When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, some suggested that race played a factor in his success. People "wanted" to elect a black man president because of our history of slavery and the denial of civil rights for so many years to African-Americans. It is never "racism" to vote for someone because he is black. It is only racism to oppose the policies of a black Democrat.
As the president's approval ratings fall and rise and fall again, some of his supporters in journalism and politics are returning to days of old when the label "racist" could end any discussion and force the accused either into stunned silence, or groveling repentance. I suspect the tactic won't work this time because Obama supporters will have difficulty explaining how a mostly white country could elect a black man president last November and ten months later become a racist majority.
Racism has always been a one-way street for the Left. When Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court, some liberals called him a "handkerchief head negro" and an "Uncle Tom." According to liberal doctrine, black people can never be racist because they are members of a victim class created by white liberals as a kind of modern plantation to keep blacks voting for liberal Democrats.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, African-American like President Obama, grew up in Birmingham, Ala., at the time of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing by members of the Ku Klux Klan, which killed some of her friends. She has more "street cred" than others who claim to have it, but she got no points from liberal Democrats when she ascended the ladder of power and influence. It was the same with Colin Powell. The Left strongly criticized Powell for adding credibility to the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction thereby winning U.N. approval to use force, if necessary, against the Iraqi dictator. Were those who opposed Powell racist? Using the formulation now being applied to President Obama that opposition to any of his policies -- from health care, to record amounts of debt -- constitutes racism, they were.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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