The strange and sad case of Michael Vick got a bit stranger this week when the newly-signed Eagles quarterback appeared on 60 Minutes -- complete with a spokesman from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) -- to deliver his obligatory mea culpa to a waiting world. What makes this incident stranger than most is that America's love of animals, specifically dogs, has trumped the heretofore indestructible use of racism as a defense for wrongdoing and so has not saved Mr. Vick from the wrath of millions.
Accusations of racism have long been employed to excuse the behavior of thugs and gang-bangers who happen to populate the sports and entertainment worlds. Take the case of Allen Iverson, NBA superstar and long-time bad-boy. In trouble since his high school days when he served four months in a correctional facility for his conviction in a felony mob assault case (later overturned), this paragon of virtue once quipped, "associating hip-hop styles of dress with violent crime, drugs, or a bad image is racist." Yet, as so poignantly pointed out by columnist Bryan Burwell,
What has happened is that we let the real African American culture get buried under the darkest element of a hip-hop generation that glorified and perpetuated all the worst racial stereotypes our parents, grandparents and great grandparents took their lifetimes to erase...Now they come glamorizing thug life and prison fashion, legitimizing derogatory racial insults into the mainstream, and convincing an entire generation that the only measure of true blackness is a hard-core gangsta edge, and anyone who rejects this is either hopelessly out of touch or a sad Uncle Tom.
And, of course, should any whites agree with the courageous Mr. Burwell, they would most certainly be called racists. Still, the most curious aspect of the Vick flap remains that since his release from prison, not even the race gambit has been able to rehabilitate the rogue quarterback in the eyes of the public. After all, he did not rape anyone, he was not implicated in any shootings, nor has he been involved in any drug accusations. No, he was cruel to animals; and in America, almost no one, except maybe W.C. Fields, can hate dogs and get away with it.
Now, on the face of it, this doesn't seem like much of a problem. I mean, who would not abhor the sick acts perpetrated by Vick and company against innocent animals. But if one looks deeper, this is a most disturbing development. Of all of the ways in which the left has made inroads into the psyche of the American public, this is perhaps the most insidious: the equation of humans with animals.
In the old days, pets were looked on as welcome additions to a household; as watchdogs, or as companions for elderly adults or the children. Today, the dogs have replaced those children. Indeed, the term adoption, when applied to pets as it has been for a few decades now, should give one a clue. In my town, there is one hospital for humans and six for animals.
The left, as has been its tactic for years, has taken over formerly benign organizations like HSUS, which has shifted its emphasis from promoting the humane treatment of animals to trumpeting animal "rights." They have said, "there is no rational basis for maintaining a moral distinction between the treatment of humans and other animals."
If you doubt that they are what amounts to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the far left, check out (pdf) HSUS's most recent policy statement -- a chilling document which advocates "eating with conscience" -- where nearly two of its 13 pages are devoted to Climate Change and its effects on animals. Consider their statement on cloning:
Such experiments reveal a recklessness and hubris, rejecting the prior claims of nature and the inherent dignity of animal life. They treat animals as commodities alone, instead of as living individuals with needs and natures of their own.
Would that statements of such passion and concern be made on behalf of human life and dignity by those on the left. When, in fact, appeals on behalf of innocent human life are made by people like Pope Benedict XVI, they are derided as the ravings of religious fanatics and summarily dismissed as "politics."
So Michael Vick might yet be forgiven, but his crimes will never be allowed to be forgotten. Yet, in a world that doesn't particularly value human life; a world where many see man as the enemy of nature instead of its steward; in a society that has been increasingly lead to believe -- and tragically, acted upon -- the notion that, as PETA puts it, "a rat is a dog is a boy," charges of racism would be almost welcome.