I No Longer Quite Believe . . .
Time to call in Orca
Is not the media invested in a sort of 60’s activist environmental politics, in which to assert rather than argue for global warming is part of a larger progressive agenda that makes one acceptable in particular circles—like a medieval cleric who mouths a list of ‘right’ positions on papal exegesis? (Here in California the lowly poor two-inch Delta smelt was losing his fight to cut off irrigation water to millions of acres, so suddenly “scientists” have super-sized him in our sympathies, and thus miraculously discovered that the real crises of the Pacific eco-system are big, Orca-like (and thus identifiable) “killer whales”. You see, they will starve without salmon, and a special sort of 19th-century salmon that used to go upriver in California’s rivers before the age of the pernicious dam and irrigation canal that brought all that cheap food to us.)
Many of the categories of Nobel Prizes have lost their once sterling reputations and have devolved into better-paying versions of the Pulitzer Prizes, predicated on ideology as much as achievement.
The Talented Mr. Gore
(In my lifetime I don’t think I ever witnessed anything like the career of one Al Gore, who, metamorphosized from disappointment over the 2000 election into a sort of religious zealot—part P.T. Barnum, part Deepak Chopra. And now he has ended up as globe-trotting Elmer Gantry, but a successful one. At break-neck speed he has labored to construct a world-wide environmental-shame empire, based on stifling debate, hawking films, videos, and study kits, selling penances called ‘carbon offsets’ evaluations for rich people, demonizing opponents of his views, and spreading the “Bush-did-it” religion. Was it about money all the time? Influence? Redemption? So he pulled it off and in a mere nine years ended up worth over $100 million and an energy-consuming lifestyle of the sort he once railed against?)
I no longer believe . . .
…that there will be much progress on race relations under Obama. Indeed, I fear the very opposite will occur.
Almost every major speech is predicated on his race, and his father’s always changing stance on religion. In 2011 will we still hear of his father and his family with Muslim connections?
Being non-racist is judging by race
We are told not to believe what Justice Sotomayor on several occasions said and published—this is now something called “misspeak”. What was fascinating about her Berkeley speech was not just her now serial avowal that race and gender make one a better or worse judge. Two equally frightening facts emerged. She published these views in a periodical called La Raza Law Journal (“The Race’s” Law Journal). In her text, she referenced herself as a Latina or invoked Latina/Latino, according to my count, some 38 times. (I once told a student that if she did not stop prefacing every classroom remark about classical literature with “As a Latina…” I would answer back with the preface “As a white guy…”).
A promised postracial President nominated a justice who seems not just to be race-obsessed, but race-obsessed to the degree it governs her judicial philosophy. Woe to be a member of what she called “the old boy network” when you go into her chambers against a “Latina”. By her own admission, the Latina is the wiser party, based on her superior ‘life experiences.”
No progress, no nothing?
In this new racialist world, no one would ever remember that we have not had a white male Secretary of State—the world’s most powerful diplomat—in thirteen years— since the rather mediocre Warren Christopher stepped down in January 1997. There is rarely appreciation of change and what has transpired, only more anger at what supposedly must happen in the future. To read Sotomayor’s speeches, and I have now read about 5 of them, is to be subjected to a litany of statistics—always the theme being “this many judges are Hispanic, this is our percentage of the population, presto, this is what we must have…”
We are all percentages points now
There is rarely either any complexity, or appreciation of the irony to race. With between 12-20 million illegal aliens now living in the United States—the vast majority recent arrivals from Third World countries—are we to be shamed that we do not have politicians, Supreme Court justices, and professors in the proper percentages to reflect these new populations? Think of it—someone crosses the border illegally, and immediately becomes a percentage-point argument that a distant elite with a Spanish-surname is entitled to preferential treatment? (I ignore the fact Sotomayor’s racial percentages were once used by white racialists to show that minorities were inordinately responsible for violent crime in numbers far above their presence in the general population. It is unwise to quantify every aspect of the United States by racial percentages.)
The President himself never pauses and examines the irony of a half-African, half-white prep schooled person, lecturing the world on the African-American civil rights experience—with which by heritage and chronology he has had no experience.
Instead, the world of American racial identity politics distills down to the ability to claim some sort of affinity, any sort actually, with the African-American, Native American, or Mexican-American experience.
Where there is a will, there is always a way
Sometimes, as in the case of Ward Churchill, this is done through simple fabrication and fantasy. Sometimes the rich Honduran immigrant trills his r’s and uses his Spanish surname to become an oppressed “Latino” or “Hispanic.” Sometimes a Barack Obama somehow piggy-backs onto the African-American writ of prior grievance.
Princeton—the New Guantanamo
If one steps aside, ignores the contemporary chatter, and examines the process in disinterested philosophical fashion, it is abjectly illogical. (Note Michelle Obama’s brief reentry into contemporary racial politics—her testimonial confirmation of Sotomayor’s expressed discomfort and unease with Princeton undergraduate life, and the lasting unfairness of receiving affirmative action and then feeling as if the resulting gain in prestige and topflight subsidized education were not worth the commensurate sense that “they” and “some” and “others” doubted one’s achievement. Well, her reentry was very short-lived indeed.)