Image and reality clash: from Christian Adams to Sherrod to Wright and Farrakhan.
Shirley Sherrod resigns.
Now there’s an image. Racism gets the boot.
Here’s a cheer for Obama Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. As we have quoted here before from President John F. Kennedy: “Race has no place in American life or law.” Or agriculture.
We will come back to the freshly resigned Shirley Sherrod of the Obama Department of Agriculture momentarily. And also to the recently resigned J. Christian Adams of the Obama Department of Justice.
But let’s start with something simpler.
As humans we love images. They are part of everyday human life. So let’s focus on the images we have of not of two momentarily famous resigned bureaucrats but one seriously famous actor and one seriously famous American institution.
Mel Gibson, the movie star, talented actor, director, producer, writer. The all around regular good guy with the long and great marriage to his wonderful wife. Father to multiples of kids.
What a guy. What an image.
Then there’s the NAACP — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Founded on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Republican President Abraham Lincoln — February 12, 1909. Blacks and whites together. Jews, Republicans, and Democrats all rallying to the cause of equal rights — a repeated pledge in Republican Platforms, although not with Democrats. From the legendary black leader W.E.B. DuBois to its first treasurer, John Milholland — a Republican — to some of the most prominent Jewish names of the day (Albert Einstein would be a member), the NAACP was well on its way to creating an amazing organization that was determined to fight for a good cause. Along the way it produced civil rights icons like Roy Wilkins and Thurgood Marshall, the latter becoming the first black man to serve as a Justice of the US Supreme Court.
Specifically the NAACP’s founding charter stated that cause this way:
To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.
Mel and the NAACP. What stories. What legends.
And what both now appear to have in common is that each has been living a very sad lie.
Public figures are, like us all, entitled to private lives. As with us all, sometimes — dare we say most times — the perfect public face and the imperfect private life do not always match up. There is nothing odd or strange about this, so-called “private citizens” actually not having all that much privacy in the realm that is their actual home turf. Uncle Elmer may not be on the cover of People Magazine but you and the family and a good bit of the church social group know all about the real Uncle Elmer.
The problem for Mel Gibson was and is that the world of Hollywood celebrity has become his hometown. So when Mel let slip the public mask of the talented actor, producer, director, loyal husband and fab father to multiple kids plus all-around great friend and nice guy — as he did during his drunken anti-Semitic road rage incident a while back — word gets out. Long gone are the days where Rock Hudson can be what we would now call a superstar, with a carefully crafted public image as the romantic leading man with a platoon of swooning women in hot pursuit — while in real life old Rock was a devout gay man who had zero attraction to women. Such duality —whether it comes to sexuality or drugs or alcohol or racism or anti-Semitism — is today difficult if not impossible to hide from a 24/7 world of tiny cameras and hidden microphones.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?