Lawrence O’Donnell and the Left’s Culture of Racism
Jeffrey Lord
by

It is always stunning to see a prominent Leftist exhibit their flat-out racism, blithely unaware.

Case in point: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Rushing to patronize a Member of Congress because she is black (not to mention a woman), O’Donnell says this of General John Kelly’s rebuke of a duly elected U.S. Representative, Florida’s Frederica Wilson, like O’Donnell a Democrat. The Daily Caller reported O’Donnell’s comments this way:

Lawrence O’Donnell Says Kelly ‘Demonized’ Wilson Because Of His Racist Past 

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said he was “stunned” by White House chief of staff John Kelly’s remarks about Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, suggesting that the former general was a product of a racist upbringing.

“They have more in common than John Kelly realizes,” O’Donnell said at the beginning of his show on MSNBC Thursday. “They were both born in segregated cities. They both went to segregated schools.”

Wilson went to school during forced, legal segregation in Florida, and Kelly grew up in Boston, where his school was segregated “by custom and practice” during the 1950s, O’Donnell said.

“John Kelly never sat next to Frederica Wilson in his elementary school,” he added.

Kelly called Wilson an “empty barrel” after her attacks on President Donald Trump for his words to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed last week during military operations in Niger. By calling Wilson an “empty barrel,” Kelly attempted to dehumanize Wilson, O’Donnell said.

Stop. Stop… right… there.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is a Member of Congress. Period. Full stop. And criticizing Members of Congress has been a common occurrence in American life since the dawn of the Republic. Pick any Member who has served at any time since the creation of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate and you will find someone who has in the course of their career been mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, held in contempt, discredited and more.

As this is written Senator John McCain — the last I checked a white guy — is engaged in almost a daily back and forth with the Trump White House. So too a white Senator named Schumer frequently spars with the President and gets presidential volleys sailed in his direction. O’Donnell never says anything about the race of either.

There is a reason for this. O’Donnell, as a card-carrying member of the American Left, comes from the Left’s Culture of Racism. A culture that has been part and parcel of the Left and its political vehicle, the Democratic Party, since its birth in the early 19th century. Playing the Race Card, as it is quaintly called today, is standard operating procedure in this party.

Notice the curious omission in O’Donnell’s race rant. Here it is again, bold print supplied:

“They have more in common than John Kelly realizes,” O’Donnell said at the beginning of his show on MSNBC Thursday. “They were both born in segregated cities. They both went to segregated schools.

Wilson went to school during forced, legal segregation in Florida, and Kelly grew up in Boston, where his school was segregated “by custom and practice” during the 1950s, O’Donnell said.

What’s missing? Every moment of John Kelly’s growing up in Boston when, as O’Donnell notes, Kelly’s school was “segregated ‘by custom and practice,’” the Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts was, yes, a Democrat. And during the entire time of Frederica Wilson’s growing up in Florida during that period of “forced, legal segregation” — every single Governor of Florida was a Democrat. Every. One.

And why was that? The answer is obviously something O’Donnell and his similarly minded party comrades want to ignore. The answer is that whether it was in Massachusetts or Florida the Democratic Party was the Party of Race, immersed in the party’s accompanying Culture of Racism. Long before the name “identity politics” surfaced in the 21st century this culture was based on the identity politics called “slavery” — slavery a key plank in repeated Democratic Party platforms. When slavery was forcibly ended in that quaint skirmish known as the Civil War — by a Republican president — the Democratic Party moved to institutionalizing racism and discrimination with a new brand of identity politics called “segregation.” When that was finally ended after a century of pressure from Republicans (who, after passing the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution — ending slavery, giving the ex-slaves due process and the right to vote — the GOP passed Civil Rights bills in 1866 (giving blacks equal rights in contracts, the right to sue and other legal rights), 1871 (giving the President the power to battle the Ku Klux Klan), and 1875 (giving blacks access to public accommodations, restaurants and transportation). Democrats opposed every bit of this.

And why was that? Because as now, the Party of Race was swimming in a Culture of Racism in which everyone was judged by their skin color.

And as O’Donnell’s comments so vividly illustrate — absolutely nothing has changed on the American Left. In O’Donnell’s world Congresswoman Wilson is not a Member of Congress and therefore open to all the slings and arrows that all Members of Congress have and do get flung at them routinely. No, suddenly Congresswoman Wilson is instantly patronized because of her race.

Here’s O’Donnell trying to tone it down and not succeeding:

“I didn’t mind hearing John Kelly disagree with Congresswoman Wilson today,” O’Donnell said. “I understand the disagreement nature and some of it is deeply personal for him as a gold star father. But I was stunned, stunned when I watched him demonize her and very deliberately continue to dehumanize her and refuse to give her the dignity of a name and call her an empty barrel. He went out of his way to do it.”

But who is doing the dehumanizing here? Wilson is a Member of Congress. And Kelly called her exactly that. To be exact, Kelly said — bold print supplied for emphasis — this:

I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and broken-hearted, at what I saw a member of Congress doing — a member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president” to the widow, Kelly told reporters.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. … I thought at least that was sacred…

Not once, not twice but three times Kelly referred to Wilson by her title — Member of Congress. Then he called her an “empty barrel” — a term that dates to Plato and has been used through the centuries by everyone from Shakespeare to Abraham Lincoln. Yet Congresswoman Wilson herself — in exactly the same style as Lawrence O’Donnell — instantly played the race card. As headlined here:

Frederica Wilson: John Kelly calling me an ‘empty barrel’ is ‘racist’

Said the Congresswoman of the General’s words:

“That’s a racist term, too. I’m thinking about that one. We looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel.”

It’s not the fact that the Congresswoman is apparently unfamiliar with the ancient term. Or that apparently Plato and Shakespeare and Lincoln were all racists. The problem here is that exactly like the Boston-bred 1950s educated O’Donnell, the Florida-born and raised Congresswoman is also race-obsessed and for exactly the same reason: she belongs to the Party of Race and has been swimming for a lifetime in its Culture of Racism.

Over at National Review Charles C.W. Cooke got it exactly right when he recalled that O’Donnell had once said the following when referring to criticism of then-President Obama’s constant golf playing. As Reason magazine headlined O’Donnell’s attack on Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell:

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: Mocking Obama’s Golfing is an Attempt to Portray Him as an Oversexed Black Man

That’s right. A standard-issue criticism of presidential golf playing, something Democrats now do regularly with Trump, was, in O’Donnell’s view — you guessed it — racist.

The real tragedy here in this back and forth, well beyond the stunning lack of respect for an American soldier killed in action shown by a Member of Congress — is that O’Donnell and Wilson’s very first instinct was to play the race card. Which tells the rest of us two things.

First, to quote Charles C.W. Cooke:

There is no quicker way to damage the fight against genuine racism than to suggest that everything you dislike is bigotry, that all criticism must be motivated by animus, and that even the most innocuous of commonly used phrases must, deep down, have sinister racial connotations. An empty barrel indeed.

And second? The American Left cannot and more to the point will not let go of its 200-plus year old obsession with race. In this case, commentator O’Donnell of Boston and Congresswoman Wilson of Florida — both raised in the Democratic Party’s Culture of Racism — have every intention of inflicting that Culture on America in perpetuity.

Thankfully, millions of Americans object.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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