Yesterday was supposed to be the day the TV died in Rockford, but the local ABC affiliate decided to run the Evening News. With a glass of wine in hand, I decided to bid farewell to the demons that are devouring the brains of Americans. The show did not disappoint. One of the featured stories was the speech given by Attorney General Eric Holder to Justice Department employees as part of Black History Month. Holder celebrated the occasion by condemning Americans, really white Americans, as a nation of cowards.
Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must—and will—lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom” so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.
Complaining—or rather whining—that “this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past,” Holder went on to suggest that Black History Month be turned into an opportunity for a more open discussion of racial conflict. The alternative, he warned, would be ” to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that in reality accomplishes very little.”
Translation: Americans like me should be compelled to spend more time listening to the complaints of poor Mr. Holder, whose career has been retarded by prejudice and discrimination to the point that he was not able to reach the office of Attorney General until he turned 58. If he had only been white, Holder would have been President at 40.
The job of the Attorney General of the United States used to have something to do with enforcing the laws of the United States. Mr. Holder obviously has a different conception. His mission is to lead a crusade for increased minority privileges and to serve as the national scold. I have only two things to say.
First, this shows us where the bully pulpit mentality promoted by the Reagan and Bush II administrations leads to. All you conservative Republicans were happy when Republican Presidents and their bully-boys in the cabinet preached, over the heads of Congress, to the American people and expanded the power and prestige of the executive branch. I hope you are all satisfied. You have your reward
Second, this is exactly the rhetoric any sane person must have expected from an Obama Cabinet. Let us only hope, with Jon Stewart, that Obama and Co. do not really mean what they say or at least do not intend to act out their fantasies. To all you conservatives who said you wanted to show your independence by lining up in the herd that sent Obama to the White House, I can only recommend that you solemnly forswear your right to vote or an express an opinion in public.
Holder is right about one thing, though: We are a nation of cowards. If we were not, Obama could not have been elected President.
P.S. The crackdown may be just beginning. In Oklahoma City a man was pulled over by the police because his car displayed a sign, “Abort Obama not Babies.” A report was filed and the sign was confiscated by officers who apparently thought the word “abort” constituted a threat. The sign was restored to the driver, when Captain McCool of the OKC police thought to consult the Secret Service. Perhaps he also looked up the word in a dictionary—though McCool is still describing the incident as a difference of opinion, not a clear violation of the law. The Secret Service, dictionary or no dictionary, still insisted on walking through the man’s house to see if he belonged to a hate group. He probably does: a group that hates infanticide.
No, I do not fear jackbooted stormtroopers coming to our office to enforce political correctness, and anyone who talks about blood in the streets is obviously seeing the wrong movies. But the atmosphere has already changed, and even strong-minded conservatives look both ways before telling an Obama joke.
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