When growing up I was always warned to consider my words carefully. If memory serves, the precise admonition was “don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.” Heeding this warning saved me from many a butt whipping. If only our current crop of political leaders had learned this lesson.
They will lie in a minute and will continue to do so even when they know better. And they show little regard for reasonableness, appropriateness, or the consequences of their statements. Like a broken toilet whatever comes up comes out.
For example, given our unfortunate history one would think that our national leaders would shy away from intemperate remarks about race. Said remarks only serve to open old wounds and to divide us along political and ethnic lines precisely when we need to be united. Regrettably, certain Congressmen could care less.
Take for example the remarks of Iowa Republican Congressman Steven King who warned that immigration was “a slow moving terrorist attack”. He once compared immigrants to livestock and likened DREAMERS to drug mules that cross the U. S. border with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
But the commentary that takes the cake, at least this week belongs to Alabama Republican Representative Mo Brooks. When discussing the inability of the GOP to woo people of color Congressman Brooks said:
“This is part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true. Okay.”
The same sentiment was repeated shortly thereafter during an interview with The Huntsville Times. And before that Congressman Brooks offered the following solution to the immigration problem, “I will do anything short of shooting them.”
When we first learned of these comments our initial thought was incredulity. That a member of Congress would accuse the President of engaging in a race war is the nothing less than astounding. No one has claimed that whites hate everyone else certainly not the President and significant evil can be visited upon a person well short of a bullet.
Let us be reminded that the President is half white. His birth mother is white as is the grandmother who raised him. Presumably his aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews, at least on his mother’s side are white. For the President to declare a war on Caucasians is to wage war against himself, his family and those with birthed, fed and raised him.
If the President has declared a war on white America, those who voted for him clearly did not receive the e-mail. But for the white vote the President would not have been elected in either 2008 or 2012.
In addition, the President has appointed a wealth of whites to his Cabinet and other positions of power. His first and second Secretaries of State are white as are his Secretaries of Defense and Education, just to name a few.
Moreover, all relevant socio-economic indicators belie such a war, declared or undeclared. The positive indicators including employment, income, education, business and home ownership, two parent families, etc., reveals that whites are doing significantly better than others. The negative indicators like rates of poverty, homelessness, single family parenting, incarceration and health disparity show that minorities are doing significantly worse than whites. Where is the war of which the Congressman speaks and if there is such a war precisely where are its victims?
The Congressman’s allegation is also the height of political hypocrisy. Apparently he is unfamiliar with the Republican’s “Southern Strategy”. From approximately 1950 to 1960 the GOP traded its soul to the devil of racial politics by intentionally exploiting the racial fears of white Southerners. It was during this period that the Dixiecrats and those opposed to racial equality shifted en mass from the Democratic to the Republican Party.
Add to the “Southern Strategy” the dogged determination to disenfranchise minorities via gerrymandering, redistricting and voter suppression, coupled with racial buzz words and dog whistles like Reagan’s “welfare queens”, or the “Willie Horton” ads. Also consider statements made by Republican stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck (Obama hates white people), Ted Nugent (President Obama is a sub-human mongrel) and the above referenced Congressmen King and Brooks. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that it is the GOP, not the opposition which is guilty of racial politics.
We do not contend that only the right plays the race card. It does not. We do not argue that only Republicans make inappropriate remarks. No one has a monopoly on asininity. And no group is above criticism.
In past blogs including “Beyond Race, Template for a Post Racial America”, “A Hard Conversation to Have”, Where Do We Go From Here”, “Where the Hammer Meets the Nail”, “The Red Pill or the Blue Pill”, “To Merely Survive” and “Future Now”, Blackacre has unequivocally stated that regardless of what has been visited upon us, past, present and future, we are still responsible for who we are and what we do. We have been steadfast in our insistence on personal responsibility and have taken to tasks African-Americans who subscribe to the victim/entitlement/enabler syndrome.
The same level of responsibility and accountability applies to our political leaders and their constituents. While change may be unsettling, no ethnic group is made a victim merely because of America’s changing demographics any more than a minority is discriminated against simply because he or she resides in a predominately white community. The loss of majority status is not a declaration of war and to lose a presidential election is not evidence of election fraud.
Such fraud may exist, but it is not in the form of voter impersonation and will not be cured by voter identification requirements. A 2012 study by the Washington Post found that in person voter fraud virtually never occurs; about 1 in 15 million. And a 2014 study by same found strong evidence of discriminatory intent behind voter identification laws.
In conclusion, the Congressman’s statement is demonstrably false, completely unnecessary and wholly irresponsible. He is simply whining because he can’t get his way and is shamelessly playing the race card in the process. More importantly, he is playing a dangerous game.
With the browning of America stoking our racial fears, the plethora of guns, the emergence of armed extremist and the heat of our inner cities, do we really need a U. S. Congressman lighting the tinderbox of a race war? As those in social media might say shut the hell up.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum