Left-wing paternalists regard themselves as architects of racial progress, guarding and guiding blacks along the path of success -- a role in which they assume to stand forever at the head of the march. But what happens when blacks overtake their enlightened white helpers? All hell breaks loose and the mask of progress drops to reveal the stricken faces of the white avant-garde .
Geraldine Ferraro's remarks confirm that beneath left-wing paternalism lurks considerable racism. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she said to the Daily Breeze. "He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Since liberalism is not based upon natural justice but willfulness, it never fails to devour its supposed beneficiaries. Ferraro's condescension captures the tone of paternalistic liberalism perfectly. Its "victims" should know their place and plot their ascent according to the progressive charts set up by the white liberal establishment.
We'll let you know, Barack, when it is your time to win -- that's been the tacit theme of the Clinton campaign all along. Such is the generosity of Lady Bountiful she'll even let him serve as her apprentice in the VP chair for eight years.
But chaos has erupted and the plantation progressives don't know what to do, except to blurt out pent-up racial resentments. Then, the victims, whom they spent the last few decades training in hair-trigger racial sensitivity, turn on them in righteous fury, detecting nuances of racism in everything from Andrew Cuomo's description of Obama's press conferences as "shuck and jive" events to Bill Clinton's belittling Jesse Jackson comparison to Ferraro's sniffing at his "luck."
IF, AS FERRARO SAYS, the country is "caught up in the concept" of embracing an unqualified black president, that's because she and her friends propagandized Americans in that notion a long time ago. Ferraro's whining is the grousing of a propagandist whose student has surpassed her.
Obama can throw in the faces of left-wing paternalists all their most cherished claims, starting with the idea, advanced by Sandra Day O'Connor among others, that in America's suffering sweepstakes black males enjoy pride of place over white women. Who should get into Michigan's law school first? A black male? Or a white woman? Well, for the next 25 years or so, spitballed O'Connor, let's give it to the black applicant. Isn't it a little late for Ferraro to be complaining about reverse discrimination?
Hillary's definition of "experience" presupposes a tenet of conservatism, that excellence and merit trump all other considerations. But that's not the definition of experience she normally endorses and for the eight years her husband was in office she treated it as de facto evidence of racism. Equality by any which way is more important than experience, their policies assumed. Where has the Clintons' commitment to a White House that "looked like America" gone?
Under left-wing paternalism until now, race alone conferred important experience on a person -- an argument that Obama has not made but could make to silence his progressive overlords. Who cares, he could say to them, about thin resumes in the age of affirmative action and egalitarianism?
If people are voting for Obama because it allows them to place a halo of goodness over their heads, that too derives from the propaganda of paternalistic liberalism. Ferraro's own entrance into national politics soared then sunk upon such stupidity. Walter Mondale was testing the enlightenment of the American people by placing her on his ticket and in those cold and reactionary Reagan years the people failed his test.
The radical chic of which Tom Wolfe wrote has caught up with the paternalistic left, producing new fodder for farce. As they held Park Avenue parties for black activists and bankrolled their candidacies to safe and obscure posts, they could appear progressive while remaining safely in control. But the role of following blacks rather than leading them is a little too discombobulating for them to handle. And so they are reduced to grumbling like racists at the "luck" of a black candidate winning yet another state in the South.
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