Liberals really are a single-minded lot: In their view, the only possible explanation for a person hoping that Barack Obama loses his next election is racism. All things political are analyzed through a filter of skin color, putting today's left directly at odds with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that his children "will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Conservatives might argue that leftists are hypocritical on this score, that they are judging Obama by his skin color and judging his critics by what they perceive to be the content of our characters -- based on nothing but our opposition to a far-left president who happens to be black.
But what they are demonstrating is not hypocrisy, it is projection. Liberals assume that since race is so important to them, it must be equally important to the rest of us, that it must, if you'll pardon the pun, color our every political thought. This is of course particularly true of the liberal elite who suffer deeply from what Hayek termed the "fatal conceit," a symptom of which is believing that all intelligent people must think as "Progressives" do -- and that all people not intelligent enough to think as they do are suited to be ruled by them.
The moral yardstick for the American left is now "the color of your character."
To liberals, when it comes to non-leftist critics of Barack Obama, the fact that many of us are not black means little less than that we wish the South had won the Civil War.
But when the subject is Barack Obama, the fact that his skin is black (despite his mother having been white) trumps all; nothing that our president does or says reflects any conceivable flaw in character, intellect, wisdom, or even policy.
As most of President Obama's fundraising seems to come from Hollywood and Manhattan, two opinions from the former are instructive as to liberal, and particularly black liberal, thinking. In an interview with Ebony magazine in February, actor Samuel L. Jackson made clear the depth of his political analysis: "I voted for Barack because he was black. Cuz that's why other folks vote for other people -- because they look like them." Project much, Samuel?
Apparently Mr. Jackson forgets that in the 2008 election, by getting 43 percent of the white vote, Barack Obama did better among whites than any Democrat had in more than three decades. Presumably few of those roughly 30 million white voters who cast ballots for Obama did it because they thought he looked a lot like them.
And on Thursday, actor Morgan Freeman -- desperately seeking a way to give race-centric liberals like Mr. Jackson a political indulgence in the unlikely event that reality inclines them against voting for Obama again -- told NPR, after noting that “[Barack's] mama… was [a] very white American," that Obama “[is] not America's first black president -- he's America's first mixed-race president." I suppose this means we are allowed to consider half of his failures.
Who would have thought that melanin is to economic incompetence what Teflon is to cooking incompetence -- though only for Democrats. Thus, the left explains black conservatives like Congressman Allen West, Kevin Jackson, Larry Elder, Dr. Alveda C. King, Star Parker, and Herman Cain as some combination of idiot, sellout, and race-traitor. (Examples here, here, here, and unfiltered, cask strength stuff in first comment here.)
In other words, black Democrats are right because they are black but black Republicans are wrong because they are Republican.
The left lives in an Orwellian world of racial Doublethink:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. [George Orwell, 1984, Part 1, Chapter 3.]
Although it is most obvious when liberals disparage conservative blacks, their response to any criticism of the first black president (apologies to Bill Clinton) makes plain that while there are bad apples in all parts of society and politics, the Democratic Party is the true home of racism in America -- as it has been for most of the years since the Ku Klux Klan was founded as the earliest Democrat community organizers.
I was reminded of this in a more-personal-than-usual way several days ago when during my radio show, back-to-back liberal callers accused me of being xenophobic and racist.
The theme of the show (not entirely coincidentally a few days after the death of Rodney King) was "Can't we all get along?" The premise was that I, a non-religious libertarian Jew, had spent the prior two days at the Western Conservative Summit in a room full of 1,300 Christian conservatives and that my takeaway from the event was "these are my friends."
I pointed out that leftist groups will work with whomever they have to in order to win, while our side, namely those with generally pro-liberty, pro-free market policy preferences, frequently lets disagreement on a minority of issues keep us from working together.
A couple of times I used the phrase "losing our country." Apparently, that phrase is something of a radio roach motel if you're trying to catch a liberal.
The first liberal caller, Jack, opined that "your appeal to people uniting because we're losing our country is an appeal to xenophobia, and it's silly and alarmist."
The comment took me aback, but it shouldn't have. While I had made passing comments about losing free speech rights due to fear of insulting Islam, my thinking behind "losing our country" had absolutely nothing to do with foreigners. (After all, many immigrants probably love and understand America more than most Democratic congressmen do.)
I explained as much to Jack -- except for the bit about Democrats -- naively thinking that he simply misunderstood me. But what had actually happened was that I misunderstood him. It wasn't that he listened to my words and interpreted them as xenophobic; rather it was that he entered the conversation with his skin color filter over his political vision.
And so, Jack continued: "I think that you're aware that the Republican Party is issuing appeals to people based on this idea that, demographically, white Europeans are becoming a minority. Their message is that…if you don't vote for them, then you're going to be having all these brown people out there that are going to be running things."
I challenged Jack aggressively, and gave him my e-mail address over the air, asking him to send me a link to any such ad. Of course, none came from him or anyone else because this is, as I said to Jack, "leftist propaganda trying to make Republicans look like xenophobes."
Jack's call was disturbing. But as it turned out, Jack was only the warm-up act for the very next caller, Ida -- also, if I might surmise based on voice, a middle-aged Caucasian.
According to Ida, or rather to things she recently read and, like David St. Hubbins, therefore believed, "Since Barack Obama became president, there's a 400 percent increase in assassination groups, in assassination attempts. Another thing, no president has ever been disrespected as much as Obama. And you know why that is? Because he's black. You may deny it up and down. In your heart, you know it's true."
There was no point in discussing facts with Ida. Instead, I reminded her that she doesn't know me and has never met me. I mentioned that I would have voted for Colin Powell, Condi Rice, or J.C. Watts. I stated directly that "if there were a white president who did all the same things that Barack Obama is doing, I would dislike him and oppose him just as much, or perhaps even more because… I am really proud that our country elected a black president. I just wish it weren't this one."
But just as sunglasses block out certain wavelengths of light, nothing I could say would get through Ida's skin color filter. She responded, "I really don't care if Republicans are offended [by accusations of racism] because it is the truth."
Sadly for the United States, the oh-so-tolerant, diverse, progressive left have turned Orwell's dystopian predictions into reality while keeping Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream a fantasy. Honestly held differences be damned; it is the color of your character that matters.