You know we've come a long way when our idea of racism has moved from fire hoses and segregation to a black congresswoman's outrage at not being recognized by a Capitol Hill policeman.
Rep. Cynthia McKinney is now sulking in lonely indignity as her latest claims about racial profiling have even embarrassed her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. Reports are that caucus members advised her to back off and that even highly respected civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis, D., Ga., suggested she "lower the temperature and stop holding press conferences."
Only a member of Congress as detached from reality as Ms. McKinney could not appreciate the destructiveness of her behavior. Voters are fed up with their representatives in Washington. The latest polling done by Fox News shows that a 36 percent approval rating for President Bush actually looks good compared to the 29 that both Democrat and Republican members of Congress get.
Hope on the part of Democrats is, with the President faltering and former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay bidding farewell amidst scandal, that this is their golden opportunity to regain credibility and recapture American hearts, minds and the Congress.
Enter the wild Democrat congresswoman from Georgia, breezing past a security policeman in a House office building wearing no Congressional identity pin, and then claiming racism and racial profiling when he tries to stop her. Is it any wonder that there isn't a Democrat, black or white, who is interested in defending her?
Every traveling American, me regularly among them, suffers indignities going through airport security. We hate it but we know there's no choice.
A new film recently released about United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11 is being received to skittish audiences around the country. One Manhattan theater pulled the film. In an audience in Los Angeles there were calls of "too soon."
Security is no joke in America. But Cynthia McKinney's judgment is very humorous. She is out of touch as a black as well as an American.
It is a sign of the times that we hardly give a second thought to the fact that our Secretary of State is a black woman. If a poll had been done in 1964 asking Americans to assess the likelihood that within 40 years we would have a black woman as Secretary of State, who would have assigned this any significant probability?
Yet, today we take it for granted. And, ironically, this is happening at a time when nations with whom we have particularly vital business, Islamic nations in the Middle East and Asia, are blatantly sexist. We send a black woman to represent American interests with nations where women are second-class citizens.