Mona Charen

On a regular basis, we are enjoined, usually by a leading Democrat, to overcome our reticence -- or, in Attorney General Eric Holder's formulation, "cowardice" -- and engage in a hearty national conversation about race.

No, thanks. As anyone with eyes can see, we are far from avoiding the subject -- in fact, it often seems that we are unable to talk about anything else. With our national debt ascending like Jack's beanstalk, our economy coughing blood, a maniacal, extremist regime in Iran close to getting the bomb, a loose worldwide network of Islamic fanatics trying to blow us up, violence flaring along our southern border, the after-effects of a massive oil spill hobbling the Gulf region, and a government in Washington determined to implement a social Democratic agenda despite vigorous public opposition, we are talking, of course, about race.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger gave up her three-decade-old radio program after using the "n" word on the air. Not that she wielded it as an epithet. No, she was just insensitive (no irony intended here, she really was). And racial insensitivity, more than any other kind, is a ticket to American purgatory.

Though Dr. Laura could be flippant and even cruel at times, she was a one-woman corrective to the therapeutic culture that treated everyone as a victim and required responsibility from no one. Over the course of 30 years, she never gave any indication of racist tendencies (and she gave plenty of solid advice to boot). But she touched the third rail one time, and now she's silenced.

Dr. Laura made it easy for her critics by a lapse of taste and judgment. But even in the absence of such blunders, the left can make anything about race.

Two rallies were held in Washington over the weekend. One was hosted by TV and radio phenom Glenn Beck to "restore American honor" (whatever that means), and the other by the Rev. Al Sharpton, to whine about the Beck rally.

The Beck rally happened to fall on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "Dream" speech. OK. Does that make Beck a racist? So said any number of axe-grinders. National Urban League President Marc Morial said Beck's rally is "an effort to embarrass and poke a finger in the eye of the civil rights community."

Martin Luther King III, invoking his father, protested that "his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination..."

A New York Times story about the coincidence of dates started this way: "It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington."


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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