Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Daring To Be Politically Correct

Theodore R.Johnson of New America, a public policy professor and black veteran, is "worried because questioning black people's allegiance to the country is still seen as a viable political strategy."

He should be worried, yet aware that it's nothing personal, or at least only barely personal and racial.

Although Johnson cited various incidents including the denigration of Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida and criticism of Black Lives Matter and of the NAACP as "un-American," this passage that may bear the most relevance is

There is no lack of incidents that create cause for concern. When black NFL players kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, the president called them “sons of bitches” who are disrespecting the nation, the flag and veterans. He then invited the professional hockey champion Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House and called the all-white assembly of mostly non-American players “incredible patriots.”

Instead of turning their backs or even merely sitting while the national anthem is played, protesting players have chosen the more respectful route of kneeling. More importantly, obviously, is that the action has nothing to do with showing a lack of respect for the Anthem, the nation, the flag, or veterans.

Or is it obvious? Despite appearances, Republicans have responded in roughly the same manner to allegations against Roy Moore as conservatives- and most moderates, sadly- against the NFL players.

Initially, several Republicans offered the mantra "if it is true, Judge Moore should drop out." As the already awesome evidence becomes overwhelming, the shift is demonstrated by Mitch McConnell's call for the candidate to withdraw because the women who have complained of harassment and/or assault clearly are telling the truth.

But that should not be the litmus test, and not only for the reason cited by the Birmingham News, which in its online edition argues that Moore is unsuited for public office both because of his behavior with young women and girls and

He has been twice-removed from statewide office for his defiance of the law. His views on women's rights, same-sex marriage and religious freedom no longer reflect the majority of Alabamians. And they are incompatible with the governance of this country. He has said that the murderous 9/11 attacks on America and the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut may have been God's will because America had sinned.

Investigations into Moore's nonprofit the Foundation of Moral Law, have revealed a man who champions himself above all else. Above Alabamians. And, yes, above God. Moore has used his platform to personally enrich himself and his family and to pursue his own, radical agenda.

The reasons enumerated in the above two paragraphs- and especially in the first sentence- are the best reasons for keeping Roy Moore out of the US Senate. Alas, the editorial is not intended to plumb the shallowness (or political correctness) of the GOP mind.

Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand and then started kneeling to protest racial inequities in law enforcement (and to a lesser extent, criminal justice).  Though Kaepernick is no longer in the league, players have continued the protest, motivated both by Kaepernick's concerns and President Trump's open hostility toward them.

In diverting the issue from one of criminal justice/law enforcement to mom, the flag, and apple pie, critics have played a hand both strategically wise and dishonest.  In the case of the GOP candidate for US Senate in Alabama, they are doing the same.  At least prior to Beverly Nelson's charges, they could have contended that Moore's actions fall mainly into the category of  harassment rather than assault.

With the line between sexual harassment and sexual assault disturbingly blurred in recent years, that tactic might have been disastrous, especially if even more allegations are aired. However, Republicans might credibly have argued that these actions took place decades ago and that now much older, more mature, more sensitive, and married, he is a changed man.  When The Washington Post first broke its story, Charlie Peters suggested Moore would give

an explanation of how he had sinned, as all fallen humans do, but that Jesus has forgiven him and washed him in the blood of the Lamb, and now it’s time for him to bring his redeemed hindquarters to godless Washington to show the heathen the path to glory that he’s been blessed to follow. That might work.

Nonetheless, Moore went denial, which is increasingly implausible.  Still, it has the same advantage as does opposition to the NFL players- it avoids addressing any of the real issues.  Police behavior in the black community can be wished away. So, too, can drawing a distinction between reprehensible behavior committed decades earlier and genuinely unacceptable behavior in the relatively recent past.

While conservatives pursue policies inimical to the black community, they are spared the charge of insensitivity as they ignore issues involving the administration of justice. While maintaining that their candidate must withdraw if and only if charges impossible to prove can be susbstantiated, they are spared the the accusation of being insensitive to the feelings of women.

When the right refers to college students lobbying for speech codes and "safe places" as "snowflakes," it should look in the mirror. Conservatives are truly the politically correct, terrified at being accused of being racist or sexist. They will not confront issues, but instead dispose of them in the safest, least controversial manner lest their feelings be hurt.

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