The Reverend Al Sharpton was not only far and away the most entertaining participant in this week's Democratic presidential debate, he also offered the most interesting tidbit when he accused his fellow candidates, essentially, of double-crossing black voters.
Sharpton's charge was spot-on, but for completely different reasons than he had in mind. But first, let's look at Sharpton's actual words.
Sharpton said, "You know, the only thing I never got over in life is I took a young lady to a dance when I was in high school and she left with somebody else. And that's what the Democrats, some, have done to the black community. We helped take you to the dance, and you leave with right-wingers, you leave with people that you say are swing voters, you leave with people that are antithetical to our interests. I am saying in 2004, if we take you to the party, you (are) going home with us, or we're not taking you to the party."
How ironic that these professional panderers could be accused of ignoring the constituency to which they grovel the most. Sharpton's charge is correct -- Democratic politicians do seem to take black voters for granted, and they do betray their interests, but not by cavorting with "right wingers" or "swing voters."
They betray them by treating them like a subculture of disaffected people rather than like human beings. They betray them by falsely trying to make them believe that Republicans and conservatives don't care about their best interests. They betray them by treating them like numbers -- primarily in the numbers of votes they produce, but also in the sense of bean counting: always keeping score based on the color of people's skin. Their ultimate betrayal of blacks is in treating them as a commodity.
No matter how often they invoke the name of Martin Luther King in their pathetic quest to ingratiate themselves with blacks, they just as often undermine his dream of a colorblind society where all people are judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
I don't mean to be strident, but doesn't it sometimes turn your stomach how they suck up to black voters in the most transparently saccharin manner imaginable with the straightest faces conceivable and without the slightest trace of shame? There can't be an ounce of sincerity in their entire collective beings on this issue. Did you not witness this display during the debate? We're not just talking about over-the-top statements, but immorally out of line.
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