Instead of celebrating diversity and the victory over racism represented by the election of a black president, America is being subjected to the same old routine from a reinvigorated civil rights lobby, with the Obama administration cheerfully accepting the benefits.
Although President Barack Obama expressed an aversion to reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine to dismantle conservative talk radio by forcing stations to provide airtime for alternative (meaning uninteresting) viewpoints, the president’s more strident supporters continue to express outrage and cry racism whenever anybody ridicules the new president or his policies.
The first big instance of race-mongering in the supposedly post-racial Obama era came when the Reverend Al Sharpton and NAACP chair Julian Bond accused a New York Post cartoonist of creating a dangerous environment “calling for assassination of our President.”
A cartoon lambasting Congress for the ineptitude and waste in the latest stimulus bill parodied the recent case of a chimpanzee that was killed by police after attacking a human. Sharpton immediately wielded a race card the size of Manhattan to suggest all rational, fair-minded, non-racist Americans should conclude the ape represented African-Americans. Immediately assuming the primate in the cartoon figuratively shot for writing the stimulus bill was supposed to be the president, Obama-lovers of all races ignored the fact that it was Congress, not the president, that wrote the stimulus bill.
Black radio stations and newspapers responded in lockstep, suggesting that although former President George W. Bush was often depicted as a primate and a dunce, applying the same imagery to a black president was unacceptable. Any objective observers who mentioned the Bush parallel were demonized as racially insensitive or, if they were black, racial traitors.
The next big race controversy came when newly minted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned all Americans for harboring racist views and characterized the nation as unwilling to exorcise those views in public discourse. The same Americans whom Obama had recently thanked for transcending race to elect him were now being lambasted as unwilling to confront their incorrigible racism.
Obama failed to repudiate Holder’s absurd claim. The president has remained above the fray on these issues while Sharpton and others lead protests and ask that Congress violate the First Amendment to clamp down on the media so Obama won’t have to face so much criticism. While Obama keeps out of the fight, a new civil rights movement based on racial intolerance gears up to protest Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other broadcasters for daring to criticize the president’s policies.
People of all races who supported the Obama “change” had hoped racial neutrality would show we are emerging triumphantly from a racially insensitive past to a time Dr. Martin Luther King only dreamed about. That’s all gone now, in an effort to hamstring anyone who would dare oppose a left-wing agenda by the president.
The colorblind celebration certainly was brief. Now we see Congress seriously considering sacrificing free speech while race-mongers create an era of intolerance in which criticism of the president invites charges of racism. Obama and his supporters deserve better. When cartoons become convenient props for politically motivated charges of racism, it’s obvious that the more things changed, the more they really remained the same.
Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.