March 12, 2008

Thus Spoke Geraldine

The Geradine Ferraro scandal?still a sideshow to the national feelings of Spitzerfreunde, but getting its due attention?quickly became a kind of perfect storm of all the petty little neuroses of the American Left.

Let?s count them, shall we: First there?s dueling identity politics in which groups vie for the biggest collective victimization. Second comes the melodramatic takings of umbrage: Obama campaign on Ferraro: ?She should be censured!!!??Ferraro to Obama campaign: ?I?m ? hurt?absolutely HURT!? Thirdly enter the sociologically minded, who, while shaking their heads in great concern, remind us all that Ferraro?s comments are ridiculous because ?as a black man? Obama actually faces tremendous hard-ship, institutional racism, and inner city violence—an example of a collectivist fallacy as rich Michelle?s comment that, ?as a black man, ?Barrack could, like, get shot going to the gas station.? Fourthly, there?s the assumption that those evil Clintons made Ferraro do it in order to scare away the white vote. Have I missed anything?

What?s lost in all this is that old Geraldine is speakin? the truth?and not merely regarding the obvious fact that Obama?s ivy-league education is due in no small part to affirmative action and that he couldn?t quite have captured the imagination of the nation on the strength of his conventionally liberal, vacuous political programs alone but needed a little, you know, projection upon him of voters? hopes and dreams for a post-racial future, or something like that. 

More important than all this?which everyone already knew in their gut?Ferraro was willing to pinpoint one of the most important rhetorical devises in American politics?and one which very few others are brave enough to discuss:

“Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says, ‘Let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world,’ you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up,” she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”

Sure, she?s self-righteous, but that doesn?t mean that she’s wrong. 

Peter Brimelow stated somewhere that the term ?racist? is something a liberal calls a conservative who?s winning the argument?it?s a classic rhetorical technique used to foreclose further debate.

I prefer not to throw around the word ?racist??the ideological weight it bears renders it basically useless. Still, there certainly are a few out there who aren?t just ?losing the argument? and deserve the title. But Ferraro, perhaps despite herself, said something honest and accurate, and for this she should be commended.

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