. For those who’ve been caused to listen for a lifetime to America’s ceaseless hollow bleats about democracy. For Christians, Jews and Muslims at home and abroad. For rich and poor. For African-American soldiers fighting in Iraq. For African-Americans inside the halls of officialdom and out. My hand shakes with anger as I write. I, the formerly un-jaundiced human rights advocate, have finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud. But what can I do but write about how I feel. How millions, black like me, must feel at this, the lowest moment in my country’s story." – Sept. 2, 2005
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18th District, TX): "Watching family members and others cling to rooftops in Hurricane Katrina, I wonder whether or not the absence of attention [to the recovery effort] is attributable to the loss of a vote in 2000 and 2004." -Sept. 29, 2005
Representative Charlie Rangel (D-15th District, NY): "George Bush is our Bull Connor … if you’re black in this country, and you’re poor in this country, it’s not an inconvenience – it’s a death sentence … If there’s one thing that George Bush has done that we should never forget, it’s that for us and for our children, he has shattered the myth of white supremacy once and for all." -Sept. 22, 2005 – these comments, made a a Congressional Black Caucus townhall meeting were met with wild applause and cheering from those in attendance.
The people who defended Rangel:
Rev. Al Sharpton, media-described black ‘activist’ and former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination: "I think that the statement clearly says that if there is a person that is a symbol that many blacks organize around and organize against in this generation, it would be Bush – as it was with one generation and Connor … Clearly Bush has become that, especially after Katrina," Rev. Sharpton said. "We’ve gone from fire hoses to levees." – Sept. 27, 2005
Representative Major Owens (D-11th District, NY): "Bull Connor didn’t even pretend that he cared about African-Americans. You have to give it to George Bush for being even more diabolical … With his faith-based initiatives, he made it appear that he cared about black Americans. Katrina has exposed that as a big lie … This is worse than Bull Connor." -Sept. 27, 2005
New York City Councilman Charles Barron: "I think that’s an insult to Connor … George Bush is worse, because he has more power and he’s more destructive to our people than Bull Connor will ever be … A KKK without power is not as bad as a George Bush with power … To be a racist in the richest, most powerful country in the world is lethal … Look what he’s doing to communities of color all over the world … He’s a lethal racist … What he did in New Orleans – I mean, that’s worse than what Bull Connor did in his entire career as a racist in the South. Look at these neighborhoods before Katrina hit. Bush made that community what it is. Katrina did the rest, in partnership with Bush, to deliver the final blow." – Sept. 27, 2005
As I blogged earlier this week regarding Rangel’s comments, that story has received little attention in the mainstream press. As of this writing, it still hasn’t, with a majority of stories being written about it having been published either in the NYSun, NYPost, press releases, or conservative opinion outlets, which is in stark contrast to the amount of mainstream articles in which white Republican Tennessee state representative Stacey Campfield’s quotes about the KKK having ‘less racists bylaws’ than the state’s Black Legislative Caucus appear. It should also be noted that not a single Democrat in the US Congress has responded affirmatively to the RNC’s demand for an apology or denunciation.
While black Democrats have been busy demagoguing the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, white race baiting Democrats like DNC Chair Howard Dean have been busy fanning the flames of racism as well on an unrelated issue. Apparently, Mr. Dean – former Governor of Vermont and wildly popular with Dems until the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries – didn’t want to feel left out. To briefly recap an earlier post on this, Dean was responding to the following comments made by former Education Sec. Bill Bennett:
BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don’t know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don’t know. I mean, it cuts both — you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well –
CALLER: Well, I don’t think that statistic is accurate.
BENNETT: Well, I don’t think it is either, I don’t think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don’t know. But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
Dean’s response? Typical demagoguery:
"Bill Bennett’s hateful, inflammatory remarks regarding African Americans are simply inexcusable. They are particularly unacceptable from a leader in the conservative movement and former Secretary of Education, once charged with the well being of every American school child. He should apologize immediately. This kind of statement is hardly compassionate conservatism; rather, Bennett’s comments demonstrate a reprehensible racial insensitivity and ignorance. Are these the values of the Republican Party and its conservative allies? If not, President Bush, Ken Mehlman and the Republican Leadership should denounce them immediately as hateful, divisive and worthy only of scorn.
Hard to believe that after weeks of rampant race-baiting from members of his own party, Mr. Dean had the nerve to make the statement he did above. Apparently, he-of- "yeaaaaaaaaaggggh" – fame isn’t big on cleaning up his own backyard before he starts dipping into someone else’s …. who’s yard is much cleaner, I should add.
Dean, Republican-hater that he is, cleverly tied in Bennett with the President and Republicans in general with the implication being that if the President and/or other top Republicans didn’t denounce Bennett’s comments that they were ‘just as bad’ as Bennett – in other words, they were showing their ‘true racist colors.’ Dean no doubt was and is aware of Republican sensitivity to the allegation of racism and capitalized politically on it. This story got so much attention today that, sadly, the President responded to the political pressure by condemning Bennett’s remarks.
The fact of the matter is, Dean and Rangel and the rest of the people quoted in this post know that what they’re saying isn’t true. Why do they say it, then? It’s simple.
As I was in the midst of composing this post, I received a trackback from The Unalienable Right blog in response to another post here and thought to myself that they might as well have just reached into my brain and pulled out what I wanted to say. They nailed the reason why Democrats push these phony assertions about widespread Republican racism onto the American people:
Let’s take the incendiary subject of race out of the Bill Bennett controversy for a moment, and examine the issue in the abstract. Let’s imagine he was having a conversation on the radio about health care, and said something like, “Imagine we implemented a nationalized, single-payer health care system, like Canada or France. That might very well lead to effects X, Y or Z. For those reasons and others, it would be a terrible idea.”
Would anyone take that as Bennett advocating in favor of nationalizing the U.S. health care system? Of course not. Floating a hypothetical, and then discussing potential implications of that hypothetical, doesn’t imply support for the underlying premise. That’s especially true if the speaker concludes by saying the idea is a “reprehensible” one.
So what’s different about the Bennett controversy? The Democrats need a monolithic black vote in order to have any chance of winning elections. If John Kerry had won “only” 70% of the black vote in 2004 instead of 90%, he would have lost in a landslide. Same for Gore in 2000. So stirring up racial division is essential to Democratic electoral prospects.
So any time a chance presents itself for Democrats to wail and moan about how racist Republicans are, they jump at it.
Bang on. The Democrats want to ensure that black Democrats stay Democrats, so they peddle this line about Republican racism ad nauseam to score political points, thereby cementing it in the brains of black Democrats. Republicans fall all over themselves to make something they said that wasn’t wrong to begin with right in order to appease the media, Democrats, and the black community due to their sensitivity on the issue.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t racist Republicans. There are. But by far, as the quotes above show you, the true race baiters in this country are not Republicans, but Democrats, and they do it because they can’t afford to lose black votes. It’s shameless, and as the editors at The Unalienable Right blog also note, it’s despicable as well.
What’s interesting about all this is that it’s the policies of liberal Democrats, starting with the Great Society programs back in the mid 60s that badly affected the black community in this country and helped enable the rise in poverty and illegitimacy that we have seen in the poorer communities for the last 40 years. Yet prominent Democrats continue to claim that it is Republicans who want to keep the black man down, when it’s not Republicans who insult the black community with programs like affirmative action, which says that a black person gets special consideration when they apply for a job or go to college? Don’t believe me? Ask Thomas Sowell or Larry Elder or any other number of black conservatives who will tell you the same thing, and who will also tell you about how many times they’ve been called "Uncle Tom" and many other derogatory names by black Democrats simply for daring to stray from the ‘official’ line.
The media ties into all of this thanks to their one-sided coverage of racially inflammatory comments. To repeat from a prior post, Rangel and co.’s outrageous race-baiting statements about the President got very little attention from the media, while Bill Bennett’s non-scandalous statements were such an ‘outrage’ that the President himself, under political pressure, condemned them. We see this time and time again, how black Democrats (and white Dems who parrot their lines) routinely get away with making such outlandish accusations while white Republicans get called to the carpet and calls for condemnation are generally met with the politically correct response from the President and/or administration officials.
Real discussions could be had in this country about race and how Great Society programs adversely affected the black community upon their implementation but it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get to have those discussions because anytime a Republican even mentions the word "black" in a sentence, an immediate apology is called for by race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, Charlie Rangel, and Howard Dean because of political considerations. Instead of actually *caring* to discuss the issue of race and how race relations in this country can be improved, and how a second look at welfare and other social programs that hurt more than help the poor in the black community would be beneficial to everyone, it’s more important to Dean and others in the DNC who think like him to score cheap shot political points in order to keep black voters. And the media is complicit in this not only because they think like liberals, but also because they know that alleged Republican ‘racist’ statements sell many more papers than real racist statements made by Democrats.
It is long past time to stand up against this demagoguery and instead of giving in to it, as the White House did Friday, we need to reject it and stand on principle. Caving in only keeps the cycle of racial demagoguery going and only we can stop it.
Monday AM Update: La Shawn weighs in. POW! You go girl!
(Cross-posted at California Conservative)
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