There is no debate on race in this campaign. In order for there to be a “debate,” there must be give and take on both sides — point, counterpoint, argument, counterargument.
But when Democrats talk about race, it’s only to call their political opponent a racist. There is nothing you or any white person can ever say that will be accepted as a legitimate argument. In fact, whatever premise you base your argument on will be rejected out of hand and you will be branded a racist.
It’s not the lecturing, the hectoring, the constant barrage of exaggerations and untruths. This is normal in today’s politics. The fact is, today’s black and liberal activists don’t seek debate; they want a reckoning — real old testament stuff. Whites are going to be made to pay for their injustices, whether real or imagined.
There is no debate about race in this campaign. Even before a discussion on race begins, you must accept the worldview of blacks and liberal Democrats that casually, obscenely accuses the entire white race of genocide, oppression, and hate. Disagreement with that preposterous premise brands you a racist. Mentioning it on the internet tags the writer as racist.
You can’t even criticize public policy, like the application of affirmative action regulations. And don’t even start on the cultural criticism that some blacks themselves see academic achievement as tantamount to betraying their race.
There is no debate on race in this campaign. It’s not that there aren’t people of good heart and good faith who are willing to engage in dialogue. They are drowned out by the extremists, the racialists, and the genuine racists who know that any intelligent dialogue about race is detrimental to their cause.
Donald Trump may or may not be a racist. He is of a certain age and grew up in a certain time when we defined all Americans by stereotype. Polish-Americans were stupid. Italian-Americans were comical. German-Americans were hard-working and industrious, and so forth.
Black Americans were happy, dancing folk who consumed large quantities of chicken and watermelon. Yes, we actually used to believe some of this. It was constantly reinforced in movies and on TV shows. Growing up in that era, Donald Trump, as almost all of us did, accepted certain stereotypes that were hurtful, even laughable. But does that make Trump a racially insensitive lout or a racist?
Those on the left don’t believe there’s a difference. They believe that you can be a racist and not even be aware of it (“white supremacy”). You can have a heart full of love and Christian charity for your fellow man, but if you’re white, this “unconscious racism” dooms you to be labeled a racist for your entire existence on this earth.
Of course it’s unfair. Of course it’s stupid. But it’s effective. Because when you call your political opponent a “racist,” the word still has the power to shut down debate, making your accuser the clear winner.
So there is an element of naked power in the use of the word “racist” that is politically enticing. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The backlash against this obscenely casual use of the word that tars innocent people with the ugliest of epithets is generating the totally unexpected; a tsunami of support for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump, Jr. at the rally in Ohio on Wednesday night:
“It’s amazing that when Donald Trump makes a comment about Baltimore, it’s racist, it’s terrible, it’s this. But when the mayor of that town, when the congressman from that town, says the exact same thing, ‘Oh! No problem!’” Trump Jr. said, referring to Cummings saying in 1999 that Baltimore is “drug-infested.”
“It’s sad,” he added, “that using ‘racism’ has become the easy button of left-wing politics. All right? Because guess what? It still is an issue … But by making a mockery of it by saying every time you can’t win a fight—‘Oh! We’re just gonna push the button! It’s racist’—you hurt those that are actually afflicted by it. People hear it, they roll their eyes, and they walk on. And that’s a disgrace, and that’s what you’ve been given in the identity politics of the left.”
During the Obama presidency, this casual use of the term “racist” to refer to those who opposed the president’s public policies gained considerable traction. But in order to have the word used in a context that was acceptable, the very definition of the word “racist” underwent a transformation. Then, and now, “racism” means pretty much whatever it needs to mean. In any context, in any forum, “racism” can be redefined to become a political attack word.
Language used in service to a political agenda is the bane of modern America. On the right, wholly ridiculous references to Democrats being “Communists” or “socialists” has already dulled the meaning of these words. And so it is with “racist.” I never thought in my lifetime I would see being called a “racist” roll off the back of a politician and actually build support for him. But that’s been true with Donald Trump. This doesn’t mean his supporters are racists. No doubt some are. But the word “racist” has lost its power to shame, to destroy. The Atlantic:
As speakers mounted their defenses of the president, it seemed apparent that supporters were cheering them on as a means of affirming not just Trump, but also themselves. Because to accuse a politician of holding virulent racist beliefs is also, if only implicitly, to condemn his or her voters of harboring those same tendencies.
And that’s what the rally-goers I spoke to last night seemed most nonplussed by—not so much that Trump had been roundly condemned in recent days as a racist, or a bigot, but that they, by virtue of association, had been as well. But rather than distancing them from Trump, the accusations have only seemed to strengthen their support of this president. To back down, they suggested, would be to bow down to the scourge of political correctness.
“We’re all tired of being called racists,” a 74-year-old bespectacled white man named Richard Haines told me. “You open your mouth, you’re a racist. My daughter is a liberal, and she’s [using the word] all the time. We don’t talk politics; we can’t—all the time she always accuses me of hate.” [Emphasis added]
The supreme irony in this is that in trying to tie the epithet “racist” to Donald Trump, his opponents may very well win him the election in 2020.