Kevin D. Williamson:
Race makes people crazy, but often not in the way you’d expect. A nation watched wide-eyed as Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC complained that the Star Wars franchise was racist because the major villain is “black.” Darth Vader is black in the sense that Johnny Cash or Ben Roethlisberger or certain figures from Arthurian legend are “black” — white guys in black outfits — so people kept waiting for Harris-Perry, “America’s foremost public intellectual,” to crack and let us know that she was joking. But she wasn’t joking.
One cannot imagine what she’d make of that Adolf Hitler/Darth Vader episode of “Epic Rap Battles of History,” in which the Nazi dismisses the Sith and his off-brand Stormtroopers: “You leading an army of white men? Disgraceful.” And, of course, in the latest installment, The Force Awakens, one of those white men turns out to have the black face of English actor John Boyega.
This isn’t the sort of thing that drives people nuts: If you’re breaking down the hidden racial significance of Darth Vader’s black armor, you’re already there.
The American people, who are generally more tolerant, more sensible, and more wry than is appreciated, have learned to laugh at that sort of thing. A popular image among AR-15 enthusiasts shows the fearsome-looking rifle over the caption: “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?” The same joke has been made about coal, certain cats that provoke a superstitious response,Anas rubripes, dark T-shirts, and one very mean-looking 1987 Buick Grand National.
Barack Obama doesn’t get the joke.
In a pre-vacation interview with NPR, the president argued that (as the New York Times decodes the message) “some of the scorn directed at him personally stems from the fact that he is the first African American to hold the White House.” I.e, “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”
This is kind of clever, in a way. The president says that much of the unhappiness with his administration is “pretty specific to me, and who I am and my background,” which is slippery in that by saying it’s about him, he’s really saying it’s about his critics, and their bigotry and prejudice. “It’s not me, it’s you.”
This is, needless to say, intellectual dishonesty, which is Barack Obama’s specialty. Yes, there are racists in the world, and they are engaged in politics, mainly in the form of basement-dwelling losers with Dungeons & Dragons avatars oinking about on Twitter. They are a significant consideration if you are Donald Trump’s psephological engineers. They are not much of a real factor if you are Barack Obama wondering why you haven’t been celebrated like one of the men on Mount Rushmore.
(Not counting Teddy Roosevelt, of course: Who on Earth thinks: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and, uh . . . that guy who might be the guy who came up with the Maxwell House Coffee motto?)
The reason President Obama has not been hailed as the equal of President Washington, President Jefferson, or President Lincoln is . . . kind of obvious.
The sage marketing wisdom is: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” That was hardly an option for Obama, who promised, quite literally (literally, Mr. Vice President!), a sea change. When you are billing yourself as the fulfillment of Hegelian capital-H history, as not only a redeemer of nations but a healer of planets, it gets a little awkward when you have to spend most of your administration explaining why the economy still kind of sucks and the secretary of state feels the need to lie about everything from the murder of diplomatic personnel to the fact that she’s storing state secrets in the crapper. If you had bought shares in Obama As Advertised and then had to sell them at the price of Obama In Fact, you’d know what it felt like to be running a mortgage-derivative fund back in 2008.
If you’re the Right, then you can enjoy the pessimist’s pleasure: Sure, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong – exactly as we expected! If you’re the Left, Obama’s not looking too great, either: The guy fought an illegal and counterproductive war in the Middle East (“to the shores of Tripoli!”), didn’t close Gitmo, didn’t end “Too Big to Fail,” and just reinvaded Iraq. Ask the victims of Boko Haram if this is the moment the planet started to heal.
It’s failure. That’s all it is.
I ask liberal acquaintances who still admit to voting for Obama why they voted for him. The majority say something akin to, “It was time for a black president.” When I follow up with the obvious, “So you don’t think it is racist to vote for a candidate based on their skin color?” you can almost see the smoke come out of their ears as their brains lock up.
This is the same sort of stupidity that thinks it a moral duty to vote for Hillary based on which set of genitals she has.
Yet when conservatives want to discuss ramifications of policy, we are branded as “extremists” for bringing up facts.
Try asking a leftist about actual policies their favored candidate supports. The ignorance is staggering.
I have done the same thing. Response is “No, it’s not racist to vote for a black person over a white one.” Amazing how just plain logic escapes the left.
Antonio Gramsci lives in the minds of the left.
Uh, yes. I don’t know how many times two of our resident illogical leftists on this blog has called me an “extremist” because I don’t think their [parties] design for the nation is better than the men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
If you are seeking an exhibit of the stupidity of the left, just visit your nearest college campus and start asking questions of the students and the professors.
Merry Christmas, Pete. You know the Reason for the season.