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Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

America is Exceptional

American conservatism is often derided by the Left for exceptionalism, or the belief that as a country, we’re different and exceptional (which sometimes leads to unilateralism on the order of Mark Steyn’s America Alone.) And there are always the two dangerous ditches– one of vanity and hubris which blinds one to the faults of his country and the other, self-deprecation which blinds one to the virtues of it. The ditch which the Left all too often falls into is knee-jerk apologizing for America.

Now with the proper sophrosyne and balance, let me quickly dispense with the customary precursor and invocation which must precede, “I’m proud of America,” and that’s, “Of course, America isn’t perfect. We have our faults.”

I supported Mike Huckabee in the Republican primary. He ended up in second place. I supported John McCain for the presidency. He ended up in second place, which doesn’t bode well except if you want to have bragging rights over Bob Barr. Heck, I lost my own House race by 55 votes (again 2nd place), and I might be jinxing the Cornhuskers just by rooting for them against Clemson.

While I’m obviously disappointed with the outcomes and hope that Obama is constrained by promised moderation, let’s take a look back. Collectively in the primaries, we saw a guitar-playing former Baptist minister, a Mormon business executive, a Kansas farmer, an Italian-American twice remarried district attorney, a decorated Vietnam Vet, a female lawyer, a black community organizer, a Hispanic gun owner. Now, the descriptors obviously are simplistic tags, but they aren’t meant to be reductionist or divisive.

The labels are meant to show that we have diversity and social mobility and one cannot compare Europe (much less Asia or daresay Africa) to America. Where is there such a diversity of candidates for executive office? 

To extend the analogy, remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie and his Uncle Joe go and try some Fizzy Lifting drinks? Think instead of a dangerous fan that Charlie and Uncle Joe instead see the proverbial glass ceiling. From below, they  would actually only look up and see the sky for how could either one know how high he would reach until the ceiling stopped them from going higher? This year’s crop of candidates show that for all the supposed glass ceilings in American life, maybe the reason that the ceilings look clear is that they no longer exist the way they do in many parts of the world today.

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“Satan doesn’t intend to be uprooted by an upstart from Chicago” –Louis Farrakhan

I am posting this because I think that it is informative and noteworthy. Obviously, Obama has said that he has rejected “Minister Farrakhan’s” remarks. The following was posted on Youtube, and I find Farrakhan to be masterful at playing the secret knowledge card where there is a power behind the power so that America’s Bush, England’s Blair, and Germany’s Merkl are being controlled by–you guessed it–transnational, and even supernatural forces.

The solution? Well, Farrakhan could be the “Change you can call measurable change” guy. Farrakhan contends, “Our government needs to change, and if it will not change, then we need to get rid of it…”Like Marx and other revolutionaries who presuppose a complete destruction of forces before their visions rise phoenix-like from the ashes, Farrakhan rejects that Obama can cause true change although “he likes him very much because he’s fresh.” Farrakhan’s incredulous example of powers that grow corrupted (passing by examples of historical incidents that might prove the thesis) is that Jimmy Carter promised as governor that if he were elected, there would be a full-scale investigation into UFO’s.

Ultimately, Farrakhan states that the power of Satan becomes the reason that we need “regime change.” Barack Obama cannot be this change because of his naivety of the real wickedness. The glimmer of hope in the entire interview initially comes when Farrakhan says that it’s madness that Muslim is bombing Muslim and that such an action is “totally unIslamic” until he lays the ultimate blame at the foot of others’ actions in twisted justification: “…we’ve become insane because of injustice” and one realizes that the sin is in Muslim bombing Muslim.

Now after watching the interview, after Obama’s eloquent siren-like speech, after all the commentators, and after (in honesty) my own desire to spot him this one, I still cannot get my mind and heart around a good man and Harvard-educated lawyer not bolting from the church after he had to have known that his preacher had conveyed the Lifetime Achievement Award to such a hate-filled man.

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February 2, 2008 — JUST stop. For a couple of minutes, stop listening to the vanity-stricken talking heads, the madcap ideologues and the party hacks who believe you should jump to attention when they tell you who to vote for.

Stop and look at this primary season. In both parties. Set aside your political preferences for a moment and consider the field of candidates.

As Americans – Republican, Democrat or Independent – we should all be proud. This is, by far, the most all-American primary season we’ve ever had.

Who’s running for the chance to run? A woman. An evangelical Christian. A black. A war hero. A Mormon. A William Jennings Bryan populist. And, although they recently dropped out, we also had a new son of the Old South and an Italian-American mayor in the mix.

Intolerant zealots howl, as they always do, that we’re facing doomsday. But we, the people, have never had such a remarkable range of choices during the quadrennial process of paring down the also-rans until we pick a president.

That doesn’t mean that every candidate deserves to be president. We each have our favorite horse. I support Sen. John McCain – for the straightforward reason that I believe he’d make the best president for all of America.

But I respect the voters, Republican and Democrat, who’ve thumbed their noses at the party machines to make this a real race. We, the people, refused to let the back-room boys make our choices for us.

This is democracy at its best.

Yes, a couple of the candidates scare the daylights out of me. Others just don’t seem competent to sit in the Oval Office. This election will be hard-fought. A candidate or two with an inflated sense of entitlement may not go gentle into that good night.

Yet, others have displayed unexpected grace – not least, Rudy Giuliani in his primary-night speech in Florida.

And, whatever you and I may think of individual aspirants, I can’t find another primary season in our history in which so many diverse voices could be heard.

The eventual nominees, Democrat and Republican, will have to take all of those voices into account. E pluribus unum.

Once I tune out the 24/7 blather and the pundits who don’t think you and I can think for ourselves, this primary season makes me even prouder to be an American than usual.

I’ve spent a lot of time in broken countries. I know all too well how few human beings really have a say in selecting their country’s leaders – even in nominal democracies. So, to me, this election cycle seems little short of a miracle.

Go back to being angry, if you want. Or just return to supporting your guy or gal for president. Perfectly legit. That’s how it all works. But be proud of how far we’ve brought this blessed land of ours.

When I was eight years old, it startled many Americans to think that a Catholic might become president. But look at the field today. Even a decade ago, I don’t think we could have had so diverse a field of primary candidates.

Future historians will explain it all as inevitable. But it seems a glorious wonder to me.

And I hope that President McCain will offer the position of Secretary of State to Sen. Joe Lieberman, a devout Jew.

This is the greatest country in the world.

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Everybody has asked the question. . .”What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

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It’s ironic the forces that have combined and are truly harmful to Black America. Thomas Sowell writes about the way that white liberals, a culture with few absolutes, and larger government intervention has combined in a perfect storm. The result? To be truly “black” and not be the “other,” one has to engage in the hip-hop culture, so adverse to educational improvement in a democratic society.

Our school systems buy into this culture by playing music at dances which denigrates women and by allowing students to use the race card as a protest against conforming to school rules. Equity departments imply to students that the reason for their lack of improvement is the extrinsic ceiling of an unfair system instead of the lack of instrinsic motivation on the student’s part coupled with an absence of personal responsibility. Personally, I admire Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for having the courage to join Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, and Kansas City sports columnist Jason Whitlock in saying that what is needed is primarily a cultural shift in values.

However, I am disturbed by comments which imply that only black Americans can call for personal responsibility while white Americans are on safe ground only in calling for systematic change such as economic reform, eradicating traces of racism, etc. Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law school professor and Obama’s mentor said, “There’s no one else who could say what he said about black people and their responsibility to the larger community.” No one else? Rep. James Clyburne (D-S.C.) said, “I suspect Obama has a special license for that kind of discussion.”

The paralyzing fear of being called a “racist” for echoing the thoughts of important voices like Cosby’s and Obama’s on the issue of race ought not stop people from advocating for stronger two-parent homes, loving churches, and healthy, well-educated childhoods. Until people speak that truth (not accusatorily) but in muscular love, we will perpetuate the same racism that we pretend to fight against.

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