When Barack Obama ran for president, he campaigned as America’s first “post-racial” president. He said that his election would be a great step towards ending the great racial divide in America.
Well, it’s working. But not in a way that he intended. Not in a way that benefits him.
In the year-plus since Obama took office, those who oppose his policies have made that opposition quite clear and boisterous. And it’s been heavily focused on the policies themselves, and the overarching philosophy that seems to guide them all.
But that hasn’t stopped his supporters from frantically proclaiming that it’s all about race, The opponents are motivated by racism, it’s all about race, they wouldn’t be against those policies (or, at least, as vocal as they are) if Obama wasn’t half-black.
Author’s note: Any time President Obama and racial identity is brought up, I intend to mention that he is half black and half white. To call him “black” is to deny half his ethnic heritage, and as long as that is an issue, his mother’s ethnicity should never be denied or concealed or omitted.
This has had a wonderful — but more subtle — effect on race relations. All these accusations of “racism” have utterly diluted the allegation. Through overuse, they have watered down the power of the “R-Word” to the point where it’s embraced, in a mocking tone, as a sign of pride by Obama critics.
It’s reminiscent, somewhat, of how the word “nigger” progressed. It started out in common usage, tossed off casually. Then when the Civil Rights movement started gathering steam, the word became almost taboo. Then standup comics like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy used it, diluting its power to the point where large segments of the black populace uses it casually — but purely among themselves. Outside those segments, getting caught tossing it off is worse than dropping the “F-Bomb” on television or radio. Those who were once oppressed with the word now have utterly claimed it as their own — no one else dares use it with impunity.
And it’s further worth noting that this was all done socially, without a single law or social program to cause it. Hell, I doubt anyone ever envisioned this development.
But when “racist” fails, there’s another term that the left likes to toss around. It’s what they want to be their next “big gun” in their arsenal of silencing and suppressing their opponents, and that’s “white supremacist.”
The best example right now is blogger (and former journalist) Robert Stacey McCain. Among many circles on the left (most prominently former quasi-sane neocon blogger Charles Johnson, who seems to have adoped McCain as his “bete blanc”), McCain’s “white supremacist” credentials are impeccable, and so potent that they are not only unassailable, not only irredeemably taint anything he says or does, but irredeemably taint anyone who fails to denounce and revile him in sufficiently absolutist terms. It’s not quite certain how many degrees of separation one must maintain from McCain to avoid being tagged a “white supremacist” as yet, but it seems to be at least two.
The “evidence” about McCain’s “white supremacist” beliefs all seem to have one thing in common — they all date back at least a decade or so. It seems the guy has managed to keep his nose clean for this entire century to date — and considering the energy his critics invest in discrediting him, it seems pretty unlikely that any “white supremacist” activity or statements made in more recent times would have been uncovered by now.
For those who don’t like to subsume their judgment to others and make decisions for themselves, McCain has certainly provided plenty of fresher material. So I figured I’d poke around his blog for a while, and see if this guy was as hideous a monster as he’s portrayed.
After some scrutiny, I’ve come to the opinion that if McCain is a white supremacist, he’s one of the shittiest ones ever. After reading his blog for several months, I’ve come to the following conclusions:
1) McCain is a damned good blogger. The guy is an exceptional writer, and has an amazing grasp on what will get people interested in reading him.
2) He doesn’t deny accusations of racism. Nor does he admit them. He, by and large, ignores them. He will, occasionally, discuss some of his past associates, explaining that it was part of his job as a journalist at the time to keep up contacts with such folks — and some of the most nutty ones really went nuts after he’d ended his associations with them.
3) Every now and then, he will make a point of citing people he likes or admires or respects or supports — and slip in a picture of them that demonstrates, far more effectively than words, their non-whiteness.
4) McCain is, on many occasions, quite boastful. But his boasting has a tongue-in-cheek quality, presented with a wink that says “I’m not believing my own bullshit here.” It’s entertaining, a fairly simple and common writing technique, and one I’ve used myself on numerous occasions. I’m not as good at it as McCain, but my ego insists it’s only because for me it’s a style; for him, it’s a persona. He’s got a hell of a lot more practice at it than I have.
So, after reading
McCain (I’m sorry — let me borrow Charles Johnson’s macro here) White Supremacist Blogger Robert Stacy McCain ™ for a while, it’s clear that McCain is pushing a lot of issues that I agree with, and is a hell of a better blogger than Johnson ever was or could be.
The people calling “raaaaacist” in a crowded Tea Party are growing more and more frustrated, as they expected the mere mention of the word to cause widespread panic and disorder among their opponents.
Instead, it’s provoked laughter and scorn and mockery. They’ve taken one of their most potent weapons and worn its cutting blade down to a dull edge. It doesn’t cut. It doesn’t even leave a scratch any more. Every time it is brought out, more and more people refuse to take the charges — and the people behind the charges — seriously.
And most of it can be laid at the feet of President Obama.
Thank you, Mr. President. You pledged to move us past bitter divisiveness about race, and you’ve kept that promise.
True, it was largely in spite of yourself and your supporters, but we couldn’t have done it without you.
So keep crying wolf, folks. It all helps.