On Voter ID laws in a “post-racial” America

Voter ID laws are controversial — bizarrely — so controversial in fact that our first post-racial presidency (as promised and aborted) steps in yet again to attack a state on ridiculous racial grounds. South Carolina enacted a voter ID law, and the Department of Justice invalidated it because the Attorney General claimed — against the facts and several Democrats — it would discriminate against minorities.

What is a voter ID law? It says when you show up to vote, you have to produce some identification that shows you are who you say you are so that you’re actually eligible to vote. Like they do in Canada. As opposed to showing up to vote and pretending you’re eligible when you’re not. Much like you produce an ID to get on a airplane, or you produce an ID when you’re driving and the police pull you over, or you produce an ID when you want to cash a check, or you produce an ID when you apply for a Social Security card, or you produce an ID when you use a credit card and there’s a question about whether you’re the actual owner of the credit card (to prevent credit card fraud).

This should be obvious. This should be a basic requirement around which everyone rallies because it contributes to the integrity of elections. And the integrity of elections matters enormously because democracy is fragile and turns precisely on the integrity of elections. We respect democracy only because we elect the people for whom we actually vote. We respect democracy only because we have good reason to believe that eligible voters choose our elected representatives.

South Carolina passed a voter ID law that requires a voter to present a South Carolina driver’s license or other photo ID — a passport, military ID, or a voter registration card with a photo issued by South Carolina election officials (issued for free). Even if a voter shows up at a polling place without an acceptable ID, he can still vote a provisional ballot that will be counted if he brings an ID to election officials before the results are certified. If a voter has a religious objection or a “reasonable impediment” that prevents him from getting a free photo ID, then the voter can simply fill out an affidavit in which he outlines his objection or impediment and swears that he is who he says he is. His provisional ballot will then be automatically counted unless local election officials have evidence that “the affidavit is false.”

In other words, the South Carolina law makes it as easy as possible to vote — whether or not you have a valid ID — but simply tries to ensure a threshold requirement that you are who you say you are. To which the Department of Justice objects. Using Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice squashed the South Carolina law as “discriminatory,” even though the Department of Justice approved a virtually identical Georgia law in 2005, and the Supreme Court approved a virtually identical Indiana law in 2008.

Why? In Austin, Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Are we willing to allow this era – our era – to be remembered as the age when our nation’s proud tradition of expanding the franchise ended?” Then the NAACP’s Ben Jealous made it plain: “You saw it after the Civil War. You see it now after the election of the first black president.” The race card, the very cynical very-not-post-racial race card. And the race card in contempt of the facts.

Voter ID laws do not suppress minority turnout — quite the opposite. University of Missouri professor Jeffrey Milyo discovered that after voter ID, turnout increased in Democrat-majority districts. University of Delaware professor Jason Mycoff found that voter ID did not decrease turnout.

Rhode Island enacted a voter ID law, which is to say, Democrats did it. Rhode Island Democratic Representative Jon Brien said, “those who are opposed to voter ID never let the facts get in the way of a really good emotional argument.”

African-American Democrat Artur Davis in Alabama apologized for opposing voter ID laws: by claiming that voter fraud wasn’t an issue, and that anti-fraud laws were racist, “I took the path of least resistance on this subject for an African American politician.” And then he said:

Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.

We should be beyond this. We should be beyond this as a polity even without Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s Justice Department, who promised a post-racial America and who could have delivered that promise but failed miserably and cynically.

Voter ID laws make simple sense. Opposition favors election fraud and race-baiting. And that is our post-racial presidency.

“No, not that movement,” he wrote cleverly.

What a remarkable gem from the New York Times Sunday Book Review — in this case reviewing two books about the Ku Klux Klan:

Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.

No, not that movement. The one from the 1920s, with the sheets and the flaming crosses and the ludicrous name meant to evoke a heroic past. The Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, they called it. And for a few years it burned across the nation, a fearsome thing to behold.

No, not that movement“? To what, exactly, is the good liberal professor Boyle referring with his overwrought, massively condescending and faux-cryptic allusion?

My best guess is the Know-Nothings, started in 1854 in reaction to the hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants to America. They were nearly all poor, Catholic, uneducated, hungry (they were escaping a horrible famine in Ireland) and spoke with a barely intelligible brogue. It was America’s first experience with mass immigration — and America’s almost exclusively Protestant stock, at the time, wasn’t pleased. Riots, burnings and lootings erupted across the Northeast and Midwest. Opponents of immigration formed the Know-Nothing Party, which swept the Massachusetts elections and polled well across the north. Their platform promised strict limitations on immigration from Catholic countries and the teaching of Protestantism in public schools.

The Civil War was a bit of a burp in the northern hate, what with the hordes of immigrants pressed into war service immediately after their arrival at Ellis Island. The Know-Nothing Party (so called because they began as a secret society and were instructed to say, “I know nothing” when asked about their secret meetings) dwindled, immigration from other Catholic countries surged, and “nativism” settled into local disputes.

While I believe I’ve teased out Professor Boyle’s clever allusion, I’m a bit troubled by this fact. Most Americans know nothing about the Know-Nothings. You have to be a pretty geeky student of history to pick up on the Know-Nothings with nothing but “No, not that movement” as a hint.

True, the good professor is writing for the New York Times, which fairly presumes ideologically selective omniscience of its readers, but the style-book would have then dictated this cleverness: “No, not that movement, you know-nothing, I mean the Ku Klux Klan.” That is, the less (excruciatingly) obvious choice. Yeah, no, it’s not adding up.

There is another possibility. Less plausible — but at least a bit later in time, and therefore not requiring readers to pick up on a fairly obscure mid-19th century allusion with no clues. Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 — a mind-boggling bigoted enactment intended not only to block Chinese immigration, but to prevent existing Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens.

Chinese immigrants built the first transcontinental railroad (and about 1,000 died in avalanches and accidents). America responded with hatred of the “yellow peril.” San Francisco created segregated schools for Asian children and western states enacted laws making it illegal for Asian immigrants to own property or open businesses.

The Immigration Act of 1924 made clear that the exclusion of 1882 applied to all Asians (and incidentally limited immigration from southern and eastern Europe, i.e., Italian and Polish Catholics and Jews).

And again, a big war was a bit of a burp in the Northern hate. China was our ally in World War II, and so Congress eased the exclusion nastiness — and simply set the quota for Chinese immigrants way low. (Japanese-Americans were huddled into internment camps around this time.)

Now that’s got the makings of “nationalism and nativism” — but I’m not sure I see any “movement” here — much less “a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety.” While helpfully later in time, I just don’t see the good Professor Boyle’s allusion pointing fruitfully to the horrible racism against Asians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

So whatever could he mean by “No, not that movement?

“Is the black church the answer to liberal prayers?”

That’s the Washington Post headline of an interesting and somewhat disturbing Thanksgiving Day piece by Lisa Miller. The column follows with pronouncements from African-American theologians and academicians who focus on “justice,” and Jesus as a class warrior, and this provocative gem from Obery Hendricks, a Bible professor at Union Theological Seminary: political conservatives who call themselves Christians but oppose government programs that help the poor are not, in any meaningful way, Christians.

Miller first cites James Cone of the Union Theological Seminary, who authored Black Theology and Black Power (1969) with inspiration from Malcolm X, and who in turn inspired Rev. Jeremiah Wright — conspicuously without supplying anything Cone said or thought (so let me): “Whether the American system is beyond redemption we will have to wait and see. But we can be certain that black patience has run out, and unless white America responds positively to the theory and activity of Black Power, then a bloody, protracted civil war is inevitable.” [Black Theology and Black Power, p.143.]

Now there’s a plan, and certainly an answer to (someone’s) prayer: marry the left to ninja super-liberal class-warfare Jesus, hint at civil war, and for good measure, call some conservative Christians not really Christians at all. That should trigger a gush of electoral success.

This shallow pastiche of Black Liberation Theology, coupled with the suggestion that it offers political guidance to the 21st century left, misunderstands religion and politics at many levels.

First, the sweeping use of “black church” should give pause — as though “black church” means something ideologically uniform (or uniform in any other way for that matter), as opposed to churches attended predominantly by African-Americans. This is precisely the religious and political stereotype of African-Americans to which so many African-Americans and others deeply objected when Rev. Jeremiah Wright was portrayed as typical of the “black church.”

There is a political contingent on the right and a political contingent on the left who want very much, for separate reasons, to pigeon-hole the “black church” as angry black-Jesus-warriors against “oppression” and “rich people.” And that’s simply not the reality of the range of black churches in America.

The right contingent and the left contingent are equally vapid, using African-Americans as a uniform political symbol — at a moment in history when African-Americans are emerging in mainstream American perception as diverse in the same ways as Americans are diverse (thanks in no small measure to the emergence of credible black conservatives who successfully weather the storm of opprobrium from disgusted liberals and their own communities).

Second, the facile equation of historical African-American oppression with the modern grievances of the left should give pause. The horrible history of slavery, racism, lynching, ghettoism and oppression in America confers upon African-Americans a unique narrative. Similarly, the Holocaust — the genocidal slaughter, ghettoism, and oppression of mid-20th-century Europe and elsewhere — confers upon Jews a unique narrative. African-Americans and Jews are understandably resistant to lots of piggy-backing on these narratives — particularly when the piggy-backing comes from loud political groups that suffered nothing even remotely approaching slavery or genocide.

Even the African-Americans and Jews who are themselves part of loud political groups advocating for some modern notion of “justice,” I would surmise, privately wince at specious conscriptions of their narratives. Thus, for example, have many African-Americans (and others) chafed at the blithe comparison of the modern gay rights movement to the 1960s civil rights movement. Gays “may want to cast their fight in civil-rights terms, and a lot of people are buying it. But not the faith community and especially not the black community,” says Bishop Harry Jackson, whose Hope Christian Church has a flock of 3,000 in the Washington, D.C. area.

And there’s no better example than the deep blue state of Maryland, controlled by a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature, and poised in early 2011 to become the sixth state to sanction gay marriage. The measure passed the Maryland Senate 25 to 21, and moved on to the House of Delegates, traditionally even more liberal on social policy. And there it floundered. A significant factor was the vocal opposition of African-American pastors — that “black church” that Lisa Miller sees as a wellspring of solace, validation and justice narration for the modern left.

My point is not to plunge into the complicated and on-going politics of gay marriage in Maryland (Maryland will likely approve gay marriage, and with support from some African-American pastors, and my support as well) — but more narrowly to highlight the error of marrying “the black church” to any current liberal “justice” agenda.

Third, any marriage of religious doctrine, left or right, to current political disputes should give pause. It is perfectly appropriate for people of faith — or even cynical admirers of the political possibilities of faith — to ask, “what would Jesus do?” in the grip of a personal moral choice. It is not appropriate to ask “how would Jesus vote?” on the stimulus package, bank bail-outs, auto industry bailouts and labor union windfalls, deficit reduction measures, and tax policy.

The historical Jesus didn’t take a single “political” position (in the sense we are discussing) except arguably the brilliant and much-debated answer to Pharisees seeking to trap him on tax obligations: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). And they were amazed and went away (Matthew 22:22).

To be sure, Jesus was a radical Jew — but his radicalism was religious and personal, not political or statist. Indeed, the notion that Jesus was some sort of justice warrior on behalf of the poor and downtrodden — and that government welfare programs are therefore “what Jesus would want” — precisely misunderstands the difference between the religious and the political, and between the personal and the public/governmental. Jesus felt enormous compassion for the poor and the oppressed, and acted personally on that compassion — as, it is fair to say, he would urge all of us to do. But he never advocated a power-structure program or any governmental redistribution initiative — not because he opposed or supported such statist programs, but because they were utterly irrelevant to his religious and personal message.

Do politics to your heart’s content, he might have said, but first do right in your personal life. Jesus had nothing to say about our politics — and much to say about how we treat other actual human beings in our life and whether we thereby honor God.

And thus we come full circle to Black Liberation Theology — its deep resonance in the 1960s and its inaptness as an “answer” for liberals in the 2010s.

When Rosa Parks was ordered to give up her bus seat solely because she was black, that was an immediate and deeply personal offense, a direct and shameful disrespect. African-Americans and their allies very naturally put Jesus on their side against such steady personal mistreatment. Using power arbitrarily to humiliate a human being would send Jesus into orbit — and law and politics conspired at the time to institutionalize precisely that repetitious personal humiliation.

Black Liberation Theology was one (among several) responses to that repetitious personal humiliation — and black theologian Cone’s threat of a “protracted civil war” — in the context I have now described — against that repetitious humiliation was a fair and angry response to human beings horribly misbehaving — directly and personally — toward other human beings. Indeed, Black Liberation Theology at the time was an honest conditional, a noble plea to white America to do the right thing — with “right” cast in sincerely Christian terms — or else. And “or else” simply meant the last resort of a people directly oppressed and personally humiliated several times a day.

The mistake, the disconnect between 1960s Black Liberation Theology and Lisa Miller’s wistful and overreaching resurrection of Black Liberation Theology fifty years later, is precisely captured in Obery Hendricks’ insistence that political conservatives who call themselves Christians but oppose government programs that help the poor are not, in any meaningful way, Christians.

That insistence isn’t tethered to any defensible solidarity with Jesus. Jesus did not make, and would not have made, any pronouncements about “government programs” — much less the religious credentials of those who debate the merits of “government programs.” Government programs have nothing whatever to do with the personal righteousness with which Jesus passionately concerned himself.

“Government programs” operate in the political realm, and their merits are fairly debated in political terms — chief among such terms being the extent and duration of public assistance, whether the assistance includes a work incentive (or disincentive), and whether the assistance encourages the superfluity of fathers and the disintegration of families. Take whichever position you wish, but do not invoke Jesus — from the left or the right.

Our politics are pointed and sullied enough without misappropriating the Gospels and excommunicating Christians of different political orientations.

 

On “Teabaggers,” as the Obama Administration Now Calls Them

Okay, I’m officially disgusted. I let the whole “teabagger” pejorative go for a long time, consigning it to blogosphere hate-speech that didn’t matter that much.

But now the Obama administration is weighing in — and apparently “teabagger” is an official Obama administration term. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis addressed the Florida Democratic Convention last Saturday, and called the Tea Party “teabaggers” and promised to take them on.

“Teabagger” is possibly the stupidest and most offensive designation imaginable for the Tea Party, and the fact that it evidently has wings with the Obama administration speaks volumes.

“Teabagging,” just so everyone knows, describes sticking your testicles on someone’s face or in their mouth for sexual gratification. It’s a term with long-standing homosexual currency. And it’s therefore ironic, to put it mildly, that “teabagger” is a term of contempt by the left for the Tea Party. Are they condemning that particular sexual practice? Not likely. Just assuming that a sufficient number of people will get the joke.

Everybody gets it. Ha ha, “teabaggers” permits the “humorous” suggestion that Tea Party members, um, can be associated with this practice, while, ha ha, never having to take a moral position on tea-bagging (notwithstanding the implicit moral condemnation of tea-bagging). Oh my, we wouldn’t actually condemn tea-bagging, we just hate conservatives.

For the record, gays, teabag as much as you want. It’s your right. Or have trouble with it, as some of you do, also your right — and indicative of a healthy range. But I would respectfully suggest honorable opposition to use of “teabaggers” to describe political opponents. It rings profoundly untrue.

For the record, liberals who recklessly use the term “teabaggers” are massive hypocrites. It wouldn’t have bothered me so much until the Obama administration weighed in officially. That takes this administration yet another backward step in post-racial politics or any politics of conciliation, yet another confirmation that the Democratic party will cynically exploit the worst rhetoric, and yet another indication that American political discourse has stepped backward during this administration.

On Ann Coulter, “Our Blacks,” and Political Correctness

So quickly on the heels of condemning outrageous leftist condescension toward the candidacy of Herman Cain — now sprinkled with Clarence Thomas-style double standards regarding race and sexual harassment (depending on whether you’re liberal or conservative) — I’m obliged (in that whipsaw fashion of current events) to note a grievous misstatement by conservative attack-dog Ann Coulter.

Speaking with Sean Hannity yesterday, Ann Coulter came to the vigorous and persuasive defense of Herman Cain, and had this to say on the “liberal establishment’s” attacks on Herman Cain:

All they see is ‘conservative black man.’ Look at how they go after AllenWest. Look at how they go after Michael Steele. All of them have wonderful qualities. That’s why our blacks are so much better than their blacks. To become a black Republican, you don’t just roll into it. You’re not just ‘going with the flow.’ You have fought against probably your family members, probably your neighbors, you have thought everything out, and that’s why we have very impressive blacks in our party.”

I agree with the point she was making, and have made the same essential point about the courage of black conservatives myself. I disagree profoundly with her choice of words when she said, “That’s why our blacks are so much better than their blacks.”

To speak of “our blacks” in any context is a semantic minefield. The pronoun “our” can signify associations — that is, friends or supporters, or even standard-bearers — but it can also signify ownership — as Robert Pierre at The Root aptly notes. Any hint of ownership of blacks, given this country’s slavery history, is bound to be incendiary. And it is frankly stupid in political discourse ever to trip into that minefield. Ann Coulter should own up to this misstep and apologize — not because she intended a slavery subtext (she plainly did not), but because she used language in a sloppy way, and a person of her authorial credentials whose very currency is language should own up to missteps in the use of language.

The more precise framing would have been “that’s why black Republicans are better than black Democrats.” That’s still a combustible and contestable proposition — in the Ann Coulter style — but it doesn’t use language sloppily in a way that dredges up actual ownership of blacks in the history of this country.

This is not mere “political correctness” — with all the baggage that term conveys. I join with some of my liberal friends in defending, at times, what has come to be known as “political correctness.” I do so because much of what gets characterized as “political correctness” is actually semantic precision. It’s using words carefully and it’s urging greater awareness of how particular words and phrases are heard by others.

When Bubba says, “well heck I think Negroes are just as good as anyone else, and they’re a damn sight better at basketball,” Bubba thinks he’s issuing an enlightened complimentary pronouncement — and he and his defenders don’t get the backlash, and consign the backlash dismissively to “political correctness.” Well, no, Bubba may well be a candidate for good will in racial relations — but he’s using language in a horrible way. “Political correctness” intervenes to say, first, Bubba, we don’t use the term “Negroes” anymore, and second, we don’t highlight anymore that people of different races are “just as good as anyone else” because that’s a given, and third, we don’t compliment blacks, as a race, for their athletic skills, because to do so invites the very kind of racial stereotyping we’re committed to overcoming.

I care enormously about language. In the political context, particularly in a democracy, language is probably the most powerful, and potentially horrible, weapon at the disposal of competing factions. Use of language matters enormously. “Political correctness,” while given to preposterous abuses at times, correctly identifies language as the culprit in frequent needless misunderstandings, needless polarities, and needless squandering of opportunities for what could have been respectful connections.

 

On Herman Cain and the Obamanation of Racial Politics

Herman Cain is a black black man. He’s got an accent. He was, in his words, po before he was poor. And he’s wildly popular — get this, with Republicans. Herman Cain is a southern conservative straight-shooter and currently leading some polls among Republican primary voters.

Herman Cain is an impressive man — and particularly compelling on the bread-and-butter issues that concern most Americans. But he’s not likely to win the nomination for the following reasons:

  • He lacks any organization in key primary states. While he doesn’t seem disturbed by this deficit, and it could be that his campaign is ground-breaking in appealing directly to voters without organizing on the ground, it’s hard to predict him a winner against candidates who are doing the hard on-the-ground conventional work of appealing to individual voters.
  • He lacks any political experience — arguably a plus for the voters who distrust seasoned politicians, but never historically a plus for Republican voters angling to win the general election. And it doesn’t help that one of the chief Republican criticisms of Barack Obama is his lack of experience, his meteoric rise way beyond himself after community organizing and two years as a Senator. The president has gotten some on-the-job training — but Republicans would still like to say, he wasn’t ready and he’s been inept, which is a more difficult argument if Republicans nominate someone who himself lacks any political experience.
  • He lacks foreign policy expertise, to put it mildly, and has committed some gaffes in this area that give foreign-policy-focused Republicans pause.
  • His insistence that he would never name a Muslim to his cabinet — while presumably designed as red-meat for voters idiotically obsessed with the imposition of Sharia law — cast doubt on his presidential ability to be inclusive. (To his credit, he back-tracked on this a bit. But it’s out there.)

If he nevertheless wins the nomination, count me a supporter. I just don’t think he will.

Which leads me to the Obamanation of racial politics. Some Democrats just don’t know what to do with a black man making headway in Republican primary politics. It can’t be that Republicans aren’t racist. And it can’t be that a black man could be conservative. So it must be a scheme — which narrative takes the following forms:

  • Herman Cain is a tool of the diabolical Koch brothers, a veritable Manchurian Candidate, poised for power and ultimate execution of the Plan. In other words, he’s not really black or real — just a puppet with a black face. (In short, the traditional slander against any African-American who dares to buck liberal dogma.)
  • Herman Cain is in it to make Republicans “feel good.” Or as Democratic strategist and former spokeswoman of the DNC Karen Finney told MSNBC, “I think he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel that they’re not racist because they can like this guy, I think they like him because he’s a black man who knows his place.” Knows his place?! Could you be more condescendingly racist?
  • Herman Cain won’t win the nomination — which confirms the racism of Republicans — or, as random ridiculous bomb-thrower Bill Maher put it: “I will put up a million dollars against one that he will not be the Republican nominee. A million to one… I will give you a million dollars if you think that the Republicans are going to have an election with two black guys against each other. That they don’t have a choice to vote for a white man in the general election. That will never happen.”

These are three distinct species of disrespect for African-Americans and recklessly base contempt for Republicans.

1. The notion that an African-American cannot really be a conservative — and that if he’s posing as one, he must be a tool of white conservative interests — is preposterously condescending. It suggests that all African-Americans merrily think the same. And it suggests further that a couple of rich white guys who support an African-American candidate must therefore control him, because it couldn’t be that the African-American candidate thinks for himself, which he probably doesn’t do in the first place, thinking that is, being conservative.

It may be that the left should no longer take for granted people of color. It may be that people of color have diverse views. It may be that some people of color reach conservative views for legitimate reasons. Shocking, to be sure — but given the broad-brush racism painted on Republicans for opposing President Obama’s policies, isn’t is just a bit racist to hammer Herman Cain as a tool of white interests just because conservative white people like and support him?

2. That any ostensible spokesperson of anything could speak of Herman Cain as a man who “knows his place” bespeaks a profound tone-deafness in leftist racial politics. This, to me, is the nadir of the Democratic party race-card. Yes, Karen Finney was presuming to describe Republican reaction to Herman Cain. She hoped to belittle Republicans — but she most shockingly belittled a black man. A black man who “knows his place.” I don’t have words. It speaks for itself.

I don’t believe Herman Cain will win the nomination — but if he does, and he becomes president, he’ll be the post-racial-president that Obama articulately promised and starkly failed to deliver.

3. And finally, Bill Maher’s easy sleazy prophecy — Herman Cain can’t be the nominee because white Republicans won’t stand for it. (Eyes roll.) I’m betting a million dollars to your one, seriously, a million dollars, that Bill Maher won’t be the Democratic nominee for president because Democrats would never permit a rich repugnant white ass to usurp their half-black man, especially if a black-black man might be his competitor. You see my point?

Bill Maher and his ilk are determined to paint Republicans as racists. It’s trickier if a black man is popular in Republican politics — so the solution is to call Republicans racists for not nominating Herman Cain. Anything to call Republicans racists.

It’s exactly the rhetoric of Karen Finney and Bill Maher that produces more black conservatives — men and women sick of being stereotyped by the left, tired of the canard that an African-American must be a liberal, and that any deviation from liberal dogma makes them a traitor and an Uncle Tom.

We’re not even close to post-racial — one of the reasons I’ll vote for anyone over Barack Obama because I took that promise seriously — and reaction to Herman Cain tells me the right has a better chance of being post-racial than the left.

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism

There has been much discussion of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party — relatively little of how they are relatively covered in the mainstream media.

To its credit, the New York Times covered the disgust of local residents and businesses with the protesters:

In a widely distributed pamphlet, “Welcome to Liberty Plaza: Home of Occupy Wall Street,” participants were instructed where to find relief. “After you’ve dined,” it reads, “feel free to refresh yourself in the restrooms of neighboring businesses like Burger King and McDonald’s without feeling obligated to buy anything.”

But Occupy Wall Street has been treated by the mainstream media, by and large, sympathetically, even lovingly, as some sort of authentic expression of anger (and without corresponding reference to the fact that they’re all white). And totally absent from the coverage — conspicuously unlike the coverage of the Tea Party — is any reference to its darker side. The Tea Party was instantly reviled by “objective journalists” as “racist” from the beginning — and in some cases slanderously so. The Left, in fact, abetted by the mainstream media, sought to portray the Tea Party as “racist” by resort to Saul Alinsky-style fraud tactics.

You don’t get the dark anti-Semitic side of Occupy Wall Street from the mainstream media. You have to go, so sadly, to the Israeli media. It wouldn’t do to talk about left-wing racists in the easy, breezy manner they talk about right-wing racists. Racism, don’t you know, is a right-wing pathology. And entire decent people can be tarred with the horrible epithet of “racist,” willy-nilly, simply because they’re conservative and oppose the policies of President Obama. But left-wing people can be virulently anti-Semitic — and let’s put that over here.

A YouTube video making the rounds over the weekend showed one such activist holding up a sign that read “Hitler’s Bankers – Wall St” and shouting, “The Jews control Wall Street!”

The few who dared to heckle the man were told to “go to Israel.”

When a liberal blogger in the crowd questioned if the man was planted by the hated right-wing Fox News, the man replied forcefully, “A f*cking Jew made that up,” before resuming his chant of “Freedom of speech, freedom of speech.”

And then this, as the protests spread:

In Los Angeles, California, protestor Patricia McAllister, who identified herself as an employee of the Los Angeles Unified School District (we can only hope she is not an educator), had this to say:

“I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government… they need to be run out of this country.”

On the American Nazi Party website, leader Rocky Suhayda voiced support for “Occupy Wall St.” and asked, “Who hold the wealth and power in this country? The Judeo-Capitalists. Who is therefore the #1 enemy who makes this filth happen? The Judeo-Capitalists.”

One of the people reportedly responsible for organizing the “Occupy Wall St.” protests, Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn, has a history of perpetuating conspiracy theories that say the Jews control America’s foreign policies.

Back in New York, another protestor insisted that “a small ethnic group constitutes almost all of the hedge fund managers and bankers on Wall St. They are all Jewish. There is a conspiracy in this country where Jews control the media, finances… They have pooled their money together in order to take control of America.”

Um, where is the outrage? I mean it with a measure of outrage myself. Why was it so easy to tar the Tea Party with “racism” (unfairly) and spare the left pissers of OWS any accountability for, well, anything, including violence, pissing on everything, and blatant and ugly anti-Semitism?

Yes, tell me that the anti-Semitic bullsh*t from the people pissing on everything in Wall Street was an unrepresentative fringe. I might even buy that, if the Left would meet me half way and acknowledge that the Tea Party is not racist, and that racists and anti-Semites in America have no credibility among conservatives or liberals. Then we’d be getting somewhere meaningful.