Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Short Diatribe Against All This Race Politics

Steve wrote an interesting look at why someone like Pat Buchanan should not be painted with a broad condemnation brush and written-off solely based on his comments related to race.

Buchanan gave a very interesting analysis
* of the war issue and the larger ideological context in which it resides :

[* - Jeanne Kirkpatrick was a professor of mine at Georgetown University. From 1994-95 I studied in her courses 'Critique of Utopia' and 'Capitalism, Competition, and Democracy'.]

I agree with everything Buchanan says in the video but do I agree with everything Buchanan says anywhere else I have heard him?

Certainly not but it worries me not an iota
because, as Steve mentioned, he is not elected and has no public power to wield over any of us.

Nevertheless, as the above video attests, Buchanan has had valid and insightful ideas and analyses for many big questions, not the least of which was a very realpolitik critique of the Iraq war. Even more, his critique was based not on short-term, transient politics but on the larger picture of what our post-Cold War foreign policy should have been in the long-term.

But putting aside the question of whether Pat Buchanan has anything worthwhile to offer or should be savaged and exiled for remarks some perceive as racially-insensitive, I think there is a larger issue embedded in Steve's commentary.

It is that race, race-baiting, racism, and the whole (for some) zero-sum gamut of nastiness and accusation stemming from it are eclipsing substantive discussion of the relevant and pressing issues facing our country.

Clearly many from the loudmouth left and the self-righteous right want to pick the race scab over and over, playing on fear and loathing, dredging up victimology politics, pointing out new "racist" boogeymen behind every word or remark, or otherwise making muddy hay of an emotional and deep-seated part of American history and its residuum.

With no apologies to those who can see all the world big and small through the narrow lens of race, a distorted view I don't understand or abide, there are challenges like poverty, economic decline, runaway government, and war, to name a few, that are far more real and universal challenges facing us all than race politics.

We must get on with what matters to everyone rather than indulge the blathering whims of a splinter of the American public
that would use racially-charged inflammatory rhetoric on the pretext of "reverse" racism or for just plain political points.

Likewise the splinter that
can't get over the fact that they have never had any real experiences with real racism much less the historic quest for equal civil rights, so they become self-appointed 21st century race police.


What I say to the race-baiters, especially those who are not themselves minorities, is : get over yourselves. No one died and made you God. You've walked in no one's shoes but your own. Your rhetoric is corrosive and destructive, without real foundation in practical reality. Please stop
exploiting race politics for your ulterior agendas, whatever they be, and grow up.

It is not what our country or our discourse need or want in this time of many challenges, when we should be trying to come together, however and wherever possible, in common cause...rather than setting out to demonize others, on either side of the question, with reckless and ridiculous abandon.

Those of us who want public discussions and actions that are constructive towards solutions may have to hear the screamers who would make race the omnipresent issue trumping all...but we don't have to listen.

No need to write them off.

No need to demonize them.

But no need to let them de-rail progress, nor basic civility.

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