Along the Tracks

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Cohen comes through again

Richard Cohen, in today’s Washington Post, steps up to the plate on Democratic race-baiting; calling out Al Gore for his silence on the dispicable NAACP ad used against George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. You remember the ad - a pickup truck in black and white, dragging a clinging and clanging chain as the daughter of James Byrd (the man who was dragged behind a truck, killed and dismembered by three racists in Texas) accuses George W. of being soft on racism for opposing hate-crimes legislation.

Cohen rightly points out decent, thinking people can have differences of opinion on hate-crimes laws (Cohen seems to be opposed), affirmative action and many other modern racial and opportunity issues without being racist. To wave “the bloody shirt of ol’ time racism” with every alternative proposal indicates the Democrats still think in terms of segregation and lynching. It denies the very real, and invaluable, contributions made by the civil rights movement. America is a better place than it was in those bad old days, and to deny it denies the capability of our nation to grow and improve, and the ability of those once oppressed to become equal members of the society at large.

This desire to wage battles long since won not only freezes Democrats in unthinking policies, but also creates confrontation and divisiveness with the growing number of Americans who want to see the goal of a colorblind society at least admitted to, if not seen as immediately achieveable. Affirmative action for affirmative action’s sake is as racist as separate but equal schools.

This is also why the reparations issue will never, never go anywhere if it is proposed by Democrats: Americans in general will look at it as one more payoff to a Democratic interest group, nothing more. But reparations should be more - the final initiative, the last mile, to reach MLK’s dream.

P.S. - Cohen’s a liberal, often pretty partisan, but give credit where credit is due. He has taken a dangerous stand within the Democratic Party. Cohen is rapidly becoming one of my faves - even when I don’t agree with him, which is most of the time.

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