Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2000 /3 Shevat, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- NOT LONG AGO, when political discourse was a trifle more civil, liberals often subtly implied that conservatives were unconcerned about the plight of minorities. But with the Clinton/Gore era of racial politics in full bloom, it is now open season on conservatives, including African American ones.
The Washington Times reports that Al Gore's controversial campaign manager Donna Brazile went right for the jugular recently in an interview with Bloomberg.com. Brazile, who was fired during Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign for implying George Bush was having an affair, set her sights this time on certain prominent African American conservatives.
Brazile said that Gore and Clinton had worked hard to improve the lives of African Americans and Hispanics. "We now discuss race in terms of how to give people the opportunity of all Americans. On the other hand, the Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They play that game because they have no other game. They have no love and no joy. They'd rather take pictures with black children than feed them."
For years, I have been troubled by the widely disseminated liberal charge that conservatives are heartless. Yes, I know that many of them don't really believe it but just say it to demonize conservatives and score political points. But there are many others who truly do believe it.
You know the underlying premise. Since liberals have always promoted the expansion of the welfare state, they care more about the poor and minorities. And since conservatives have generally opposed it, they are compassionless.
The notion that conservatives are also racist is just a barbaric extension of this argument. Al Gore repeated this infernal idea in his most recent debate with Bill Bradley. Those who advocate reducing transfer payments are racist because a "disproportionate number of the poor are minorities -- African Americans and Latinos."
So it is no longer enough to accuse conservatives of heartlessness. Now they are full-blown racists. Because they encourage self-reliance, legitimacy, reducing the welfare state and fair tax policies, right-wingers are portrayed as prejudiced against minorities.
Isn't it time that conservatives called for an accounting? What about the facts?
Tell me what the presumably well-intentioned welfare state accomplished in this country. If its purpose was to lift up the poor and minorities it failed miserably. Instead, it promoted state-dependency, illegitimacy, and a five trillion-dollar national debt. Tell me what the endless federal education dollars have done for the quality of U.S. education and literacy?
You don't hear many conservatives going around boasting, "I told you so," even though they would be justified in doing so. Rather, you hear Bill Clinton brazenly claiming authorship for a welfare reform bill he signed only under duress the third time it was presented to him. And you hear louder demands for yet more education funds to pour down that federal rat hole.
Shouldn't these baseless charges fall on deaf ears by now with the irrefutable evidence that history has adduced? No, the irrational calls for more federal money just intensify. Sadly, liberalism's fundamental premises remain unchallenged, and if anything, its hate-rhetoric is ratcheted up even further.
Let's look beyond the mindless propaganda. Conservatism is compassionate and anti-racist. It is colorblind and egalitarian. It holds that everyone is created equal and every individual is entitled to dignity and respect. It glorifies individualism and rejects the inhumane and personally devaluing practice of lumping people into categorical groups, racial or otherwise. There is nothing compassionate about collectivism.
Indiscriminate transfer payments have undermined the dignity of many individual recipients by fostering their dependence on the nanny-state and have contributed to the breakdown of American families by encouraging illegitimacy.
Contrary to Brazile's regrettable assertions, J.C. Watts, Colin Powell, and others, including Justice Clarence Thomas and Dr. Alan Keyes, have not sold out their fellow African Americans, but have struggled to lift them up. As minority conservatives they have demonstrated unparalleled courage in standing up against conventional wisdom and the current culture of political correctness by proclaiming the inherent equality of all people. Heroically and thanklessly they have refused to accede to the stereotypes, and courageously dared to stray from the prescribed ideological plantation.
Brazile owes these statesmen an apology. But don't hold your
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics