Ben Stein's Diary

A Long Wednesday

From the Mall to Syria, it's not good.

By 8.29.13

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Wednesday
A long trip from L.A. to Sandpoint. It was late and I was exhausted. But as I was unpacking, my phone rang. It was Y, a super-smart woman who has been in my world for almost forty-three years. She was extremely agitated.

“All of this moaning and groaning about racism on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington is sickening,” she said. “Just disgusting. Start with Obama. He DARES to get up where Martin Luther King stood and talk about racism. Martin Luther King was shot at, had his house dynamited while he was inside with his wife and children, was savagely beaten, was stabbed, put in horrible prison cells over and over again. He lived in an era when being black was a real burden and when trying to get your rights as a black man could cost your life. It did cost him his life.

“Obama has been the beneficiary of race all of his life. He got into Punahou because he was black. Got into Columbia because he was black. Got into Harvard because he was black. Got a sweet law-teaching job at Harvard without doing any work at all because he was black. Got to be President with no qualifications at all because he was black. Got the Nobel Peace Prize for no accomplishments at all because he was black. And he’s talking about the burdens of racism? It’s vile.”

“It is still a burden to many Americans to be black,” I said angrily. “It’s no picnic.”

“Look,” she said, “they get preferential treatment for elite schools, preferential treatment for jobs, government handouts so they don’t have to work, grants and scholarships that white people can only dream of. What do they do with all of that privilege? They get high, have babies, shoot each other and wind up in prison. They don’t have lower pay than whites because of racism. They have lower pay because they have less school. They just refuse to learn. They’re not in prison at a rate six or seven times that of whites because of racism. They’re in prison because they commit crimes. Give me a break. The blacks get every possible preference and they still screw up and then they blame whitey. If they tried working and getting married to the woman they knock up, and not robbing or dealing drugs, they might have a shot at a better life. It’s not whitey any more. The blacks are their own worst enemy and everyone knows it. Everyone, especially the blacks. Show me a black politician at any level of success who lives among street level blacks. To hear those people try to claim that racism is the problem is just repulsive. The blacks are the blacks’ problem.”

I was terribly offended at this woman’s rant, but I tried to stay calm. “There’s a legacy of racism,” I said. “It leaves people of color in chains. You know that.”

“That’s nonsense,” she said. “Every other group has suffered, too. Look at the Vietnamese. One generation they’re in prison camps. Ten years later they’re in med school. Not writing bulls**t papers about their fathers. Doing actual work.”

“It’s different for the black man,” I said. “He’s seen his ancestors lynched.”

“Oh, bulls**t, again,” she said. “Your cousins were killed by the Nazis. Do you Jews spend the rest of your lives saying you can’t work because of it and you have to get high and shoot your neighbors? No, you just work harder.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she added. “Dr. King was a real hero. But these guys today, especially Obama. They are the worst. Trouble makers who sell the drug of victimhood, which is as addictive as heroin or meth, and more self-destructive.”

“You just don’t get it,” I said. “You’ll never get it. These people are suffering.”

“No,” she said. “I get it. You’re the one who’s blind.”

Then she hung up on me. Well, I was too exhausted to call her back.

I turned on the TV. Lots of talk about the U.S. bombing Syria. Oh, great. Destroy Assad, one of the worst people in the world, so the al Qaeda, the very worst people in the world, can take over and own one of the world’s most deadly stockpiles of chemical weapons. Or, just do a few little pinpricks and make us look like jokes. By the way, Nixon would have known what to do here: Either stay the hell out, or if it will truly help us to get rid of Assad, send in the bombers until he’s gone. But I think he would know by now that as evil as Assad is, he’s more trustworthy with Sarin and Mustard gas than al Qaeda is. Assad will use it in Aleppo. al Qaeda will use it in Austin.

We’re in a really bad place here and I hate it. I also recall the Russians telling us to butt out of their sphere of influence and I think we ignore them at our peril. They make very good anti-ship weapons. They sell them to Syria, and I don’t want to see one of them sinking an American aircraft carrier as Assad retaliates for us bombing him. Just as I’m writing this at 2 in the morning, I see that China is insisting that we not bomb Syria. Obviously, we will not do the kowtow to anyone. But Russia and China are major powers. Is it worth alienating them to blow up a few disused runways and truck parks? I also don’t want to see him sending rockets full of nerve gas into Israel. We have enough trouble. Let’s stay out of this one. And if we’re exercised about killing innocent civilians in cold blood, let’s stop abortion.

How the heck did we ever get a President this weak and incompetent. “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead?” I think we know by now.

Meanwhile, I am going to listen to the trains.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.