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Life in the Twilight

We are not publicly to confess other disturbing truths. The vastly inordinate rates of criminality in parts of the inner city cannot serve as an alternate exegesis to racism to explain why Americans of all races make the necessary adjustments of where, when, and how they navigate. That thoughtcrime is “racist.”

Yet it is an old thoughtcrime dating back at least to Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 paper titled “The Negro Family: the Case for National Action,” which predicted our present tragedies based on the government-fed dissolution of the black family through much higher than average rates of illegitimacy, single-parent households, and rates of criminality and incarceration. After that, Moynihan was persona non grata for two decades: not for lying, but for not lying. None of this is to deny the burdens of racism and the fumes of it that persist; only to suggest that a half-century after the start of the Great Society there is only so much government can do, or rather there is too much government can do -- and we are not supposed to say that.

We suspect that if citizens were to do what too many illegal aliens do with some regularity -- break U.S. immigration law (remember the stern faces of those customs officials who stamp your passport upon reentry?), forge documents, create false identities, or leave the scene of an accident -- we would face felony charges and the end of careers. I take seriously those scary warnings on government documents that I sign and date and notarize "under penalty of perjury." But why do millions not?

When I get hit by an errant motorist in my environs (and it has happened more than once), or have some one run off the road onto my property, the strange thing is not that I expect him to flee, leaving no ID, no registration, and no insurance behind -- that is de rigueur. The odd thing is that the officer on the scene nonchalantly assumes the same thing, too. Yet his shrug does not hide the lie that if I were to do that, I would be charged with felony hit and run, while my victim that night would be contacted by a lawyer to sue me. We all know this and we all know, like good Eastern Europeans circa 1970, never to say that aloud. In Los Angeles, hit-and-run is kinda like jaywalking elsewhere.

The Ugly News

We accept all this, scuttling along like Eliot’s ragged claws, or we look downward to avoid the talking head on Orwell’s big screen.

I have a vague memory that Eric Holder and Barack Obama have resorted to divisive racial rhetoric (“typical white person,” acted “stupidly,” “punish our enemies,” “cowards,” “my people”), but I say vague because we seem to shrug as if to say: “so what?” Did they ever really say that at all?

That mind-washing might explain why, when on the eve of a racially charged trial, the president prejudicially weighed in, claiming racial affinity with the deceased victim. After the trial, at a time of heightened tensions and of an ongoing investigation by his own Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, he doubled down and did it again. He knew that we would shrug as if it were all expected, as if he were just Bill Clinton eyeing another intern.

So it is with the “phony” scandals. The beaten-down public sighs that four of its personnel were killed in Libya due to that awful “video.” So what that the IRS is now a necessary arm of the administration, or that reporters are monitored? Big deal -- the NSA is an out-of-control octopus. Duh?

We are becoming like Eastern Europeans who were oblivious that the faces on the May Day dais had sometimes changed. In other words, the evil and Islamophobic Nakoula did it in Benghazi, the overzealous (but otherwise understandably progressive) Cincinnati rogue agents alone did the improper audits, the evil (Fox News) James Rosen perhaps deserved the monitoring -- all enemies of social justice.